Do I press charges against my step-son??? - Mothering Forums

Do I press charges against my step-son???

Jess's Mom's Avatar Jess's Mom (TS)
02:04 PM Liked: 0
#1 of 22
06-23-2009 | Posts: 239
Joined: Jun 2006
While I know this sounds harsh, my hope is that it would teach him a lesson that we have never been able to get him to understand. He recently got inti my closet and took some of my jewelry. I think he got rid of some of it. We contacted his J.O., but all they will do is talk to him if I don't press charges. We have had many problmes with him taking small amounts of money from family and friends. We have also susspected him formany other items, but were unable to verify. This will not be his first referal for theft, that was 2 years ago from the school. He seems to think we are the only people who condem this behavior and as every teenager, thinks he is untouchable, so I think standing in front of a judge may do him good. I was thinking of telling him he haS 24 HOURS to return everything or I will press charges. What do you think. Please be constructive, my intentions are to help him.
jenniferadurham's Avatar jenniferadurham
02:29 PM Liked: 19
#2 of 22
06-23-2009 | Posts: 3,052
Joined: Apr 2008
I completely agree with you Jess's Mom. I think you should give him a warning...ample time for him to get it back to you and then if he doesn't...press charges. IMO...I think it's parents that let this just fly by and do nothing about it are the kids that will grow up to be thieves and end up in jail. I've had many friends and family that this happened to bc their parents let them run around with no responsibilities.

Good for you for standing up for what you believe in!
homewithtwinsmama's Avatar homewithtwinsmama
02:57 PM Liked: 26
#3 of 22
06-23-2009 | Posts: 3,110
Joined: Jan 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess's Mom View Post
While I know this sounds harsh, my hope is that it would teach him a lesson that we have never been able to get him to understand. He recently got inti my closet and took some of my jewelry. I think he got rid of some of it. We contacted his J.O., but all they will do is talk to him if I don't press charges. We have had many problmes with him taking small amounts of money from family and friends. We have also susspected him formany other items, but were unable to verify. This will not be his first referal for theft, that was 2 years ago from the school. He seems to think we are the only people who condem this behavior and as every teenager, thinks he is untouchable, so I think standing in front of a judge may do him good. I was thinking of telling him he haS 24 HOURS to return everything or I will press charges. What do you think. Please be constructive, my intentions are to help him.
Sounds like a good plan to me, since this is a long running problem. Have you had him tested for drugs? Why else would he keep needing to steal money. If he is old enough to work, then he should be working for any money he needs whether for you or for an outside employer.
TinkerBelle's Avatar TinkerBelle
09:59 AM Liked: 656
#4 of 22
06-24-2009 | Posts: 3,282
Joined: Jun 2005
I think that juveniles are treated way too lenient.

So, IMHO, if they do the crime, they should face the consequences. That is not harsh, it is reality and it will teach him that he is not above the law.

Give him one warning. One. Then follow through if he doesn't produce your belongings and press charges.
1littlebit's Avatar 1littlebit
10:36 AM Liked: 10
#5 of 22
06-24-2009 | Posts: 3,775
Joined: May 2008
i have a very dear friend whose mother flat refuses to press charges when he does something illegal... and started out doing basically exactly what your describing. he now has this belief that he can do anything he wants without consequences. of course there is other stuff that reinforced that... but for the most part it is people refusing to press charges or pressing charges and then not following through. he would probably be way better off if someone had pressed charges and followed through before things got so bad... he needed to know his actions have consequences. he also takes advantage of the fact that he know his mother and stepfather won't press charges.. trust me that is not a situation you want to find yourself in.

i think warning him is totally fair... and then press charges if he doesn't respond.
Smalls181's Avatar Smalls181
11:08 AM Liked: 0
#6 of 22
06-24-2009 | Posts: 2,042
Joined: May 2006
He sounds a lot like my step brother. I am not sure when his stealing got out of hand, because I stopped going to my dads at around 16. But I do know that now he is an adult, 25, and has a huge drug and stealing problem. His RN license is suspended for stealing drugs from the hospital. He has been in jail for drugs and theft.

He was abused by my dad as a child, and my step mom just let it happen. She, of course, feels guilty now and realizes that is the root of his problems. So instead of allowing him to face the consequences, she bails him out. He has had a rough 4 years, and I think she is finally starting to realize the magnitude of his problems. Still, he keeps getting trouble, and she keeps bailing him out.

Facing the consequences is important, but so is getting to the root of the issue. Both need to be present in order for a person to change.
MeepyCat's Avatar MeepyCat
11:40 AM Liked: 5133
#7 of 22
06-24-2009 | Posts: 3,680
Joined: Oct 2006
I think you need to think very carefully about what's likely to happen if you press charges against your step-son.

