Sick to my stomach

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Christine99, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. Christine99

    Christine99 New Member

    Hello everyone...I came across the site when looking for ways to handle my 18yr old son stealing from me.

    I found my watch in his room, I have also previously found gold jewelery in his room and taken it back. So I have a sick feeling now, after looking for other jewelery, that he has taken it. (Diamond earrings, a diamond necklace & a diamond watch) I dont know what to do.

    Right now he is visiting his father, whom he has not seen in over 10 years, and he got back into contact with after all this time. I pick him up from the airport tonight, and I dont know whether to confront him or to leave articles of teens stealing money & jewelry from their parents and them being arrested. I want to tell him not to come home, that he should stay where he is and live with his father.

    He has been a difficult child, a lot of anger issues (I account it to growing up without a father) He was supposed to go into the Marines in March, but in Feb got arrested for possession of marijuana, and now must serve 1yr probation, be clean and then the Marines may accept him back or he can try another branch of the service.

    I dont want to be a parent of the 30yr old loser still living home with his parents...but it breaks my heart to think he could of possibly really gone this far and taken very valuable jewelery from me.

    Do I get him to take a lie detector test? Do I throw him out of the house? Do I ship him back to live with his father that has been absent his whole life?
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Welcome... I am sorry this is happening to you...

    It has happened to me... My stepdaughter is 16 now, but it has been going on since she was 9... And it's not only valuables, in her case.

    Has your son stolen from you before? Food, silly stuff? Like... Onyxx took husband's checkbook at age 11... Her brother's football uniform belts... An "ugly" pair of my shoes... Bacon bits, sewing needles, you name it, she's probably thought about it. Never credit cards - she did say she knew we checked our accounts too often online. But otherwise, if it isn't nailed down...

    Has he been drug tested? Possession of pot is a minor thing. Honestly, something small like that, added to stealing diamond jewelry, screams at me.

    You've taken the stuff back?

    Right now, I would do a couple of things. 1. Get a GOOD lock for your bedroom. Keyed. Deadbolt is best, but that may or may not be feasible for you. 2. Visit a hardware store such as Harbor Freight and get a small safe for expensive stuff and medications. 3. Empty medications out of your medicine cabinet and lock them up.

    Next - any time you find something suspicious, photograph it. If he is on probation, you are doing him no favors by not calling his PO and/or the police. I wouldn't ship him to his father, to be honest. I would however insist on counseling - make it a requirement of living with you. Legally, he is an adult and should be at least helping you out.

    Without knowing more details, this is really all I can say... Does he have a formal diagnosis? Was there any trauma (abuse, and I'm not limiting that to physical)? When did his anger issues start?

    More people will be along, but - welcome.
  3. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    First, do a full search for your things in his room.

    Second, install a lock on your room - possibly keep everything in a safe as well. Doors can be broken.

    I would suggest taking something of his, but it will only serve to anger him and he will not 'get' the lesson there - see how it feels to have someone take something important from you. It will not work.

    Will you be speaking to his father now?
  4. Christine99

    Christine99 New Member

    Yes he has been diagnosed as being bi-polar...his anger issues started when he was young. I have taken him for counseling many times...he has been previously hospitalized

    I have caught him stealing money...I have caught him unzippering my purse, so I started bringing it into my room when I went to bed at night. I have caught him coming downstairs from my room and asked what he was doing, and his response was that he was looking in the mirror (full length trifolds) He has taken all change from every drawer in the entire house, including a change container would we put pocket change into, and completely wiped it out, many times.

    I have not spoken to his father, he had asked my son not to tell me that they were back in contact. Probably because he owes me 85K in child support.

    I took the gold necklaces I found, and I did take my watch I found. I am leaving work early today to do a complete search of his room. I was planning on taking his xbox and the tv out of his room and taking it away like you would with a 2yr old.

    He is only working part-time, I have stressed that he needs to work more often and get another job in addition to the one he has as he cannot be laying around all day. He blew the engine in the car I gave him, as he didnt check the oil. his expectations were that I would take car of it. In which I havent done anything nor do I have any intention of. His excuse for not working more is that he has no transportation, and smugly says that he wont do anything more than what he is doing now because he has no way to get there.

    I have threatened to put him out if he doesnt improve...I then find myself trying to get back on a "good graces" level with him so that maybe he will get it...but it just seems that I am enabling him and he is becoming more defiant and disrepectful.
  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    If you find anything in his room, photograph it in situ, as it is when you find it. Video camera even better.

    He has no way to get there? No legs and feet to walk? You did good, not fixing the car. And if you threaten, then enable, he's learned your threats mean nothing.

    In some states, you must give written notice of eviction proceedings. However, when that time is up? Legally he must leave. Call your local PD, ask for a "peace officer" and tell them why.

