Lying Stealing Adult Child 2


New Member
I am also new to this forum. I am experiencing the same problems as 'paraeducator'. I have a 24 year old daughter living at home - back in June this year she lost her job and has since made no effort whatsoever to find another one. She has been charging left right and center on my grocery charge account and even going so far as to take my debit card out of my purse to charge things around town - all without my prior knowledge or permission. She lies incessantly and does nothing to help herself or to try to make up for what she's done. From her redundancy money she did pay for computer classes at the community college so that is a bit encouraging but it's not enough. Her behavior is causing a strain on our marriage (we've been married for nearly 30 years and happily up to now). She repeats this bad behavior over and over again and now I am beginning to think she has a substance abuse problem. I have seen empty wine bottles in her room. I have now told her that enough is enough; her cell phone will be cut off at the end of this month since I'm not paying for it any longer - also if she doesn't make an effort to find work (any kind of work), then she has to move out. I've had enough and this has gone on long enough. I am going to demand she sit down with her father and I and we discuss exactly what's going on with her. I seriously think she needs to go to some sort of counseling but I know my husband is going to think I'm overreacting - he tends to bury his head in the sand and let's me deal with all the stress and worry which isn't fair to me. She has a boyfriend (although she says he's only a friend) who she has been seeing for 5 years or more. She needs to get him out of her life; he uses her motorbike which she paid for, probably eats all the groceries she is charging on my account, and earlier this year when she was working, she paid for a week's vacation entirely herself (airfares, hotels, food, etc. you name it). I don't think he is a good influence on her and doesn't do anything to encourage her to move ahead. So as far as I'm concerned, they feed off each other on this bad behavior (he also lives at home with his mother but is gainfully employed). I think she does all the contributing to their so-called relationship while he does nothing but take, take, take. I'd appreciate anyone's feedback on this. I am glad to know I'm not the only one suffering with these problems. I appreciate any support I can get. I really want to fix what is wrong in her life, but she has to want to get help. Thank you.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I have a 24 year old daughter living at home

my grocery charge account and even going so far as to take my debit card out of my purse to charge things around town - all without my prior knowledge or permission.

She lies incessantly

computer classes at the community college

strain on our marriage

I am going to demand she sit down with her father and I

she needs to go to some sort of counseling
She has a boyfriend (although she says he's only a friend) who she has been seeing for 5 years or more. She needs to get him out of her life;


Good morning, ACE.

A warm welcome.

The stealing was wrong.

It might be something your child is testing limits on? But using your credit cards is a great place to begin teaching your adult child to stand up, to grow up, to become the woman you raised her to be.

That is the message I would give her on all fronts, at this point.

For her own good, for her growth as a human being striving to create and capture the dream of the adult she imagined she would grow in to, your child needs to take responsibility for herself, now.

It is part of parenting to force our children to take those next steps into mature adulthood, ACE.

I had two children and a mother-In-law by the time I was 24!

I'm thinking you and your husband did, too.

That we faced our challenges as we did is the only reason we became who we are, ACE.

If you can frame the conversation with your child in this way, I think you will all do well.

She sounds like a good kid.

But she is developing bad habits and slipping into some limbo where she is neither child nor adult.

If she stays with you, she needs to pay rent. It can be a token amount? But that needs to happen for your child to begin thinking of herself as an adult.

I don't mean to sound like a know it all, here! If you are here with us long enough?

You will find that with my own kids?

I am pretty much clueless.


Just like they don't let doctors treat family members, it's a hard thing for parents to be objective about our adult kids, sometimes.

We see them as children in some sense, for all of their lives.



Well-Known Member
Hi there, ACE. Sorry you had to join us.

If it were me, she would not be living at home. No way. Nor would I pay her bills, especially non-essentials like a cell phone. Like Cedar said, she needs to grow up and part of our parenting an adult child is to force it. Some adult children would be our little girls and boys forever and want a "mommy." That is unhealthy for us and for them.

I would definitely not want her ruining your good marriage!

Rather than trying to get her to change, you can talk to her once and set a time limit. If she isn't doing all the things you asked by, say, three months or seven months or a year, she has to leave, and you can hand her all the resources in your community so s he knows where to go for food, housing, etc.

