36 answers

Forgiving a Teenager from Stealing to Buy Drugs

Obviously this is a difficult questtion. My 14 year old son did not transition well in to high school last month. He met some older kids that are bad news and they got him using marijunana and ectasy, of course they did not force him. He is no saint, there have always been issues but they usually make us stronger and we move on. Apparently he got in over his head being fronted drugs for him and his freinds. In order to pay his debts he sold both he and his brothers brand new bus passes (stole his 13 year old brother's) as well as my Ipod in my car,my room and his brother's Ipod I gave him for Christmas. Once discovered I have acted in every way possible with help from school, friends, his therapist etc. I took everything away, even deleted his myspace page, installed a home alarm, took his keys, make him check in daily at school and started drug testing him. The therapist tells him to accept the consequences and move on but I can't move on yet and I don't know if that is good or bad? It's been 3 weeks and I am still finding things he did daily while the therapist urges forgivness and he keeps asing me "geez are you going to bring that up every day". Of course he has no way to pay us back but that won't make it any better. My child stole from his brother and I and I can't find it in my heart to forgive him. Thoughts?

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So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your advice. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it. Many of you said what I have been trying to say but was too hurt and shocked by the situation to express it. I have taken the best from everyone and edited it down to a one page letter to sit him down and read tonight and then I will let the healing process begin and him the opportunity to earn my trust. Thanks again.

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You can attend an Al-Anon meeting and get some insight there. Lots of people who have experienced what you have, and worse.

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I have had problems with my son also. It was not drugs but I was still heartbroken. I can tell you what worked best for us. I went to counseling with my son and found out the root problem. I found it easier to forgive and he soon was on the right path for success.

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Just because you forgive does not mean you forget. I have never liked the saying "forgive and forget" You can forgive him for his actions or dwell on it and drive him to do it again.
From experience, if you keep telling him over and over and over about how badly he messed up then all he is going to think you think of him is that he IS a screw up ... so my best advice, get over it, forgive the actions, replace or do not replace the items, and get him doing things you can praise him for regularly ... please do two things ... Never Forget and Never throw it in his face in anger.

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When I was a teenager my mother told me. "I will always love you. No matter what you do, even if it the most awful thing in the world, I will love you. That does not mean I cannot be hurt, or disappointed by your behavior or actions, but I promise I will always be on your side. Even if I am the only person on your side."

This was a very powerful promise and statement. It really gave me a courage and a drive to do the right thing. I never wanted to hurt or disappoint my mom, because she was able to explain how much she loved me.

When our daughter was born. The moment they handed her to me, I knew exactly what my mom really meant and what life was all about. That love is strong, it can survive anything. They may hurt or disappoint you, but no matter what you neer stop loving them..

Maybe this is what you can explain to your son. Consider your true feelings and see if something like this is what you feel.
"I love you. I always will. Right now my feelings are deeply hurt and I am deeply disappointed. I know you can do better than this. I am on your side and I want to help you in any way that you need to make this right again. "

I am sorry he made bad choices. I am sorry it has hurt you so deeply. I am sending you strength and peace.

Just something to think about

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I have a 34 yr. old adult child who did this at the same age, and it's escalated over the years & gotten much worse. I think forgiving and forgetting are both over emphasized in drug issues. If your child is truly remorseful and asks for your forgiveness, that is another matter. But most do not ask for forgiveness in drug related issues.

It takes a long time to earn trust back once it's broken. The therapist should be talking to your son about broken trust and your son asking YOU for forgiveness - not the other way around. We can love our children but hate (not forgive) their actions, especially if our child isn't remorseful and doesn't change his actions or attitude after being caught.

Our daugher had drug issues, including theft of our belongings, from stores, etc.), as a teenager, got pregnant, gave up drugs, and was drug free and as honest as we could ever hope for, for 6 yrs. - then started up on drugs again when her 2 children (still a single mom) were 4 & 7 yrs., and I don't know if we will ever trust or forgive her again. Her children were removed by DHS, we're raising and adopting them (now 5 & 8 yrs., we're 64 yrs. old). She never showed remorse or asked forgiveness any time in her life. We still love her. But why are we expected to forgive her?

