When your adult child steals from you...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Bean, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. Bean

    Bean Member

    Bottom line: she took money from me. I have a team kitty where the team puts money in and we save it up for a party, etc. After suspecting it had been tampered with yesterday, I hid it again last night. She found it, scurried to her room today and stole right from it. I caught her red-handed. Criminal Thinker 24/7.

    I demanded the money back, and told her she needed to get out. No shower, no more phone, no nothing but to leave immediately. She gave me back two stacks of bills she had hidden, called me a fat wah-wah-wah. I told her she had 5 minutes to leave or I'd call the police. She screamed a blood-curdling scream. I told her to be quiet, as her brother's friends were over and they've been through enough. Had her get a change of clothes and leave, said I didn't want to talk, but she needed to leave right away.

    She knocked over a bookcase and called me names.

    She got her stuff.

    She threatened to kill herself.

    She called me more names. She said I should be happy she gave the money back, and was honest about it.

    She punched a hole through our closet door.

    As she left, she told her two little brothers "blank you, and blank you" and then told the other one that "your mother is a blanking blank" and walked out the door. I gave her her phone and her bus pass and locked the door. I didn't answer her texts ("I'm sorry I called you names, I felt bad for that") or calls until hours later when my son handed me the phone and grimaced. She wanted to stop by. I told her she could stop by to get the rest of her things when her dad was home, by appointment.

    She didn't get it. The rest of my things? Yes. What's that supposed to mean? Child, you seriously think you can live here after stealing from your own family?

    I'm embarrassed that I've been trusted with other people's money and this happens.

    Gosh, I'm disappointed. Not surprised. But disappointed. In myself and in her. Somewhat relieved to actually catch her instead of just having suspicion. We told her Monday that she had until (yesterday) Friday to really make a change and that we'd assess at that time - so maybe, in a way, it was a gift to us. A tangible act that she can (somewhat) understand, maybe, how unacceptable her behaviors and lifestyle are. It is a concrete reason why she really can not be here. The joblessness, the attitude, the shady lifestyle (the other day she had money and new stuff -- wonder where she got the money from?!!)... and now stealing? It's just too much.

    I worry, of coarse, what she will do with herself and where she will turn. But she's got to get things right in her life, and obviously being here isn't helping her. It's destroying the rest of us.
  2. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Your daughter sounds so much like my difficult child. She stole from us because she thought we "owed" her a good lifestyle. We went through this many times with our difficult child. She is not allowed to live in our home and we don't let her even come in our house because we have had these problems with her. She seems to be doing better now that she has started DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) but I still don't trust her for one New York minute.

    For what it is worth, I think you did the right thing to make her leave. Be forewarned, though, she'll probably be back. We've been through this on and off for years.

  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    My minor son stole from me while on juvenile parole- I called police and filed charges. Partly because he stole it by cutting my pocket and taking it while I was asleep one night. I will say though, some people I read about must be a lot more tolerable than me and people in my jurisdiction because their kids have broken the law in serious ways but have been in no legal trouble- but I couldn't live like that. Sleeping with my money, keys, debit card, and telephone and having a knife held up to me at a different point in time was about my limit. Now I feel like I must be a failure because I didn't tolerate more- in a way- but in another way, I think it enables them to let it comtinue and not turn them in. My son is a minor so I didn't have the option of just making him leave.
  4. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest


    I think you did absolutely the right thing, really the only thing you can do. I think it is a gift in a way you caught her red handed because it makes it more clearer for you. She is not going to get it, if she gets away with all that bad behavior in your home.

    My son is definitely behaving better towards us since he has been home. Of course it has only been 2 weeks. And definitely there are issues as seen by my post on the substance abuse forum..... I know we have many more bumps in our journey with him.

    But kicking him out and having him stay out for 2 months was GOOD for all of us. He finally made some real effort and went to finish his school work needed fo his diploma and now has gotten himself a paying job. That is absolutely huge and steps in the right direction.

    He now knows if he starts with previous behavior we WILL kick him out. I think while out of the house he learned that things are not so easy else where. All those were really good lessons for him.

    So she will learn some hard lessons from this and it may not all be easy and pleasant for her.... and it will be hard on you but it sounds like it is what needs to happen.
  5. min4kids

    min4kids Guest

    Wow, I can not believe I found this link. I have felt so alone, so sad that my daughter (once a smart, funny little girl) could do this to her own family. Parents who are not perfect, but have always done their best to give her the world. I have 3 younger boys also who are so saddened by her new behavior. She will be 22 this month and met her current boyfriend 2 yrs ago. I know I can not blame it all on him, but we knew he was a thief and disliked him from the beginning. I am a very openminded person but my 19yr old son hated him from day one. so that was a clue. He is shady and untrustworthy and now so is my daughter. The only reason they have their own place is bc my parents inherited a lot of $ and gave some to the grandchildren. She got an apt. (he has had no car, ins., etc since she met him) Now she keeps saying how he is "there for her") We are not bc they steal and are on their 4th shoplifting conviction...so supposedly(the courts take forever) are going to jail. She tries to keep it all from us thinking we wont find out..still attending college to be a teacher (her dream) even though she should know she can't now. When they first met I suggested to her that she might not be able to fulfill her dreams with him and she said "well sometimes your plans change and I will live in the street with him if I have to" The sad thing is , it looks like she will have to.
  6. Bean

    Bean Member

    Yes, I do feel like it was a gift. It's been time to have her leave, really. What started out as a few days has turned into a few months, and I've never needed counseling, medications and a stiff drink more than I have in the past few months. I can't imagine it is the healthiest situation for her, either, really.

