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Don’t Wait For Authorities To Discipline Shoplifter

Q. Our 14-year-old son was arrested by a store security guard and charged with taking a leather belt. Our son claimed he was going to pay for it, but since he had put it in a sack he was carrying, the security guard did not accept his statement. We are extremely upset. This is the first time he has stolen anything. We expect him to receive some kind of punishment from the legal system, which we thought would have more power than anything we could do. It has been almost a month and we have heard nothing. We have talked to him about his behavior but are still waiting the official word.

What advice do you have?

A. Don’t wait for legal decisions. Your son violated the principle “We don’t take things which belong to others” and should expect to face a penalty from you.

Choose penalties that require him to actively participate in repairing his mistake. Having to commit his personal time and effort is more effective than being a part of a discussion in teaching him the consequences of his behavior. Tell him he has to earn the amount of money the item cost and donate it to the store. Have him write a letter of apology to the store manager and deliver it in person. It’s a good idea to accompany him on this assignment.

You may want to ground your son from all activities for two weeks. A longer period of time is not more effective. Shorter periods of restrictions are easier to enforce and more likely to keep the focus on the issue.

Q. I am 19 years old. My grandma gave me a clipping of your article about healthy dating relationships. I found your article very helpful and I wanted to receive more information. I have a relationship with a guy right now that is similar to the unhealthy patterns described in your column.

Please help!

A. Bravo for having the wisdom to see your relationship clearly and the courage to gather more information. The best protection against an unhealthy relationship is having so much respect for yourself you wouldn’t think of letting someone mistreat you.

A major symptom of an unhealthy relationship is the attempt by one partner to control the other. If the guy you’re dating tries to make rules about your personal life, who you can talk to or spend time with, he is not a healthy partner.

Possessiveness and intense jealousy are signs of a troubled individual, not expressions of love and affection. Possessive partners are emotionally dependent and often develop an unhealthy addiction to their love objects.

They use both psychological and physical battering to dominate their partners. They use intimidation, brainwashing and force to maintain control.

Their anger is unpredictable and unreasonable. Unhealthy partners apologize and promise never to repeat abusive behavior.

Unhealthy partners can also be very charming. They often overwhelm a partner with attention, and pursue their chosen one with frightening intensity.

Don’t mistake addiction for affection.

Don’t take on a partner to reform him or cure his unhappiness. If you enjoy rescuing troubled personalities, get a degree in psychology or social work - you’ll get paid for helping these individuals.

Many people are drawn to the emotional dependence they perceive in a possessive partner. Are you attracted by a partner’s neediness? Do you want to be that person’s primary reason for living?

If being in a relationship is your only significant interest in life, you have work to do. Develop your skills, intelligence and friendships.

Strengthen your emotional and financial support systems.

According to the U. S. Surgeon General’s office relationship violence is the leading cause of injury in women between ages of 15 and 44.

If you are in an unhealthy relationship, don’t wait for your partner to change or things to get better. You know what to do.

MEMO: Cathleen Brown is a clinical psychologist in California. Send your questions and comments to P.O. Box 6613, Los Osos, CA 93402. Faster yet, e-mail me: cabrown500@aol.com

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Cathleen Brown The Spokesman-Review

Cathleen Brown is a clinical psychologist in California. Send your questions and comments to P.O. Box 6613, Los Osos, CA 93402. Faster yet, e-mail me: cabrown500@aol.com

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Cathleen Brown The Spokesman-Review



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