I wouldn't keep bringing the issues up, though. It causes more resentment and can drive them deeper into drugs. Don't talk about it, take action! When there are rule infractions (staying out too late, stealing, lying, etc.), enforce consequences. If that doesn't work, recruit the police, drug agencies, etc. Your son is already heavily into drugs - you have nothing to lose by being VERY strict, enforcing the rules, and enforcing consequences. Make the consequences short term, though. Instead of removing privileges for a month or more, remove them for 2 wks. Then explain that if they break the rules again, you will require longer consequences.

Your son's life depends on you getting help so that you are strong enough to use tough love and enforce the consequences, even if that includes having him temporarily removed from your home so that he doesn't steal from you or your other children.

If you continue seeing daily or frequent signs of drug use and suspect theft, lying, etc., forget the therapist and get a new one!

When our children are toddlers and youngsters, and do something wrong, we quickly forgive them while first showing them there are consequences for their behavior (time out, extra chores, no TV or friends, etc.). When our children become teenagers and do things that are illegal, steal, lie, etc., they also need consequences of a greater magnitude, BUT they also need to show remorse and ask forgiveness on their own, if they truly want our forgiveness on these major issues. We are NOT bad parents when we can't forgive them when they don't take responsibility for their actions.

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3 weeks? wow... Thats is a spit in the bucket of time...
Is the therapist for HIM or for the family also? I would lay it out for him... Calmly tell him or write him a letter telling him..." YOU broke my trust. YOU stole from me. I WILL forgive you... In time... But YOU need to EARN that trust again. And attitude does not help. YOU need to SHOW thru your actions that YOU are sorry. I MAY bring it up every day... That is MY right... I have been disappointed by YOUR actions (not YOU, but what you chose to do). I understand WHY... But not HOW you thought it would be ok.... Over time the feelings of hurt will diminish, but it will not happen over night... And forgiveness takes time... Until then, you will be reminded, watched, and checked until you PROVE YOURSELF again. BUT since the trust has been broken once... it breaks easier and takes longer to heal the second time... SO avoid making those bad decisions a second time... LOVE MOM!!!"
:-) I find it hard that he has " NO" way to pay you back...
Our neighbor started mowing our yard when he was 12... we pay another neighbor boy to rake our leaves and shovel our snow... He was 13 when he started... Where there is a will there is a way... I would insist he pay you back... and not from your own pocket (you pay him to do your work)... Insist he go to the neighbors and ASK. One thing that teens are missing now days is WORK... Hard physical labor... Keeps young ones strong, out of most trouble, and they sleep better. lol I am a 31 yr old mom of 4 who grew up on an organic dairy farm and was managing the herd (about 200 animals) by the age of 16 (it was necessary) AND going to school... Maybe having him get a "job" on a local farm would help center him... Nothing more humble than cleaning up animal poop...

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Hmmmm...a few things about your post unsettle me. You seem to be "policing" him well but is he willing to STOP using drugs? Right now, you're making it impossible, but what if he had the opportunity?
Can you find an NA group for young teens for him to attend? Have YOU attended Alanon meetings?
The fact that he's asking about YOU bringing it up every day tells me either a.) He HAS accepted the consequences and is willing to prove himself through his actions or b.) He wants the immediate issue to be "over" the sooner the better. Hopefully it's A.

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Is your son showing signs of remorse? Has he asked for forgiveness? Has he shown signs of improvement? I understand to a degree what the therapist is saying that if you stay in the past he also will not bother to move forward because your expectations of him will remain the same. On the other hand trust and forgiveness need to be earned and with drug use 3 weeks in my opinion is still very early to expect so much from you or him for that matter. I think you are the only one who truly knows your son and you do not sound like a mom who sugar coats things so if you see the change in your heart, and you feel in your heart he deserves your trust and forgiveness then you will give it to him. Obviously if you are asking you are not yet sure and that in my opinion is fine. He has hurt you and your children so he has alot of work to do to gain that all back. Go with your heart, and the good sense you have that will guide you. Good luck I know how tough this road can be, I had some issues with my son when he was a teen. I never gave up on him and I policed him everyday and we made it through. You will too!!!

