I Created A Monster

Sorry, I’m a great big bleedin’ heart liberal, but I disagree.

I have two cousins. One’s schizophrenic. The other’s a herion addict.

The one with schizophrenia has a had a few minor scrapes with the law - mostly pot possession and a few disorderly conduct tickets. The legal trouble has given the local courts a bit of a sense of urgency in transferring guardianship to my aunt and uncle, with a speed that probably wouldn’t have happened had it been handled strictly through the mental health system. His parents now have the legal authority to force him in to treatment when he needs it, which has pretty much prevented him from going over the edge. The local cops now know who he his, and what his problems are, and usually give his folks a chance to help him out and get him calmed down instead of throwing him in the clink when they pick him up in the middle of the night on the side of the road acting crazy.

The parents of the herion addict are complete pushovers, going on ten years. She’s stolen their jewelry, cars, checks, credit cards, and her little brother’s Playstation. She’s stolen stuff from her older siblings. In all this time, they’ve never been quite able to call the cops, figuring all she needs is a little more help, a little more love, a few more dropped hints that maybe she should seek some counseling.

Oh, she’s also had three kids by three different guys, the oldest of whom is five (the kids, not the guys). Until recently, she retained custody of all three of them. She likes to take them with her when she goes out in the middle of the night to cop.

One of her sisters has finally managed to get temporary custody of the kids, and then only because she provided the family court judge with a list of the latest outrages. In the past, her handful of shoplifting and minor possession busts were never enough to make anybody in the system look in to the welfare of the kids or consider forcing her in to rehab.

I firmly believe that few grand theft complaints by her parents or siblings earlier on in this whole drama could have prevented a lot of harm to her and her family. Sure, she would have had felonies on her record, but after treament, some hard work, and time, felonies can be expunged.

It’s one thing to suggest pure counseling or treatment if the addiction or mental health problems aren’t directly affecting anybody else, but once they cross the line into a repeated pattern of criminal behavior, often the only real option is to call the cops.

Trying to think what I would do if my 18 or 20 year old acted like that.

I’d like to think I would not involve the cops immediately. From your previous posts, this isn’t going to send you into the poor house, so I think your main concern is what it takes to straighten him out, and to straighten out your household. So I’d probably try to figure out what caused this activity. If it was substance use, gambling, emotional problems, I’d require that he participate in the appropriate treatment. I’d also require a precise accounting of everything he stole, and require that he sell any non-necessities and get - and keep - a job to make restitution.

If he had any desire of staying under my roof, he’d have to acknowledge his wrongdoing, express a sincere apology, change his behavior to prevent a recurrence, and make some restitution. If he refused any aspect of the above, I’d kick his ass out, and depending on his attitude and response, I’d seriously consider pressing charges.

He sure wouldn’t have another day of living in my house rent free, snarfing fast food, and goofing on his WII.

You can lock up your cards, chequebooks cash and valuable as much as you like, all that will happen is that you’ll come home to a half empty house.

You simply cannot have a persistant thief in your house and expect to keep any of your possessions.

If you make it difficult, he will just find ways around the obstacles, after all, its easier than burgling someone elses house, he has a key.

This sounds like classic addictive behaviour, could be gambling, could be substances.

I work with criminals all the time, it usually takes up to around 30-35 years old before they have used up all their families, relations and other acquantances before they finally find themselves completely alone, and thats when they start making moves to reform themselves.

There is a reasonable case to argue that maybe if they had gotten to the aloneness sooner, maybe they would have sorted themselves out that much sooner, but in any case, the sooner the families write them off, the less misery they will suffer.

My view is this, kick him out, its something he fears, and he believes you will not do it. Maybe the fact that his father will then be his last chance will straighten him out.

Change your locks, all of them, maybe even the car too, he can get copies made before you evict him, the day he leaves is the day the locks change.

I have to ask, but who has covered all the losses, becdause if it is the bank and the credit card companies, they are not going to be particualarly happy at subsidising his lifestyle, and that is a lever you can use on him.

Get rid.

I just called my son and asked him. I know that sounds kinda odd, but I wondered what a teenager would think about it all - he’s 17.

He said basically what Dinsdale said - although he did think that perhaps something is underlying all this - such as substance abuse. Although you did say that you know he doesn’t have a problem, HOW do you know? You need to get him tested, then you need to get him to a Dr. Then, IMO as a parent, I’d do what Dinsdale said. Keeping in mind that at one point, if you need to involve the cops, do so.

And making sure he knows you love him goes without saying.

I send you mom hugs of support, Foxy. I know this is going to be rough.

I also disagree with your OP, you did not create a monster, he is responsible for his own actions, heck, half the folk on this board left home before his age and made good and no doubt some of those had plenty of reasons not to go straight.

Well, letting him stay at home after she knew that he was taking money from her is enabling his behavior, so while it might not be ALL her fault, she certainly has her role of responsibility.

