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Preteens and Teens > Wwyd?
runnerbrit's Avatar runnerbrit 05:46 PM 11-18-2009
This post is for a friend. All thoughts are appreciated.

Their 17 yr old ds has a history of lying, stealing (from them and others), taking the car. He will be 18 in 3 months. They just found out that he took his friend's atm card and stole over $1000.

WWYD?

ms.shell's Avatar ms.shell 06:09 PM 11-18-2009
i would be horrified and scared for him and sad. and probably a lot of other things, too.
but what would i DO? i imagine there would be natural consequences that he would have to deal with, jail or probation or payback at least. so i probably wouldnt do anything, other than talk to him. are the friends considering taking care of it by paying the friend back? just wondering what you could mean by wwyd...
runnerbrit's Avatar runnerbrit 06:20 PM 11-18-2009
There are 2 immediate paths.

1. Natural Consequences - Allow the friends parents to press charges (if the choose). In CA this means that if the jdge finds him guilty he will face 6 months in the CA Youth Authority. Additionally, because it is considered a felony it will stay on his record. If he was younger the juvenile record would seal. But, according to an atty they consulted this would remain on his permenant record.

2. Speak with the friend's parents. Offer to pay back the money; in exchange they do not file charges.

Depending on which of these 2 things you would chose from, what would you do from there? Take the drivers license? Ground him? Have a conversation with him? (All of these things have happened in the past and not changed the behaviour) Try and get him in a residential program for troubled teens?

The family is at a loss. They are sad, angry, and scared. I was asked what I would do and thought I would turn to you wise parents as my oldest is only 10...
BedHead 06:31 PM 11-18-2009
If that was my kid I would make them pay the money back, and also not shield him from any other consequences such as charges from the other party. He would also lose all my trust until he earned it back. I would also have a very serious talk with him and try to get to the bottom of why he's doing these things, and look into some kind of intervention (counseling, group therapy, whatever) to see if I thought it would help.
CarrieMF's Avatar CarrieMF 07:58 PM 11-18-2009
IMO natural consequences are what should happen. option #2 is bailing him out & will lead to it keep happening with his expectation that his parents will bail him out each time.

Now if the friends parents chose to not file charges the son needs to pay back the $(not his parents). There will need to be further consequences for it too at home. Grounding, having a conversation & taking his drivers liscence away are not equal consequences for doing what he did. At the very least I'd have him in therapy & doing community service for until he turns 18/continues to live in the parents house after he turns 18.
Linda on the move's Avatar Linda on the move 08:04 PM 11-18-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by BedHead View Post
look into some kind of intervention (counseling, group therapy, whatever) to see if I thought it would help.
yeah, what have they already done about his past misdeeds? Although he is now taking it to a new level, this isn't really new behavoir. I'd want to figure out the *why* of the behavoir in hopes of resolving it.

I would require he pay back the money and I wouldn't shield him from the natural consequences, but I would feel very sad.
enkmom's Avatar enkmom 09:46 PM 11-18-2009
Hang me from the highest tree, but I would try to shield him if I could from a felony conviction. He could still change, and a felony conviction will follow him the rest of his life. Also, how can he get a job to pay restitution? Not many places will hire felons.

I would pay the money back myself so they had it quickly, then I would require my child to get a job and pay me back. I would also have him into therapy/counseling and community service.
AAK's Avatar AAK 01:34 AM 11-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by enkmom View Post
Hang me from the highest tree, but I would try to shield him if I could from a felony conviction. He could still change, and a felony conviction will follow him the rest of his life. Also, how can he get a job to pay restitution? Not many places will hire felons.

I would pay the money back myself so they had it quickly, then I would require my child to get a job and pay me back. I would also have him into therapy/counseling and community service.
Me too, only because felony being perm. on his record. I would make sure he agreed to the therapy, etc. first. However, if he was refusing to go to therapy, get a job, etc. I would let the charges be filed.

Amy
bestjob's Avatar bestjob 02:00 AM 11-19-2009
I'd to what it takes to keep him out of jail. It's no place for a human being and it won't make him a better person. He might be raped, he might be exposed to worse criminals, and he might come out with worse problems than he went in with.