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I know that you have received so many responses, but I feel really close to this one... I was on the same path as your son. My parents took the forgiveness route. The "it will get better" route. I got worse. I was really searching for consequences, but I definitely did not know that at the time. I kept pushing and pushing. The road ended with hard drugs, a life wasted, and consequences from the wrong authorities.
This is your son's life. The only one he gets. You are his teacher, his parent and it is your duty to really drive this one home until he is on the right path. This will not be fun. He will tell you that he hates you. But if you want to see your child grow into all of the things that you know he is capable of, you have to be the bad guy.
The reason why you are having a hard time forgiving him is because you know that this is not the last time or the worst that will happen. You are his mommy and you know your child. He is only 14 and has so much opportunity in front of him.
Today you have to be the hard "a," so that tomorrow he can thrive.
http://www.outwardbound.org/index.cfm/do/are.index
These type of programs are miracles. They are non-denominational and build strong people. I wish more than anything that my (well meaning) parents had sent me kicking and screaming into something like this. Things would be a lot different.
Take care.

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You really MUST deal with not being able to forgive him. Your not being able to move on is not about him. He can only do so much. You've got to be willing to move past this and not nag or badger him about it. He screwed up big time but it's been done. If you don't allow yourself to see past this then he won't be able to either. Lots of kids have experiences like this early on that are so upsetting to their parents. If you don't allow him to move on he gets stuck in the character of 'screw up kid'. My oldest step son got branded as the screw up kid pretty early and lived up to his parents expectations perfectly. He got into hard drugs, couldn't keep a job, got arrested.......you get the picture. I don't know how he would have behaved had his first royal mistakes had been forgiven but not forgotten. He may have been able to 're-brand' himself as funny and athletic. In my experience drug testing and taking every privilege away only feeds the brooding disgruntled teenager monster. Choosing whether or not to experiment with sex drugs and rock and roll are adult decisions. You son likely thinks he's mature enough to make these choices. You know he's not but you can try to at least use that to your advantage. If he's turning off immediately when you try to talk to him then have someone else talk to him. Do you have a family member or close friend who can 'be cool' about it? I'm not a big fan of therapy having tried it as a teen and as an adult. I found that group therapy is more helpful. One on one or even family therapy can feel more like the inquisition! Keep in mind that he really does think he is capable of making these choices. He's not being stubborn he just has no idea that he isn't ready to make those kinds of choices. Avoid being condescending. If you want to set the rules then do it....1. no drugs, 2. no drinking, 3. whatever other stuff you're dealing with right now...once the rules are set DON'T try to 'catch' him breaking them. Give him some space. If he thinks you're going to accuse him no matter what he'll just go ahead and do it. If he's going to be punished for smoking pot even when didn't he may as well smoke and enjoy it! I believe who we were is not who we're going to be. What we did yesterday doesn't say who we are today. Allow him to move past it. You can forgive him. He stole because he didn't know what else to do to pay his debts. Obviously he didn't feel he could talk with you about it or he'd have admitted his screw up and asked you to help pay back the money. The more difficult you make it for him to come to you for help the more likely he's going to find himself in another bad situation and make more bad choices. I call this the bungee jumping stage. I've been thru it with 3 boys and am just beginning with my 14 year old step daughter. All 3 boys did really stupid stuff..REALLY stupid but now that they are grown they aren't screw ups after all. Open your eyes to the bigger picture and think about the man he'll become not the dumb boy he's behaving like today.

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Please check out where your local Al-anon meetings are. It isn't just for alcohol. This is for family members of addicts. Your son should seek help from AA or NA and through the steps will regain your trust. I would even look in to a rehab program for him as they would take him through the steps and if it is a live-in one, would give you time to heal as well as grow during the family nights. Please don't walk this path alone. There are many people suffering and many people who have made it through this difficult time - learn from their experiences... It works!

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What you are going through... is a kind of "grieving."
Thus you cannot 'forgive' him yet.
You are grieving.... about your son, what he is and is not... and how your little "boy"... is no longer. You miss him... being the way he is now... and you grieve what was... before he became this age and his ensuing legal problems.