    Toughlovin, I've felt the same way many times, about being to harsh. Seems odd, with the current predicament we're in. But, I've bought very little for my daughter in the past few years. All the "experts" will say to take away any non-essentials (phones, radios, televisions, fancy hair products, etc.) from children behaving badly. Food, shelter and clothes to cover their body. Strangely, my daughter has been able to get by on the bare minimum. :/ Setting boundaries with a difficult child is very different from setting them with a easy child. You can start out with the same boundaries and rules, but the difficult child will butt hard against them, smash them to pieces, and then look and come back looking for the next set of boundaries to destroy.

    She's gone from remorse (heart-tugging please to come home) to texting her "goodbyes" and saying she's going to kill herself. It scares me, and angers me at the same time. It isn't fair. Tonight I'm hurting and having a hard time of it. But I'm also OK. I think we both need this process. Prolonging the inevitable is what was happening before.
  7. Bean

    Bean Member

    Min4kids, welcome to the forum. We must have been posting at the same time... glad you made your way here, sorry you're in a hard place right now. (((HUG)))
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Ah, Bean, how gutwrenching.
    I can just hear that bloodcurdling scream.
    And then imagine the "I'm sorry texts."
    So impulsive. So typical.
    I agree, you BOTH need medications and counseling, but save the good, stiff drink just for yourself. :) You've earned it.
    How did the other kids react?
  9. Bean,

    ((hugs)) I know how hard it is to go through the circle of disrespect followed by the "I'm sorry" phase..we've gotten them in handwritten letters, phone calls, text..but only once difficult child feels cornered..the sad part is how quickly those apologies turn into hurled insults when it does not bring the anticipated response difficult child is wishful for. I must admit i've fallen for them more times than i should have and i'm just started to find my backbone. Its hard for me to say it when i'm still just accepting it myself..if the difficult child isn't willing to be honest and show effort and respect for what we do offer then there is nothing we can do to truly HELP them..while allowing it to as you said "destroy us"
  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Oh, my... She is being a piece of work, isn't she? Sadly, she will continue the same behavior whether she is in your home or on her own, or someone else is foolish enough to take her in. You're making the right decision to tell her to leave. You have been her cushion when she was falling, it's time for her to scrape her knees. She'll never figure it out if there are no consequences.

    Did all of the money come back?
  11. done_dad

    done_dad Guest

    Your situation sounds very similar to ours - boyfriend and all. difficult child is living in our house at this point - wife has agreed that if she steals again, she has to go. At this point, it's difficult child or me that's going to be leaving.
  12. Bean

    Bean Member

    To be quite honest, they didn't really react, except middle child, who seems to have had the hardest time with it. He said she needed to leave and says we're too easy on her.

    I'm honestly not sure. I had a vague idea of how much was in there before, but not to the dime. She claims it did.

    She came back today to get some of her clothes and to take a quick shower. My husband made her a sandwich. As much "suffering" as she was claiming on the phone, she arrived in a shirt I've never seen her wear with a purse that I've never seen her with. She made some sloppy comment about where she got them from, and carried a chip on her shoulder the entire time she was here. If there's any remorse for what she did (beyond regret for losing her housing), I didn't see it. She left without taking her clothing, too, which is disturbing because it means she will be calling, badgering for it once again. At this point, though, she really doesn't have any concrete place to put them or take them, so I might allow her to keep some of her stuff here. I just don't know.

    I'm at the point now where I don't know how much to provide, and to not provide. She says she has something lined up for 3 weeks from now, but is at a loss for what to do until then. Again, I really don't know how much of that is true, and how much is not. She's been very resourceful in the past. I told her to do 2 nights on the couch of every friend she has, if she needs to. I don't know what to offer beyond that suggestion (and social service options - most of which she's claimed to have tried and been denied). She's stolen and broke into my parent's home and there's no way she'd be allowed at my brothers.

    None of it feels normal or good to me, beyond having a more stable home here. Kicking my own kid out has gotten me a little weepy and dragged the past day. I realize I've lived in a somewhat skewed reality the past few months. I need to work on "coming down" from that and undoing what it has done. I think the boys will all be very much OK with it. They've been fed up for a while.
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    There is nothing normal about kids stealing from the family. You may want to help her along to finding a place to stay by pressing charges. Then she might just get a place to stay for a bit. Not for long Im sure but they might give her some ideas for when she gets out.