    If you do have to give him notice... Be prepared for some serious raging, vandalism, etc. Have PD's number on speed dial of your cell. Speaking of, keep keys and cell on you at all times.

  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I recommend you post on Parent Ermeritus. We are parents of grown kids...been there/done that over there.

    My guess is he is using a lot more drugs than you suspect (not just pot) and is stealing to pay for them.

    If he is out of school and not in college, in my opinion he should be working full time, paying rent, and paying his own car insurance, cell phone bills, etc. Or, yes, he may never grow up.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so sorry you have to deal with all of this. Welcome to our site - you will find a lot of information, ideas and much much much more support. We are parents who truly understand in ways the people in your off-line life don't/won't/can't. We have been there done that, some of us many times.

    At his age you are not doing him favors by letting him come home with-o a job. Once he is back in your home it may be very difficult to get him out again. The items he is stealing clearly all have monetary value and it is not just extremely likely but highly probably that he is stealing from you to purchase drugs and/or alcohol. Many people who are bipolar use alcohol and drugs to self medicate instead of getting more appropriate treatment for their illness. Have you drug tested him at any time?

    Searching his room today is very important. As he is not there, be sure to photograph or take video of everything you have found. I seriously and strongly recommend letting him know that he can stay with his father or find another place to live but he cannot return to your home until he is clean and sober, is getting therapy from a counselor for addiction issues and the bipolar, and is under the care of a psychiatrist long enough that his bipolar is stabilized. He most likely needs at least one mood stabilizer, possibly two and an atypical antipsychotic like seroquel or risperdal to help wtih the anger issues and help stabilize the mood cycling.

    Is he violent with you when he does not get his way? Verbally, emotionally or physically? If he is, it is even more important to insist he get treatment before he returns. You do him NO favors by letting him stay with you while he is underemployed, not going to school, abusing drugs, your home and your person. This is NOT what you taught him was acceptable and is NOT how you raised him to live. So it may be time to show him that until he is willing to behave in a reasonable, responsible manner he cannot live in your home.

    I urge you to find the local alanon and/or narcanon meetings and go to them regularly and often. You will find worlds of help there and a ton of support. While the support on this site is incredible, it is not a substitute for the live support that you can find at meetings. You can look on line (google AA or Alanon and your city and state) or in the phone book under AA or Alanon.

    Once he is back in your home, you may not be able to get him to leave without filing formal eviction papers at the courthouse. That can take longer than 30 days - time to get the order, for him to dispute it, and then usually 30 days to leave after the court issues the eviction papers. He will be able to do a LOT to hurt you and destroy your home and finances in that time. If you have the means, you might consider renting a cheap motel room for a week or two and dropping him off there after you pick him up at the airport. Let him know that he can come and get things from your home at a specific time and that you will arrange to have a police officer there while he is getting his things. Or you can tell him you will box or bag up his stuff and he can get it fromt he porch. If returning home is dependent upon getting help then let him know if you are willing to pay for that help or not. He is an adult and since he doesn't seem to be in school he is probably not eligible for helath insurance on your plan. If he is not living with you or getting support from you he may be eligible for health care through the local dept of human services office and/or food stamps and other assistance, as well as help finding full time employment.

    Right now he has no real reason to change. He has a nice place to live iwth a LOT of nice things, very few bills, no school or real job responsibilities and all the free time he wants. He is able to live far above his means because you are footing the bill. If he has to EARN his lifestyle he will be far more likely to make real changes and get his life together. He may not do this, or try to live the life he is accustomed to with-o working for it. He likely feels entitled to the cable tv, internet access, game systems, and all expenses paid because that is the life of a child. Now that he is an adult he won't likely realize that he has to pay for these things himself unless you push him out of hte nest.

    Others have said you do him no favors by letting him live iwth you and not have to work hard to support himself. They are right. If he has a drug problem or alcohol problem you are either helping him hit bottom and realize that he NEEDS rehab and AA or you are supporting his addiction. Every single penny you spend on an addict goes to support his habit. If you provide a place to live then he doesn't have to pay rent with that money and it can be used for drugs. Ditto food, clothes, and everything else. You wouldn't hand him $400 a month to buy pot, booze or other drugs with, but if you provide a place for him to live then you are doing just that. It is very harsh, but so are addiction.