Perhaps, find a support group.... I think that would help a lot. Either a 'grief support" group... or a group for parents of kids who have drug problems. You may find some people there to commiserate with and find healing... as well.

all the best,
Susan

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I have had problems with my son also. It was not drugs but I was still heartbroken. I can tell you what worked best for us. I went to counseling with my son and found out the root problem. I found it easier to forgive and he soon was on the right path for success.

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You can attend an Al-Anon meeting and get some insight there. Lots of people who have experienced what you have, and worse.

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Forgiveness isn't always automatic but it is possible. What your son put you through is very traumatic. Sometimes it seems that everyone is so focused on the teenager that is using and abusing, and not enough compassion and understanding is necessarily given to the parents and family members who's trust have been completely violated. And you need that right now.

Your son has been abusing drugs. That's bad enough but to add onto it the fact that he basically victimized you and the rest of your family, and exposed all of you to the potential threat of harm, I don't think that is anything that should be diminished or swept under the carpet. Your son does need to rebuild his trust with you and he does need to show that he does understand what he put you and the rest of the family members through.

I do believe it is possible to forgive someone without having this type of closure but it is very hard to achieve. I don't know if you son is capable of giving what you want and what you need from him at this time so I think maybe going to see a counselor on your own so that you can have a chance to vent and work out your feelings while your son is working on his own, would do the two of you a world of good.

Sending you and your son prayers of strength and courage.

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Forgiveness is for you, not him. why would you want to carry all that around daily? Do you feel responsible for his actions? Do you feel that you were lacking as a parent somehow and so to punish yourself you are going to keep going over it & over it and carry that burden around everyday? your son is still very young and he has had some wonderful opportunities to learn some very big life lessons. He made some bad choices, but i bet he isn't a bad person just like your not a bad parent. You can not change what has occured, but you can choose how you react to this. Use this to help guide your son in such a way as to not make the same bad choices in the future. Your son is alive and so there is hope for a very long and happy future. realize that drugs and addictions, lies, etc snowball what starts out little & no big deal can soon be a mountain too high to climb. You hurt the ones you love cause you know they love you enough to forgive your stupidity!! Take this as a blessing that he can learn from this as a life lesson so that he may not get in over his head as an adult when the stakes may be higher!!. this is his time to learn, help him to see that he isn't his bad choice and once you see this as a lesson to learn and not a betrayal to you or your family and you see that it isn't about your parenting skills to date, the forgiveness will come and your burden will be lifted and your heart can heal. Best of luck, this is a truly scary thing, the transition of child to adult....Love enough to stay involved and on top of this so that he doesn't slip further into drug use. Hope this helps you to see things in a different light since sometimes we are just too close to the situation to see the opportunity that these things provide.

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Please come to an Al-anon meeting. There you will find others who have lived in your situation. In Al-anon we share our experience, strength and hope as well as effective tools to use everyday. There you will find the path to forgive and heal. Please avail yourself of the opportunity! Go, not for your son, but for yourself.
Love L.

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Trusting him again and forgiving him are two separate things, but tied closely together in this case. He betrayed your trust and getting that back will take a while. It doesn't happen overnight. I think that once he is on a path to earn your trust back, it will be easier to let it go in your heart and hopefully put this behind you.
Maybe you can look into volunteer work for him to pay you back, like at an animal shelter or food bank. It's a win, win situation.. He shows he can be responsible for his actions, and it keeps his nose out of trouble.

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Are you heartbroken still, or are you bitter and mad? There is a HUGE difference, in this situation. My sister got into drugs very badly, as a teenager. She stole many many things from me, for 5-6 years...and even managed to steal from me, as an adult. I am still sad over the whole situation and she has been clean, for quite some time. I still feel sad, that she resorted to that, in her life. I do not dwell on it, but when something like your question makes me think of it, I still feel pangs of sadness. Sadness over the desperation she must have felt, sadness she could be that selfish...sadness. It it a brief second of returned sadness and I move on. Some things in our lives, will always bring a moment of reflection and sadness. If you are angry with him, or very bitter...yes, it is time to move on. This attitude will make his recovery worse and harder...speaking from experience. If you are simply sad, that's OK. He's your son and his choices hurt you. As long as you aren't using your sadness against him, you are allowed to be sad.