What else would I do? I don't know exactly, but here are a few ideas. Try to keep him safe, try to understand what he's done and why. Try to help him understand what jail is like so that he sees why he can't do things like steal from friends. Try to get him the help he needs to understand that it's not just being incarcerated that makes it wrong.

I guess I'd try to figure out why he thought stealing the money was going to work out well.
purslaine's Avatar purslaine 07:07 AM 11-19-2009
He is almost 18. He should borrow the money from his parents (or sell stuff - does he have anything ot sell?) and then he should talk to the friend and the friends parents. He might want to have an outline for the friends/and his friends parents about what he is doing so this never happens again - that might make a difference and it might not.

After that it is out of his hands. It is up to his friend and his friends parents as to whether to press charges.
Oriole's Avatar Oriole 10:58 AM 11-19-2009
I don't know. On one hand, I can hardly imagine jail as a good place to be, on another hand, he needs a serious wake up call.

In our community, about a month ago, four teenagers (17 & 18) broke into a house, and used a knife and a machete to kill a mother and tired to kill her daughter (10 y.o.). The girl miraculously survived. Her dad was on a business trip, and came home to a slaughtered wife and his child in intensive care at a major hospital.

Why did they do it? No reason. They just wanted to rob a house, picked a random one set a bit off to the side, and agreed on killing everyone inside.
The "kids" have been bailed out several times by their parents when they were arrested for this or that "minor" thing (drugs, threatening some kids on the road - following their car too closely, etc.). One can only imagine the heartbreak on the part of every single family involved.

Stealing 1K from a friend does not compare to killing someone, by any means. However, some sort of serious consequence for it is definitely in order, imho. I don't know what I would do, but if I didn't have the power to handle the things on my own (inforce therapy, no car, a have-to job, etc.), I would consider allowing natural consequences to take course. His behaviour is getting progressively worse. SOMETHING has to shake him up before he earns himself a decade in jail for serious fraud.
~ Wonderful Life ~'s Avatar ~ Wonderful Life ~ 11:34 AM 11-23-2009
It may be time for him to face some serious concequences while he is still a minor and not an adult.
mommyinIL1976's Avatar mommyinIL1976 10:25 PM 11-23-2009
Assuming the parents have tried other options with his previous misdeeds, he needs to face consequences which may or may not include jail. Further protection does him nor society any favors. If he is continually bailed out, it just makes for more victims in the community of friends/neighbors around him. If other interventions have not worked, jail may. It worked for my brother...three days in jail and he hasn't been back since (13 years ago).
runnerbrit's Avatar runnerbrit 11:09 PM 11-27-2009
Update - Thank you for all of your responses. The parents decided to go with route number 2. They paid off the amount their son stole so that his friend's parents would not press charges. They are requiring him to do 200 hours of community service to work off the money. He also had to turn in his license to the DMV. They are seeing a counselor once a week. At this point, I think they are just trying to get him through to graduation...
lab's Avatar lab 10:38 PM 12-02-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by enkmom View Post
Hang me from the highest tree, but I would try to shield him if I could from a felony conviction. He could still change, and a felony conviction will follow him the rest of his life. Also, how can he get a job to pay restitution? Not many places will hire felons.

I would pay the money back myself so they had it quickly, then I would require my child to get a job and pay me back. I would also have him into therapy/counseling and community service.
This. Also, because this kid didn't get to this point by himself.

He clearly has had some hills and valleys in his life to be doing these types of things. And I bet those hills and valley were caused by the adults in his life.
VisionaryMom's Avatar VisionaryMom 12:03 AM 12-03-2009
This response comes only from my BIL's experience, but it's probably what I would do.

BIL did the same stuff - petty thefts, etc. - until he was charged with a felony theft at 17. My ILs hired a lawyer, and he worked out a deal that made him pay back the money and not get a felony record. He did no jail time. It didn't work, and he got in trouble off and on until he was ~28. He finally went to jail for a year. He's been out for about 18 months now, and he's doing better than ever.