Assume that the jewelry isn't returned. Is there evidence that he stole your jewelry? Could he be convicted beyond a reasonable doubt? Would your partner support you in pressing these charges? What about the rest of the family?

My concern here is, if you press charges, and your SS is *not* convicted - either because you were wrong about who did what, because there isn't sufficient legal evidence, or because the rest of the family gathers behind him and paints him as an angel child beset by a miserable step-mom, you're kind of up a creek there as far as demonstrating to him that there are consequences.

Second, I think you need to think about, if he is convicted, what are the consequences likely to be, and how do you and DSS's dad feel about those? While I see the desire to impose some consequence that gets through to the kid, a stint in juvie (for example) is likely to introduce him to a peer group with way more experience in crime than he has, causing him to see his own crimes as fairly minor, and giving him all sorts of useful knowledge about how to steal bigger and more consequential stuff (not to mention, entire other categories of crime he could get involved in).

Basically, I think that pressing charges against your step son is a nuclear option. Before you do it, you want to be very sure of all the consequences to you, to the child, to your marriage and family relationships. And don't do it at all unless you are sure the verdict will come back the way you think it will.
1littlebit's Avatar 1littlebit
11:45 AM Liked: 10
#8 of 22
06-24-2009 | Posts: 3,775
Joined: May 2008
: wow that is totally the situation of the kid i was talking about in my post.. except it was his mom not his step mom and he barely finished highschool let alone nursing school.. but the other stuff is pretty much the same.
1littlebit's Avatar 1littlebit
11:59 AM Liked: 10
#9 of 22
06-24-2009 | Posts: 3,775
Joined: May 2008
he won't get juvie for that. first time offender.. petty theft.. he might get probation.

and kiddie court has a different set up then adult court...i believe they have hearings.. or adjudications (as opposed to a trail) they are not found guilty they are found delinquent and i think its based on a preponderance of evidence as opposed to beyond a reasonable doubt... and they are not sentenced they have a disposition..

you file a petition.. and the whole point is to do what is in the best interest of the child.

of course there are flaws in the system but you and your dh would be there with your step son, your the one filing the petition, all of that will matter.. its family court after all.
MeepyCat's Avatar MeepyCat
12:09 PM Liked: 5133
#10 of 22
06-24-2009 | Posts: 3,680
Joined: Oct 2006
1littlebit, it sounds like the kid is already on probation - hence the J.O. mentioned in the original post? So I'm not sure that *more* probation would be offered, or that it would make any difference to him if it was, but this does not sound like a first offense.
1littlebit's Avatar 1littlebit
12:19 PM Liked: 10
#11 of 22
06-24-2009 | Posts: 3,775
Joined: May 2008
oh duh .. lol ...but ime w/e juveniles they get a ton of probation and community service.. it takes a lot to get to juvie.. but of course every judge is different.
Ann-Marita's Avatar Ann-Marita
02:12 PM Liked: 71
#12 of 22
06-24-2009 | Posts: 4,429
Joined: Sep 2003
Are you the one who has to file charges? Can your DP do it?
alllyssa's Avatar alllyssa
02:32 PM Liked: 12
#13 of 22
06-24-2009 | Posts: 560
Joined: Sep 2004
Quote:
My concern here is, if you press charges, and your SS is *not* convicted - either because you were wrong about who did what, because there isn't sufficient legal evidence, or because the rest of the family gathers behind him and paints him as an angel child beset by a miserable step-mom, you're kind of up a creek there as far as demonstrating to him that there are consequences.
In addition to the previous, if you press charges and he doesn't get convicted, then he ends up feeling even more empowered and above his family and the law.

Regardless of what you choose, I wouldn't have a child like this in my home. I'd either insist that his father visit w/him in a neutral location or if your DH isn't on the same page as you, I'd leave.