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It sounds like you are making every effort to keep him on track with the things you are making him do. Keep that up, he needs you to be a strong parent and not give up on him.
And of course you should forgive him! He's your son. He's made mistakes like we all do. It's the right thing to do. Let him know you will always be there for him, but be strong in telling him you do not condone his bad actions and there will be consequences.

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I think your therapist is wrong to urge forgiveness after only three weeks. What rot. Your son broke trust and it will take time--serious time--for him to earn that trust back. With the regaining of trust will come forgiveness, in my opinion.

And to answer your son's question: YES, you are going to bring it up every day because his reckless and foolish actions affect you every, single day. And, you will continue to not forgive him until he shows sincere remorse and contrition through changed behavior and sucking up the loss of his freedom and gadgetry with grace and dignity. (If he has shown this, well, it just takes time.) I think previous posters suggestion of Al-anon for both of you is wise.

If your son really doesn't "get it," offer him the alternative. You turn him over to law enforcement for theft and drugs and let him deal with the penal system. I can tell you THEY will not forgive him in three weeks and society would not expect them, too. In fact, in our area, the behaviors you describe are good for several years of being reminded daily that you screwed up.

My sister stole from my dad when she was a teenager. It's been nearly 30 years and my sister has NEVER ONCE said she's sorry. My mom and sister can't figure out that her "youthful prank" won't ever be forgiven until my sister offers restitution (she's well able to afford it now) and an apology. It's only been since my dad had a brush with death via illness that he's started talking to my sister again. This has been a thorn in both their sides for 30 years. I'll let you decide if his actions were good or bad.

I don't think there's a right answer here on what's going to work for you to find forgiveness in your heart. But, I can tell you that whatever is right, it's flat WRONG to expect forgiveness in three weeks. I respectfully advise a new therapist, one who understands that forgiveness not freely given or truly earned is worthless.

Good luck.

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Just because you forgive does not mean you forget. I have never liked the saying "forgive and forget" You can forgive him for his actions or dwell on it and drive him to do it again.
From experience, if you keep telling him over and over and over about how badly he messed up then all he is going to think you think of him is that he IS a screw up ... so my best advice, get over it, forgive the actions, replace or do not replace the items, and get him doing things you can praise him for regularly ... please do two things ... Never Forget and Never throw it in his face in anger.

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Hang in there! You don't see very many moms seeing their kids for what they are and which in turn the kids never get help. You are not sugar coating anything and are a straight shooter so you can't fake it. Tell your son you are just having a hard time doing what is expected of you to forgive and let go, just as he is having a hard time doing the right thing no stealing or drugs. It is going to take work on both your parts but together you can get through anything but you both have to work on it daily each and every minute of the day to make the right choices so every one benefits. Way to go mom for taking the right road not the easy one. Best of luck to your family.

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I am a little concerned about a therapist whose reaction time to feelings of betrayal, disappointment, frustration, anger and downright hurt would be minimized within a three week time frame. How old is this person? To forgive in this case might not be the right thing, he needs the reminder that this is unacceptable. He needs to know how dangerous this, it's not only difficult for the family but it can ruin a perfectly wonderful set of brains. I can tell you firsthand, although I am very proud of my son, and he was labeled bipolar, and the therapists said that it's not from drugs, that it can happen, okay, well, if you could see this boy who decided to take his wonderful beautiful self out and experiment, and turn into someone completely unknown to us, I think drugs had something to do with it even they don't think so. (The therapists). He cannot connect sentences, his emotional awareness of the hurt others are going through appear to be nonexistent and he is twenty, now old enough to know better. And he completely weaned himself off of the meds he needs and left. I do know where he is, but what results from his past will creep up? I am urging you, if this is the kind of therapist that exists, that there are others out there. You really do not want to go through what I am going through. So either have the therapist explain further about all this forgiveness or find another one. You are talking about someone's life. Your own beloved son. And forgiving might be wonderful if you could trust. But you are trying to keep him alive, you are raw and it really might not be time yet. Sorry to be so upfront. But I wish someone would have told me this.

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You can't forgive him... yet... he hasn't done anything to show you he's sorry. His response to your daily discoveries shows he hasn't learned anything. Perhaps he will. I hope so. Teens are tough, no doubt.

