Adult Child lying and stealing

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by MOM IN NEED, Nov 13, 2018.


    MOM IN NEED New Member

    A couple of years ago, my adult child was checked into and completed rehab for an opioid addiction. Prior to rehab my child had been caught and charged for petty larceny. Before being caught, several friends were missing items from their homes.

    This child continues to lie and steal. When approached, even with the evidence, they fabricate some story. They would never admit that they have done wrong. They have been confronted that we know that they are lying, and still do not get the truth. It is as though the conversation never happened.

    What do I do!! Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Hi. I am sorry about that.

    When you say"they" who do you mean? Is this about more than one person? How old is your son? Do you think he may be using again? When they use, they steal to sell stuff for drug money. Does he live with you? Remember he is a man, not a child. Thinking of them as that sweet little ten year old he once was keeps us treating them too young.

    Many of us feel making them face the consequences is best. I am not convinced we can change their behavior. You can set boundaries. I certainly wouldnt want him living in my house if he steals. For me, he would have to go elsewhere, even a homeless shelter.

    Hang in there!
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018

    MOM IN NEED New Member

    My child is 33 years old and "they" is my daughter. I believe she still uses, but not sure what. She seems to function normal at work and when with us. On several occasions when she seemed to be not just right, we drug tested her, and she tested clean. It still didn't convince me.

    Another one of my children had a few items missing from their home. She was house sitting. Low and behold she shows up with an item in her possession exactly like one of the items. She said purchased it.

    I love my daughter with all my heart, but do not know where to turn.
  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Three problem kids. Wow.

    I cant even imagine.

    Maybe its time to turn inward to take care of yourself. You cant be super young. Time is precious. If you have a SO maybe start dating again. Perhaps start paying more attention to your kinder loved ones and friends. Work on your hobbies, take classes, go on vacations, give your adult children over to God (if you believe) and build a life of your own. You cant change your kids but you can change yourself. I really hope you do.

    Love and light!
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018

    MOM IN NEED New Member

  6. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    I would encourage you to step out of the situation. If she comes to your house arrange to see her outside of your house, maybe take her out for dinner, so she can't steal from you. If she lives with you it would be a good idea to get her to move out asap. If she steals from you then you need to file a report with the police. Confrontation doesn't work, these troubled adult kids will lie no matter what. It's better to just deal with it as you would anyone else who stole from you. I think there are some posts on here about boundaries. It was hard for me to learn and enforce appropriate boundaries with my daughter. When I started doing it, wow, did I ever get a reaction. I started hanging up on her when she was rude or irrational. At first it really set her off and she would call both of my phones repeatedly leaving screaming messages until I turned them off. After a few months of that she got it. She knows if she acts insane I will disengage. I have to do it for my own peace of mind. Remember that she is an adult and is responsible for her own actions. There is little you can do to change her behavior, so focus on controlling what you can- your behavior and reactions. Caring for ourselves and maintaining boundaries doesn't mean we don't love our kids. It means we won't reinforce their bad behavior and addictions. I always tell my daughter I will do anything to help her get well and nothing that helps keep her sick. Hugs to you.
  7. Jenna0823

    Jenna0823 Member

    My 31 year old daughter is supposedly clean from heroin right now but has stolen thousands from me as well as stuff from my storage unit even off of drugs she is still a thief and liar. I cut her off completely. I am done. It’s true we can’t change them.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  8. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    Question: are you hoping your child will change?
    Are you thinking that this is a sign of drug use?
    Perhaps but then she would be selling the items not keeping them.
    What do you do?
    Hide your valuables. Tell everyone else to do the same.
    What other options are you considering?

    At 33 you are not responsible for her behavior. You cannot solve her problems. She needs to do that. You are not responsible for the relationship between your children. They are. A person who steals sooner or later will steal from someone who will file a criminal complaint. You cannot prevent that. She is choosing her fate. You cannot rescue her from that.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018
  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Many years ago I lived with a young woman to whom I rented a room. She was a college student. At some point I began to see puddles of vomit all over the yard. At first it didn't compute and finally I could not ignore it. I asked her. She denied it.

    Sometime later everything came out, I don't remember how. She was a Bulimic which for her was episodic.

    My feeling is that the stealing could be a compulsive behavior. And she lies because of shame. It does not make sense to me that somebody would intentionally steal items from family and friends, where she knows she will be detected, unless she is out of control or wants to be detected.

    I would confront her gently as a statement of fact. I would not ask her to admit to the behavior. I would tell her what you know. There are programs that the district attorney's office runs in some cities, that are diversionary. Is there a reason that her sibling did not report the missing items. It is in your daughter's interests to be apprehended. The longer this goes on the more at risk she becomes.

    I think that patterns of addiction can go from one thing to another thing. It is not hard to imagine that her addictive behavior continued in the form of petty theft. If it were me I would speak to her and I would encourage her to get help. I agree with the others that she should not be in your houses, if there is risk she will steal. She should be told upfront. That is what I think.
  10. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    I agree with others. Also agree with Copa in talking to her. Meet her in a public place and never at your house or family members house. Addictions can be of many things, drugs, stealing, lying. My son is a compulsive liar. He has never stole from me. But he lies and it is so hard to get to the truth of what he tells me is going on. It is always someone else, not him. There is always drama where ever he lives. I have learned over the years to just not say much when he tells of the drama. I let him vent and then tell him I love him and have to go. I have established boundaries of talking with him otherwise I would go insane.