In the end though, for him to change he needs to take full responsibility. Nothing good ever comes from folks who say their parents screwed up- personal accountability is key. Clearly her son doesn’t have an ounce of that and it’s going to take something massive for him to get some.

You sound a lot like my mother in law and my grandmother.
My brother in law and my mother robbed MIL and grandma blind by the time they were done. Actually the only reason my incubator is done stealing is because my grandmother died two years ago, and then she blew her pretty hefty inheritance in a year. The incubator is manic depressive and the money thing is one of the signs from what I’ve researched.
My BIL still calls for money all the time. My MIL just hands it over.
BIL stole checks and stole her jewlery right after she had just gotten it for christmas that year. We found out about the check on the day we were walking out the door to bury her husband.
The bank called to tell her that her account was overdrawn by some rediculous amount and she had to sit at her husbands funeral next to her son knowing he stole from his dying father. This is after he spent the last five years in prison for forgery. She didn’t press charges. She’s an idiot.
And because she didn’t press charges we weren’t able to press charges after finding out that he was upstairs in our part of the house and took some of our stuff too.
But he’s her baby, and I’ll understand when my kids are going through rough times. It was for drugs and expensive clothing and jewlery.
If and when my children try to swipe something there will be hell to pay the first time.

Not being as harsh as some, but if you knew he had used your cards in the past why/how did you think that missing checks were an error on your part?
I am forgetful at times, but I would remember if I took a check out of the middle of my checkbook. And I am not the best at keeping the register up since I use the online one.
And really, the next step is stealing from others. If something doesn’t happen to get him to see he’s fucking up, he will just move on to greener pastures.
And you would be suprised at the places he’ll find to stay if he decides on his own that he doesn’t want to deal with you anymore. Friends will pop up that you never knew he had and he will couch surf for a while.
They become very resourceful when it serves their purpose.

Good luck sorting this out.

He is not on drugs. I am not in denial. I personally have had much experience with addicts and he isn’t one of them. He is addicted to taco bell and taking his girlfriend out for nice dinners. The statements plainly indicate this.

Why the vendors took these cards is BEYOND me. What pisses me off even more is that the MC, Visa and AE all have a ‘check id’ note on them. I don’t know how often he was denied but it seems he frequented the same places that apparently do not check names or signatures over and over .

When I say I created a monster. *I * created a monster. He is spoiled. The Wii may have been purchased during one of these games stop outings that appear on my cards but that could have been all for games for a system he already had from his father or grandparents. He could have purchased it with the $500.00 I gave him for Christmas. I do not know and he isn’t being very forthcoming and I can’t tell one of these systems from another.

Stupid? Maybe. I think too trusting more than dumb.

As far as stealing from other people. He won’t. This entire thing is so hard to explain but I guess since I dumped it out there for the masses, I can try.

My son has entitlement issues. He KNOWS this was wrong certainly, but he simply doesn’t think of it in the same way as stealing from a stranger. I think he has in his head that I make a good income and although he shouldn’t have taken from me, it is my job to support him so he has all the things his wealthy friends have.

He is not mentally ill. He is a little monster that wanted what he wanted and figured he would pay the bills when they came in which are why he took them. Unfortunately, he slept through his job after staying up all night playing games and got in way over his head.

However, the fact is I will not take responsibility for his behavior, but I will take responsibility for spoiling him. It was a mistake.

There is no way in hell I am going to have him arrested. That will NEVER happen. However, I need to get the backbone to have him move out permanently. When this all happened, I freaked and had him leave for a few days. He crashed at his friends but called me crying and I took him back in.

I sat him down and explained to him that he has put me in a very bad financial position. I recently gave my (ex) husband a large sum of money from the house we lived in and then I had to pay the expenses associated with my father-in-law’s death. My savings took a big hit. I gave my son a pen and a piece of paper and was very honest with my income and what bills I have. I explained how credit cards work and how the minimum payments are going to be hard and it will possibly take me years to pay these off if I don’t make some big sacrifices.

He said he will turn all his paychecks over from now on. I really don’t think he gets it though and can’t figure out how to get through to him about the magnitude of what he did to me.

Contact the credit bureaus and place alerts on your accounts so that no new credit can be established in your name without your knowledge and consent. Close the checking account that’s missing checks and open a new one.

Make sure it’s not drugs. Make him take a piss test. If he refuses, kick him out and change the locks.

If he fails the piss test, he goes to treatment. If he refuses or leaves treatment early, kick him out and change the locks.

If he passes, set an absolute deadline by which he must have a job and a plan to start paying you back. If he refuses, kick him out and change the locks. If he doesn’t get a job by the deadline, or gets fired, or if anything else goes missing, kick him out and change the locks.

If you can’t stomach the idea of kicking him out with nowhere else to go, then find him a one-room apartment and put down a month or two of rent and the security deposit. Under no circumstances do you co-sign his lease.

Personally I’d still put it on record with the police that he did all of this. There’s nothing that says you have to follow through with a prosecution but there’s no reason why your financial situation should be affected any worse than it already has been.