It is never easy to let an adult child go, knowing they may be homeless, but it isn't good to destroy our own lives for them either. It doesn't help them and it ruins our life. If she is abusing any substances, and she probably is, you can't force her to stop. She has to want to stop and to seek help. You will know if she is truly ready. She is unlikely to confess everything she is doing to you and your husband.Remember, we only have control over ourselves. We have no control over others, even our own adult children. In fact, we have 0% control over them, but we have 100% control over us and how we react to them when they are not doing the right things. We don't have to enable it or empower it. We can force their hands. Or we can be 80 years old still being a mommy to a 60 year old child and have no life at all. There are people who choose the latter, but most here have not. Most of us want to live happy lives, even if one of our adult children refuse to live a good life.

Have you gone to therapy?

Hugs for your hurting mommy heart.


Well-Known Member
One thing I missed.

You can't tell her who to date. She isn't going to listen at her age. I mean, you can tell her, but often that just makes them bond more closely. The only thing you can do about that is stop funding her so that she can't fund him.Lock up all your cards and, if you have one, your checkbook. Your daughter apparently will steal, as many of our adult children do. You aren't alone, trust me.

It is her choice to be with him so it is not his fault. They are both making bad decisions. If your daughter were in a good place, she'd want a healthy boyfriend who lived in his own place, paid his own bills, and treated her well. Our difficult child adult kids tend to find people like them. It is frustrating, but we can't stop it.


Well-Known Member
ACE, I am sorry for your need to be here, but boy is it nice to be able to talk to people that know this stuff cold. I have had my own share of grief from my 2 sons. Stealing, substance abuse and more. What made my ears perk up was your mention of your 30+ years of marriage that might be in peril. I have spent most of my adult life shepherding my difficult child's from one crisis to another. It was totally understandable when they were young and had health/neurological issues. Even then they were a handful. So as a way to deal with the maelstrom of school and social issues that came along my husband and I tacitly divided our duties as follows: He worked full time/me part time. He and I went to sporting activities. I did doctor's appointments and he did yard work and work around the house. I did the shopping, cooking, bill paying and much more. Because I had the responsibility of Health Czar for our family when things heated up as the boys got older husband was comfortable to stay in the background regarding discipline and health issues.

Nothing about our family life is as I planned. Not parenthood, not grand-parenthood. Over the last few years I have realized that this split of responsibilities no longer works for us. He doesn't get to stay in the background. I need him next to me. And when we had to get our sons out of our house for our own safety and well-being we found that together, just us two, we are a family. Just like it was in the beginning.

What I am getting around to is that I think the first step to dealing with your daughter is to shore up what you know is good and what will render you most aid as you go forward...your solid 30+ year marriage. Scent of Cedar shared with me some valuable insight regarding the importance of preserving this. It has gotten better. Your husband has to be brought up to speed on your needs and made aware that what lies ahead will be too big for you to carry on your own. I tried to do it by myself and it almost ruined me. I learned to ask for what I need. I shared my worries and he listened. We went to couples counseling. The therapist wasn't that great but the conversations we had to and from the appointments was worth the time, money and effort. It opened up the dialogue. I hope with all my heart that you will have the strength and support you need as you go through this difficult time. We are here with you. Keep posting.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member

Life flys past, and health.

When we believe we need to handle what is happening to our families, to our marriages, alone, we are constructing a kind of prison with transparent walls.

Our mates see us suffer, but we refuse to let them in.

That task -- that ability to be, over all others, that one person who can strengthen, comfort, and console you...that is your mate's responsibility and highest honor.

The terrible things happening now are not your fault. If there had been some way for you to have seen this coming, you would have moved Heaven and Earth to change it.

You didn't know.

Take from your mate the strength and comfort only he can give you.

Trust him.

Believe in him.

Don't turn him away.

Yes, it's vulnerable. But if we cannot open to those we love, those prison walls will never come down.

Open to your husband, and let him open to you.

There is strength there, and grief acknowledged, and living warmth.

This is a cold, lonely journey. We may not save our children. Along the course of the journey, we find ourselves redefining everything we were so sure we knew.

We learn that we possess a kind of strength, a deep and steady compassion for the humanness of our mates and even, for ourselves.

This was such a surprise to me!

If we allow it, we find and reflect that same inexhaustible strength, that same bottomless well of compassion, without the sting of pity, in our mates.

That is a kind of intimacy that makes everything we've shared as we created our lives together pale in comparison.

Those reflections back and forth between us forge an unimaginably different relationship between ourselves and our mates.

But it requires both strength and vulnerability to insist upon it.