    I realize you probably are not ready to cut him off so completely. It can take a LONG time before a parent can handle that. I understand and so does most everyone here. In that case you need to figure out what you ARE willing to do. Deadbolts on every interior door in the home except his bedroom is a good step. At least put them on your office and bedroom doors so that you have a chance to protect your things. Then lock up every single thing that you value. If he is using there will come a time when he tries to take almsot anything that isn't nailed down or else his friends will. WHen you are home you need to keep your keys and cell phone on your person at all times. Do not ever sleep with your bedroom door unlocked - he will come in and take things while you sleep. I would change the front and back door locks and amke sure every window locks securely also. Then you can insist that while you are at work he must be out of the house. Tell him that you work hard to have a nice life and if he wants one he needs to work at least as many hours as you do. Insist he not be in the home when you are not home.

    As he has stolen from you, I would take his game system, tv, and anything else of value that is "his" and pawn them. Give him the pawn tickets and tell him you pawned them to cover the cost of the items that he stole from you. If he wants the items back he can pay the pawn ticket off. If anything else of yours goes "missing" then you need to involve his PO and the police.

    As Step said, be prepared for some serious raging and even vandalism/breaking into your home. Those MUST be met with calls to the police or he will continue to do that each time you set limits and try to enforce them. It is HARD to do, but in the long run it is your only chance to save him from a life of drugs and violence.

    If you simply are not ready to push him out of the nest, figure out what you are ready and able to enforce. Write it down in a contract. He should be paying monthly or weekly rent to cover living in your home, food, utilities, etc..., specify what bills he needs to pay such as his cell phone, internet usage, cable tv channels if he "must" have HBO or other things that you don't use, etc... Put in writing what the rules and conditions for living in your home are (I would include not using drugs or alcohol, reasonable time for him to be home each night, not damaging your property/possessions, not taking things that are not explicitly his, when/if he can have friends over, and any other rules for living with you.). Also write down what the penalty for violating the rules is. Again, I would make not paying rent on time, not paying his other bills, bringing drugs/alcohol onto your property, using drugs/alcohol, coming home drunk/high, stealing anything from you, damaging your property, not keeping his room clean to whatever standard you set, etc.... conditions that you can and will insist he leave the home for. You might let the room clean condition slide unless he is so bad about it that the room stinks or attracts pests, etc....

    The bills required should be fairly close to what he would earn from a full time job. maybe give him 2 weeks grace time to get the job. I would NOT EVER let him drive your vehicles. Don't repair his ruined vehicle either. In fact, if it is in his name you may want to insist that he either get it repaired or remove it from your property (if it is still on your property). Many communities consider cars that do not run to be eyesores and can fine you for them. It depends on the area where you live, but is something you should check out. IF he needs transportation he can call a friend, walk, take a bus or even ride a bicycle. Don't provide rides unless you are already going there or it is to a doctor/therapist.

    I know this is incredibly hard for you. It truly hoovers to have to tell your child these things and to have your child treat you so badly. Whatever you decide, make sure that you ONLY tell him things that you will 1000% follow through on. It is far worse to set out a lot of rules and not enforce them than it is to set very few rules that you will enforce no matter what. You can always add more rules as you are ready/strong enough to enforce them.

    The exception is violence. If he is violent against you it is NOT somethig you can let slide. Otherwise he will not stop the violence toward you and likely it will spread Occupational Therapist (OT) many others in his life, esp women. If you set absolutely no other rules, set the rule that for violence you will call the cops and his PO and press charges. One nasty consequence of NOT doing this is that eventually he will take it to people other than family and then he may end up in serious legal trouble or even in prison. If he has been or is violent to you (including punching walls, etc...), PLEASE go to a domestic violence center (not the shelter, they usually have an office where they do individual and group therapy and provide other services/resources. Many of us don't think of this when it is our child hurting us. We feel we somehow caused it and if we had been somehow better parents our child would not be violent toward us, our belonging and our home. It simply isn't true and the help and support at a DV center is incredible.

    Above all, stick around here. It is another source of incredible support and love and there isn't much we need more as we navigate life with a difficult child than that.

  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    It depends upon what you want out of it.
    1) If you just want your jewelry back, offer to buy it back. Give him the money for it. Then kick him out.
    2) If you want to teach and train him, take his video games, search and strip his room, put a lock on your door and carry your keys with-you at all times, and install a camera. Take him for drug testing. And what everyone else posted here.

    I am so sorry. This is heartbreaking.
  9. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    I am afraid I am not in a generous frame of mind right now myself. But repeated theft of expensive jewelry, repeated theft of money, entitled attitude, trying to keep you in-line by giving you just enough to get you off his back and then telling you he won't do more? He's already on probation and is still doing this stuff????

    Search his room, preferably with a witness holding the video camera or at least a video camera. I agree that he is almost certainly stealing to support a drug habit and/or to finance dealing. Look inside socks, shoes, clothes, boxes, under/around/behind everything. All the way to the bottom of every drawer - turn them out is best and check the undersides of the drawers too. And the back of furniture.