Thank you for being so forthcoming with all of this. Just out of curiousity, why are you so adamant that you’ll never have him arrested?

I’m not saying it’s a good or bad idea; I think several posters in this thread have argued both sides of that already. I’m just curious about what your personal reasons are for staying away from that option at all costs.

There is no way in hell I am going to have him arrested. That will NEVER happen. However, I need to get the backbone to have him move out permanently. When this all happened, I freaked and had him leave for a few days. He crashed at his friends but called me crying and I took him back in.

And when he is arrested for doing something similar to someone else, he’ll call you crying and you’ll post his bail.

He’s 19, not 12. He and only he is responsible for his actions and unless you make this abundantly clear to him, he wont stop. He knows Mom wont ever call the cops on him and the most you’ll ever do is maybe kick him out and ask for some of his paychecks. There is no direct punishment for his actions.

Further, at 19, living at home is a privilege and if he can’t see how privileged he is to have that arrangement AND he abuses it, he needs to be out on his ass. If he’s going to school, he can take out some loans for himself and get some housing. Or he can go live with dad. Either way, he’s hardly going to be homeless.

And I’m saying this as a 21 year old who doesn’t live at home, goes to school full time, and works full time. It’s not easy, but I would never dream of even asking my parents for money, let alone stealing it and intentionally ruining their credit (and yes, my parents are what I’d consider wealthy and with extra money, but I’d never dream of doing it anyway). You seem to think he’s a smart boy, so if that’s the case, he knew EXACTLY what he was doing to your credit. At 19, I was fully aware how credit cards work, what identity theft is, and what fraud is.

Maybe his friends were working the checkout at Wal*Mart. That’s one way to get around that.

Best of luck.

You know your son will steal from you, someone he (supposedly) loves. What’s to keep him from stealing from a total stranger?

You gave your ex a large sum of money from the sale of the house and then paid to bury HIS father? I think you do have issues with denying people money.

I’d bet even money you never see one of his paychecks. He thinks he can walk all over you and until you kick him out, that is not going to change.


You are being remarkably reasonable given what has gone and seeing your reaction to it. I am impressed that you are taking on some of the blame where it is due. You’ll get through this and hopefully your son has learned his lesson. Clearly he does need to get out on his own and the sooner the better.

It wasn’t the middle of my check book. He simply took the next check and I thought I forgot to write it in. When I ran out of checks and went to the box to get the next book is when I noticed there was a missing batch which I stopped as “lost or stolen”.

All this occurred between May 25 and July 5th. The little shit had one hell of a summer. I started getting calls in the beginning of August for being over the limit and missing payments.

I was very tempted to file a police report about that last check for $200. The others were $50.00. He was getting more and more brazen when I did not notice the first two. What really burned my ass is I had to pay their return check fee as well to keep him out of trouble with the authorities.

Kick. His. Ass. Out.

You know he has someplace to go. That puts you way out ahead of other parents with thieving or dangerous kids (mostly addicted) who find the strength to kick them out and don’t know where the hell they will go, maybe to a shelter, maybe to live on the streets.

Your son has demonstrated that he cannot be trusted and that he has no respect or regard for you or for your property. The only lesson you can teach him at this point is what it looks like to have enough self-respect to insist on being treated respectfully, and the way you teach him that is by example. He has forfeited the right to have access to you or to anything you own, and that includes your house and everything that’s in it.

The way you get through to him is to make sure his actions have consequences. He is BY YOUR OWN DESCRIPTION a spoiled brat with a sense of entitlement and a weakness for Taco Bell. He has LESS justification for his completely despicable behavior than a kid with an addiction. An addicted kid can at least point to something other than pure selfishness to excuse his criminal behavior; your son can’t.

Every night you allow this adult child to remain in your home underscores that he is right – stealing from you is different from stealing from others. His actions don’t have consequences.

If he were my son I would pack him a bag, change the locks, and tell him the only thing I wanted to hear from him was “Thank you for not throwing my sorry ass in jail.” And he can come to see me when he has both a sincere apology and a specific plan to pay me back. Until then, he doesn’t need to call or come by and he sure as hell doesn’t need to expect I will trust him in my house or with anything I own.

Thank you for being so forthcoming with all of this. Just out of curiousity, why are you so adamant that you’ll never have him arrested?


He’s my baby. He is selfish and spoiled but he is warm hearted and sensitive. I would never do anything that would cause him such trauma.

I hope you all don’t prove me wrong about stealing from others. I just don’t see it.

Otto’s advice is an excellent place to start.

I really don’t see how the current approach is going to teach him about consequences for his actions. If you don’t supply any, eventually the Big Bad World (someone else he steals from, or the authorities) WILL. If you keep covering his ass, all he learns is that he can keep doing whatever he wants. Continually bailing him out and protecting him is NOT doing him any favors.

He is a THIEF and he is playing you like a fiddle. If he steals from people, he should damned well expect some trauma in return. HE caused the problem.

You are right. Thank you. I am printing this out.