    When my son stole from me, it was the last straw and I pressed charges. It didnt quite work out the way I had planned but he was out for over a year. He needs to find himself a new place soon or we are all going to be in the loony bin soon ourselves.
  14. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, it sounds like she did you a "favor" by stealing, honestly. It gave you a concrete reason to kick her out, something I think you knew had to happen eventually anyway. That doesn't make it any less painful, unfortunately :(

    I think at this point, you do next to nothing for her. Let her figure it out. You'd be surprised at how well she'll probably do in figuring things out, she's alerady found clothes already, right?! I would suggest thinking hard about what you are willing to do down the road, and what you are not. Do nothing that willl cause you financial hardship or unneeded stress.

    Hugs. I know it hurts. I also know it's a huge relief in so many ways. You're doing great.
  15. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Bean, I too think you made the right call in making your daughter leave. You, your husband and your other children need to have a safe, secure and calm place to retreat from the world. None of you needs to come home to chaos.

  16. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Wow -- shades of my on difficult child 1 when he stole my credit card to access phone porn a few months ago.

    Don't be so hard on yourself -- she's doing a bang up job all on her own. You did the right thing. As far as her belongings? I'd seriously consider a drop dead date for her to collect the rest of her "stuff," and then let her know which Salvation Army or Goodwill outlet she can find it at. She sounds very resourceful and I'm sure she'll come up with a solution to that problem once you define the parameters for her.

    Hang in there. Your other kids needed you to do this, too.
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You have done the right thing. Letting her stay at home was not good for anyone, especially not difficult child. She needs to realize that this is permanent, not temporary. Set a date/time in the next few days for her to get her stuff and spend some time putting it in bags or boxes for her. That way you will be sure that none of your stuff leaves with her. Anything she does not take should be donated to a thrift store. Showing up with a new purse/top means that she does have resources of some kind. Whatever they are is not your business or problem. Being her storage place will be a way that she can put pressure on her siblings. She can ask, wheedle, beg and/or coerce them to let her in to get her stuff. Then if something is missing they are going to feel bad because they let her in. It isn't good for anyone.

    I know this is terribly hard for you. Keep reminding yourself that this is what she needs so that she will grow up and be responsible for herself. Then give yourself a hug because you are a really good mom. A bad mom wouldn't worry about this stuff!
  18. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Oh, and don't forget to get your locks changed!
  19. I can't believe I found this site too. Just today I found out my 19yr old son stole my work issue credit card and has been using it right around the corner from my house!!!

    I feel so sad, hurt, confused and disappointed in myself. You see I was a teen parent and had my son at 17yrs old. But I believe I did a good job. He saw me graduate from college, saw me work 2-3 jobs to provide a very stable and healthy environment for him. We went to church regularly. Never have he or I been in an environment where he felt anything but safe. Because I worked so much and his father was not a part of his life, I guess I tried to overcompensate and made sure he did not want for anything.

    I started dating my childhood friend 3 years ago who has been there the entire time as I raised my son, just being a supportive friend. I feel like ever since I started this relationship and my son is no longer the only person in my life, things have slowly tumbled down hill. But the relationship has increased the experiences, travel and love in his life and I thought this would be a good thing. I have never been so happy and felt so much love and its like my son will not allow it into his life.

    I sit here in tears as I struggle with what to do next. I mean using the company card could have jeopardized my job and livelihood. All because we will not give him money. All I have asked of him is to either be in school or get a job working a min of 15 hrs a week. I have to believe this is a reasonable request? I mean we paid for his first semester in college and he failed all four classes. I would not buy him a car without a job, but my parents went behind my back and bought one for him. I just knew getting a car for a young person who is not working or in school would only breed problems for him and me. They shell out hundreds each month on the car note, insurance, and putting gas in the car. He chauffeurs his friends around, sleeps until noon, etc.

    I just don't know what to do as now was my best friend/husband is now faced with having to lock our door, wonder where small things have disappeared to, and just not feel comfortable in our own house. (this was not the first time things have turned up missing, but in each prior instance he blamed it on a friend).

    Since my husband does not have kids I feel as though this is my burden to bear and not his. I just don't know what to do. Do I kick him out? Do I give him another 30 day notice? How can I get the person who I know he (my son) is inside to come back and get on track?

    by the way I got concrete proof, by going to the store and asking them to review the security footage from the date/time stamp of the transaction. I saw him use the card with my own eyes!! He still do not know I know. I called him about it initally and asked if he knew anything about it. He told me "I can never win with you. You will always blame me" But dayum it there are only so many coincidences that I can write off!!!

    Please help me. At what point do I let go?

    Me: 37 yrs pretty tough on school, but liberal and very open-minded
    H: 44yrs...made dumb mistakes as a young person, but quickly got on track
    difficult child?: 19 yrs, used to have an entrepreneurial spirit, now not working, flunked first semester in college, way too much free time
  20. Bean

    Bean Member

    Hey, Remarried, welcome to the forum. You're not alone here. Lots of good company, people in similar places in life, or have been where you are. Sounds like you're dealing with some of the same things I am (kid's the same age, parents bailing them out, stealing from you...) For us, it has been difficult, but we needed to draw a line with her. It took us a while to really put our foot down (we made her leave a month ago) and make appropriate boundaries. I am by no means at a place of perfection. My communication with her has been awful lately. We fight a lot. But it isn't nearly as bad as when she lived here.

    Hang in there.