    Depending on what you find you may have no choice but to call probation because if you find serious drugs or evidence he's dealing or that he's stealing high value items from other people - you are doing him and yourself no favors not to report it before he gets back. In that case leave everything where it is because probation has the legal right to search his room and your entire house with that kind of issue. And you want them to be the ones to do it.

    If you don't find anything that makes you call probation, then if your state law allows it in these circumstances I would kick him out today. You may want to call his attorney (public defender?) and ask him what the state law is regarding you kicking him out. The attorney is legally representing your son but he should be able to tell you that no problem. And you may want to consider telling the attorney what's up because he really deserves a heads up if this is about to turn into serious charges against his client. Your call.

    I would pack the minimum of his stuff that he needs (clothes is really about it and maybe a skateboard for transportation) in sacks, put it outside the house and call and let him know you found the stolen jewelry and whatever else you found when you did the search. And tell him you had a witness/video camera and have a record of the items found.

    Then I would tell him that you have decided you will not tell probation about it. Yet. But you have decided that he may no longer live in your home and you will no longer be a source of financial support.

    If he threatens you, damages your property, steals things that are outside in the yard (hope you keep your car locked and garaged in a locked space), then you will call probation or the police if he is threatening you in person or you catch him in the act of stealing/vandalism.

    It is his problem to find a place to stay tonight and a way to pick up his things which you have placed outdoors for him to pick up. You are not picking him up from the airport. That's his problem too.

    While it is likely he has a drug problem, he has not hit bottom by a long shot and so I would not make any offer to pay for drug treatment for him at this point. You can hold that offer (if you are able/willing) for the time when you judge him to be ready for that step.

    If you are not able to kick him out today then you will have a big problem once you have searched his room. Because there is no way he is not going to know that you did it. And he will be very angry and very possibly very dangerous.

    You will need to take steps to secure everything from him - credit cards/statements, valuables, car keys, house keys, all medications including OTC - before he returns home or within a few hours of his return if you really have no choice but to let him stay. Locks on bedroom doors may or may not keep him out.

    So, the hard choice if you cannot legally make him leave today is probably to call probation and tell them you want to report the theft of the jewelry and that you strongly suspect he is using and that's why he's stealing from you.

    Because he can destroy your life and his own very quickly and very easily in my opinion. And is almost certainly likely to try out of anger and screwed up thinking that is made even worse by drug use.

    Many hugs. so sorry. It's good that you are facing it head on now. You are right to be fearful for his future - and to recognize that he is willing to sacrifice your well-being to meet his "needs" of the moment.

    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  10. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member


    My response may seem "severe". It certainly sounds so in my own ears. But, having tried the incremental approach only to have it create a drawn out nightmare for months that still ended the same way - I would not do it again. I think it is not kind or gentle to try to help him see the error of his ways and let him stay while he gets "straightened out". If that was going to work it would have done so before now. He is 18 - not 12 or even 16 when that approach might still have been appropriate. This confrontation will happen sooner or later. You almost certainly are not going to be able to avoid it. In that case, why wait for him to dig himself into an even deeper hole and take the risk that he will destroy you financially and even possibly hurt you physically?
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    As he is not in your home overnight now, you can most likely refuse to allow him to enter/spend another night with-o any legal problems. If you let him spend even ONE night in your home you may be faced with having to legally evict him. If he doesn't know his rights he may not know that you would have to evict him via the courts, but I wouldn't run that risk by letting him come back into the home.

    If at ALL possible, do NOT confront him in a private place. Better he lose it and go off in a rage in a public place where you might be embarrasseed but there will be people around to call the police/911 if you need it than to have him fly into a rage at home where he can hurt you and keep you from being able to call for help. (by the way, it is a felony in most places to refuse to allow someone to call 911. WHether they take the phones, take them out of your hand, or physically keep you away from the phone it is considered domestic violence and usually felony domestic violence - or felony assault if it isn't a family/household member.)

    rls is right about the confrontation. And about doing it all at once rather than in increments. Until he hits bottom and sees that he cannot have anything good in his life as long as he is using/dealing, treatment/rehab won't be successful. For many addicts it takes spending some time in jail with family who will not get you out/accept your calls before they will make any changes.

    It may actually be safest for YOU if you tell him over the phone that you own't pick him up or allow him to live in your home. Or that he can come home if he agrees to X conditions, and if he doesn't you own't pick him up at the airport. He isn't going to comply with the agreement even if he signs a rental agreement saying all the conditions and that if he violates any of them he iwll be immediately kicked out. Mostly because he doesn't believe you will follow through, so why should he comply? Then you MUST follow through and change the locks and not let him in or you will be in serious trouble with a young man who believes he can do what he wants to you with-o repercussions.