The thing about forgiveness, of course, is that it's at least as beneficial for the victim as the perpetrator. So, if you can, keep working with him on ethics and morals and keep working on yourself to forgive him. Just don't confuse that with forgetting or trusting him again until it's truly deserved.

Best wishes,

S. :+)

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I suggest you find him an AA program now. Joining a 12 step program will introduce him to a lot of cool kids with similar issues. This may seem over-the-top ("my kid's not an addict... he's just troubled") but studies show that the EARLIER an addict joins a 12 step program, the better his chances of success are. I have many friends who joined AA at around 14 years of age. They are doing great / very well adjusted. I am not an addict myself but my best friend, husband, brother, mother-in-law, etc are, and I have the very highest regard for AA. Check out HYPAA (Hollywood Young Person's AA) as a starting point. Good luck!

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Hi RB, I have to say it would take ME WAY more than 3 weeks to 'get over it'.

In fact it takes me longer to 'get over' the rare occasion when one of my kids forgets a homework assignment, or reacts to something I say in a rude manor, sigh...

Here's why

My singular focus in life for the past 20 years has been to raise happy healthy well-adjusted successful children.
When they 'fail' (I hate that word, but I don't know how else to put it), I fail. I know they all have their own minds and make their own choices, even at a very young age, but to me it feels like I'VE done wrong, if THEY'RE doing wrong.

In this way, motherhood is not selfless AT ALL, in fact, since my children are a reflection of MY WORK, it's extrememly self-ISH. So since I am SINGULARLY in charge of the lives of three people, I will do WHATEVER it takes to help them acheive success. (of course, success is defined differently for every family)

I have very little need for discipline, I think the fact that I hold a grudge is punishment enough, NOBODY here likes it when MOM is pissed off.

To put myself in your position, I guess at this point I would feel like DRASTIC measures are appropriate here. I would feel like this child needs an alternative life/education/parenting.

I would focus exclusively on his personal interests. Is he musical? Get him guitar lessons. Is he artistic, get him classes at your local community college. Is he mechanical? Get him into a BOCES program where instead of 'regular' school he can be working on the thing that turns him on.

Otherwise, how are you going to get him through the next 3 years of high school?

Give him a fresh start, new school, homeschool, etc. (This is not my normal advice, but again it seems like you have an emergency)

Ask him what HE wants out of life. Find out, then FOCUS completely on whatever that is.

Also, you may want to consider a new therapist. In fact, you should have your OWN therapist.

I think you WILL find the strength to 'move on'. I think we Moms find SUPER HUMAN skills even after we think there's NOTHING left.

You've got THREE more years to turn it around. I personally think you WILL, based entirely on the honesty in your post!

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Maybe this is a communication thing. Are you trying to forgive him for stealing or trying to forgive him for getting so involved in drug use that he stole from you and his brother? It's perfectly understandable that your trust is shaken and 3 weeks is not enough time for him to have earned back trust. I hope you are not overly focused on the stealing part of this, though, as it may be making it seem that you are focused on the financial pain inflicted on you and his brother, rather than the emotional pain inflicted by feeling that he would do that to you and his brother...for drugs. Make sure he knows that it's emotional pain you are feeling, that you still love him and the reason that you put all the consequences and protections and therapy in place is because you love him...i.e. it's not about the money, it's about the emotional rejection you feel that he was choosing drugs over family.

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Find a therapist for yourself as well, and tell him that forgiveness and trust both take time.

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Children make mistakes. They use poor judgement and have immature decision making skills. It doesnt make it acceptable however it would be a deeper pain if he stole from you when he was in his 20's instead as an adolescent. Remind yourself that, especially at 14, children are prone to make mistakes and still need their parents to lead by example--and showing him how to forgive is one of those life skills he needs to learn from you.

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You need to establish the debt or obligation or consequence and your son needs to pay it back and then everyone needs to move on. He can monetarily pay you back through chores. You establish the wage. He needs to be able to move on otherwise he'll continue to feel like he can do no right and this will be a detriment to his future behavior. After that, even if you don't feel like you've really forgiven him you need to pretend that you do for his sake and yours. Forgiveness can take time especially for violations of trust. Move on and let time do its work.