This sucks, I'm sorry.
VisionaryMom's Avatar VisionaryMom
03:37 AM Liked: 120
#14 of 22
06-26-2009 | Posts: 3,736
Joined: Feb 2007
My ILs did this with BIL. He was found guilty, but it had no impact on his future actions. I'm not saying not to do it, but it may not be the "magic bullet." (BIL did later straighten up, but it wasn't because of that situation.)
Jess's Mom's Avatar Jess's Mom (TS)
05:14 PM Liked: 0
#15 of 22
06-26-2009 | Posts: 239
Joined: Jun 2006
Well, no charges will be pressed. All the jewelry was returned and we decided that it wouldn't be able to be proven. He has just come of of probation for taking a knife to school (he was planning on using it for a fight.) As stated before, he needs help, the only thing I wanted out of this was help for him. His bio mom stole all of my jewelry I owned other than what I had with me on vac about 4 years ago and he knew that the situation upset me greatly. I felt violated and angry and I have been not feeling well physically this year, so, I think he is just trying to get at me. I also think he may truly be a klepto. In addition to my jewelry, he had a french manacure nail polish set and some of my dds fairy dust glitter stuff as well as his bio sisters game boy games that included Barbie that she had just asked him for about a week prior to me finding it. He needs some kind of help, because, he is going to keep doing this and he will do it to the wrong person or in the wrong place and it will be a big deal. We have tried to get him treatment, but have never had "Bad enough" issues that warrented immediate check in to a treatment program. IDK, I am at a losss, all I know is that he is 14 1/2, that doesn't give him much time to correct his behavior, expecially when everything he sees tells him, "no big deal!". His bio mom went on a 5 state crime spree, guns and all and only got 5 years + prbation out of it. That seems like a small price to pay for everything she got out of it, at least to him. She is out now and seems reformed (we have seen this before), but it all seems so okay to him.
1littlebit's Avatar 1littlebit
05:26 PM Liked: 10
#16 of 22
06-26-2009 | Posts: 3,775
Joined: May 2008
that is such a rough situation. it is good that whoever took your jewelry returned it though! the situation with his bio mom must be so hard on him (and you guys).
htcamommy's Avatar htcamommy
01:43 PM Liked: 0
#17 of 22
06-29-2009 | Posts: 329
Joined: Sep 2007
have your dp let him know that if this situation arrises again there will be no warning, no returning, no waiting, charges will be filed immediately. WE had a different situation ( sd hit me) in which we did not press charges and I regret that every day. It seemed to be a defining moment where she realized there were no consequences to her actions and has lived as such ever since.
khaoskat's Avatar khaoskat
03:40 PM Liked: 307
#18 of 22
06-29-2009 | Posts: 2,317
Joined: May 2006
Not sure what all has been tried....but 1) Try counseling to address his issues; 2) make sure you let his PO know that you believe he took jewelry from you and when confronted the items were returned.

If you tried the counseling, maybe you should look into a residential treatment program for offenders.

Also, it does really take a lot of "petty" crimes before going to long term juvenile detention. Most courts have a short term (3-20 days) program that they try first and even then it takes a lot.
stepparent's Avatar stepparent
06:59 AM Liked: 0
#19 of 22
03-19-2014 | Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2014

as a stepparent we can actually not file charger unless like your case the harm was done to you,ohio revised law #2111.01 it states natural parent or adopted parent.


sillysapling's Avatar sillysapling
09:13 PM Liked: 3038
#20 of 22
03-21-2014 | Posts: 809
Joined: Mar 2013

Definitely look into therapy. It doesn't sound like he's stealing solely for personal gain if he's stealing fairy glitter dust and because he was easily able to return the jewelry he hasn't been selling it. There are likely far deeper causes for this than with "normal" stealing. It sounds like he may have problems with violence as well (taking a knife to school, intending to fight with it), that's a very serious concern. There are places that can take care of children with mental problems that cause them to be violent/dangerous, if this is severe enough your husband may need to look into this as an option, it's definitely a last resort.


contactmaya's Avatar contactmaya
01:25 PM Liked: 2446
#21 of 22
03-22-2014 | Posts: 2,102
Joined: Feb 2006

My first thought is that therapy  would be a better route. Why is he stealing? Why does he feel no remorse? Why does he think its ok to steal from others? Get to the bottom of the feelings that are driving this behavior.

 

I would say that pressing charges is only going to damage his relationship with you, and could have ugly long term consequences. Also, once you press charges, it is out of your hands, and in the hands of the law. You cant go back from what i understand ( i could be wrong)

Not to mention, having such things on his record can never be in his interests.

 

I would try therapy first,  and then some more.  I still go by the motto

"Kids are trying to do the best they can." (i cant remember  which author said that...)

 

 

 

You could try consequences outside of using law enforcement- for eg, your jewellry is worth so much, so he has to do chores  to earn back that much.


contactmaya's Avatar contactmaya
01:27 PM Liked: 2446
#22 of 22
03-22-2014 | Posts: 2,102
Joined: Feb 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by stepparent View Post
 

as a stepparent we can actually not file charger unless like your case the harm was done to you,ohio revised law #2111.01 it states natural parent or adopted parent.

I dont understand this. Cant  any person file charges against anyone else? Whats the logic behind this?


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