Son Caught Stealing?
Joan Jerkovich - August 26, 2014 10:41 am
Our 18 year old son refuses to get a job and was caught stealing last year and he stole from his fathers wallet for over two years. We allowed the law to restrict him for stealing and we charged him double what he stole from us as parents.
This year he was caught by his parents with alcohol in his vehicle. We are requiring him to pay for our umbrella policy and to pay for his own auto insurance.
Our kids feel entitled and they don’t respect us. We have overlooked bad behavior and are paying for it now. We need help to turn this around if it is possible.
There are times when, as a parent, you are yourself in a better position to provide strong guidance and discipline to your children. And, there are times when you are doing the best that you can relative to the stresses you have going on in your own life.
Some of the most common stresses I hear from parents are loss of a job, or health issues. Also, substance abuse, trouble with the law and divorce head up the lists of stresses that befall families and especially parents. Those are the times when your parenting may put you in a place of “overlooking”, as you said, bad behavior that you are now paying for.
If you did the best that you could at the time, don’t be so hard on yourself. However, if you were the parent who brought the stress in to the home, such as you were the parent with the addiction, move forward each day to better yourself and resolve your issues.
Disrespectful, entitled kids are, in my humble opinion, taught to be that way by their parents. If, starting from a young age you allowed your kids to talk back to you, or defy your rules, or had no consequences for bad behavior, disrespect will take hold.
Entitlement sets in if you can’t say no to them and buy them everything they ask for. Or, if you have been so permissive that you let them go to the parties, or R-rated movies you don’t approve of but did nothing to stop.
Since your son doesn’t have a job I have to question where he got the money to pay back what he stole and for insurance? Or were these just payback “threats” you didn’t follow through with? Consequences with no follow-through are ineffective, and foster more bad behavior.
When you don’t function as the leader, protector and teacher in your own home, the kids become the princes and princesses of the domain and you as parents are relegated to being their servant. Not the kingdom I want to take up my sword for and defend!
No matter how servile you have become, you can always get back to being the King and Queen of your house. As King and Queen, you set the rules and consequences and it sounds like you are already taking strong steps to do just that. When you talk about holding your son responsible for his stealing and illegal behavior (minor in possession of alcohol), it sounds as if you are already taking back the throne.
Keep moving forward with setting up rules and consequences. You’re on the right track. If your 18 year old won’t follow your house rules, or get a job, or be a productive member who helps the family instead of hurts it, you may have to give notice for him to leave.
Tough love, if done in a spirit of kindness and empathy, is lovingly showing our children that they are capable of making their own choices in life. Even if they lived free of consequences in their own home, society will catch up with them and set consequences for them, and the legal system has already done that for your son.
If you need for him to leave your home, all you can do is hold fast that you did the best that you could.
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• What rules and consequences can you put in place for your son to get a job?
• At what point will your adult son have to leave your home and take full responsibility for himself?
• How can you move forward being a better parent today than the one you were yesterday?
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