You have become a jailer instead of a Mom with the fun of great kids.
It is not your fault.
Forgiving and forgetting may take years.
Maybe you could find another focus, read a lot of books, take up a hobby,
or a new job, Do something for your own mind and sanity.
Just take it a day at a time and if there is more trouble, for the sake of
the rest of your family, let the social services take over.
I am sure you have done your best.

Last month I found out my son was stealing gum from me and it still pisses me off! I felt violated. I don't think 3 weeks is very long to be mad. Not only did steal from you and your family, he lied to you, and broke your trust. Those are biggies and there is not a set period of time for you to just "get over it." It's like a death, you don't just get over it when it's convenient. You process what happened, and it takes time, and each person's time & process is different and not pre-determined.

If you are not in therapy I strongly recommend you finding a therapist for you. It will give you a safe place, with no judgement, to cry and scream, and admit your still mad, and to grieve. Once you get those emotions out it will be easier to deal with whatever the next step is to help and support your son.

Please be gentle with yourself. It's an awful situation and we all are here to support you.

S.

PS, I don't know of Therapists in Temecula or Murrieta but do have names here in San Diego. They might be able to recommend someone up in your area. If I can help, please contact me.

Why does the therapist want you to forgive? It's only been 3 weeks. That's just bizarre. You know that your son stole to get drugs. I thought most teenagers that had drug problems stole, too.

I don't know about drug-users, but I do know that if you "forgive" then you could be opening the door for your kid to justify more bad behavior. Why, I wouldn't trust him for at least 6 months to a year. If you want the anger out of your heart, I am sure it will take some time.

I would forgive him, and move on, but under no circumstances would I trust him. Forgiveness should be offered by every parent, but trust needs to be earned, and from the sound of it, he has a long way to go to prove that he's worthy of trust. I totally understand why it is hard for you to forgive, but what you are doing is not helping your child. At the end of the day, I'm sure that's your goal. If you can't find it in your heart to forgive him, you need to find it in your head to stop bringing it up his poor choices and act as though you've forgiven him. If sit were me I'd put myself into therapy. This is alot to process, and I'm sure some professional help would be worthwhile. Good luck.

At this point you HAVE to move on. I understand not feeling like it, but since he's been punished and is in therapy, there's no other path to take. If you keep bringing it up, it's only going to drive a big wedge between you two. It sounds like you did the right things, so you just have to take deep breaths and try to move forward. Continuing to make it an issue in your lives is only going to keep it alive and cause further problems.

Matthew 6:14-15 (TEV) “If you forgive others the wrongs they have
done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if
you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the
wrongs you have done.”

the therapyst told you to "move on"? what's that supposed to mean, forgive and forget? Stop caring? What? I would take a leave of absence at work, I would take my son and go somewhere away from home and from the environment is causing all of this, cutting the ties with these other troubled teens and forcing him to be with you and with himself. Do you have friends or family out of State who could have you, or could you afford to stay away for a month or so, just you and him, to go to a small-size, safe, old town where you could both experience simple, meaningful things, and reconnect? You could volunteer TOGETHER at shelters or in other places where he could see how is goin to end up if he choses to give is life up with drugs...lonely, sick and forsakes by everybody else. I think you two need to reconnect and try to solve the issues between you AND i think he needs a reality check and a "grow up" kind of slap in the face. Good luck.

I think you need to find a new therapist. 3 weeks and the therapist is asking you to forgive and forget? I'm not saying you need to hold this over your son's head forever, but he has broken your trust completely.

Your therapist should be saying things like "get this kid to an intervention or in-patient/out-patient treatment for his drug problem". Yes, he has a drug problem if he is stealing and putting the rest of the family at risk.

I think you've done the right thing by cutting him off, drug testing him, and having him check in. Good for you - you're not enabling him and your actions are not allowing him to continue using (although, he may continue to choose to use...but at least you're not making it easier for him).

It takes time to earn back trust. And people earn back trust by taking responsibility for their actions and demonstrating that they can be trustworthy. Your son has a long way to go and restitution to be made before you can trust him, so I think you're absolutely right when you say you can't yet forgive him.

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