He said that jail really helped him to see what he was doing with his life. He has a job, and his life really seems stable. He's re-connected with his ex and is building a relationship with his son, has a place to live, etc. We all were on vacation together this summer, and he actually told me jail was the best thing to happen to him.

My ILs, for their part, say that they think now they made a mistake in trying to shield him and really wish they hadn't worked so hard to make things turn out better for him. At the same time, I understand why they did. I certainly would never want to see my children go to jail or have a felony record, but it sometimes is the only thing that will serve as a wake-up call.
aniT's Avatar aniT 02:05 AM 12-04-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by runnerbrit View Post
There are 2 immediate paths.

1. Natural Consequences - Allow the friends parents to press charges (if the choose). In CA this means that if the jdge finds him guilty he will face 6 months in the CA Youth Authority. Additionally, because it is considered a felony it will stay on his record. If he was younger the juvenile record would seal. But, according to an atty they consulted this would remain on his permenant record.

2. Speak with the friend's parents. Offer to pay back the money; in exchange they do not file charges.

Depending on which of these 2 things you would chose from, what would you do from there? Take the drivers license? Ground him? Have a conversation with him? (All of these things have happened in the past and not changed the behaviour) Try and get him in a residential program for troubled teens?

The family is at a loss. They are sad, angry, and scared. I was asked what I would do and thought I would turn to you wise parents as my oldest is only 10...
I haven't read the rest of the posts, however I would go for option number 1.

My cousin is a 40 year old deadbeat who continues to steal from his mother. She is in her 60's and can't retire becuase he has taken all her money. He takes off drunk driving and wrecks her car.. he badgers her in her sleep over and over give me money give me money until in a desperate attempt to get sleep before work she give him her ATM card.. when he then proceeds to drain her account.

I think there is one more option.. I know they used to do this in the 70's.. I don't know if they do it so much anymore... but sometimes judges will drop the charges if the person joins the military. It might be something to look into and it "might" straighten him out.. but come to think of it.. it didn't straighten out my "father."

I would in no way to however try to smooth things over with the other family. He needs to learn to take consequences for his actions and if his parents continue to bail him out.. they very well might be doing this for the rest of his life.
RiverSky's Avatar RiverSky 02:44 AM 12-04-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by runnerbrit View Post
Update - Thank you for all of your responses. The parents decided to go with route number 2. They paid off the amount their son stole so that his friend's parents would not press charges. They are requiring him to do 200 hours of community service to work off the money. He also had to turn in his license to the DMV. They are seeing a counselor once a week. At this point, I think they are just trying to get him through to graduation...
I think that this is a very reasonable route to take, BUT I think they need family therapy, as well as individual therapy, both once per week. Does the son show remorse?

I would wonder why he stole the money and I would probably assume that it was to buy drugs and/or alcohol, and I would investigate getting him into treatment for that, too.
mtiger's Avatar mtiger 03:48 PM 12-04-2009
So... This young man has a history of lying and stealing - from his parents and others. I guess his parents bailed him out of those situations, and he didn't learn. Now they've bailed him out of this one - why do they think he'll learn this time?

Their friends are fools - they should have pressed charges.
bronxmom's Avatar bronxmom 01:48 PM 12-07-2009
Not sure everyone is aware, but CA is a "3 strikes, you're out" state. That means that if you have 3 felony offenses no matter how minor or non-violent, you are sent to prison for life. A man got sent to prison for life for stealing a pack of diapers there. Giving their son one strike in that system, not to mention what jail does to people, is not the way to go. I think they took the right course as far as pressing charges/jail goes.

By the way, jail is only a "natural consequence" in that parents don't set it up themselves. It's still a punitive/unnatural consequence set up by our system. It's not aimed at rehabilitation, treatment or prevention - but at demonization and humiliation/punishment. Some people come out of it a better person - those lucky few who are strong enough and persistent enough and discover god or politics. But the vast majority of people who enter it are made worse and are destroyed by the experience. It will not "talk sense in to this kid".

The bigger questions are not being asked. Why is he stealing that kind of money? What is he using it for? How did he get to this place? And what can be done to help him out of it? Now that the parents have bought themselves some time they need to be figuring those questions out. Not sure if that's there mindset given that they are "just trying to get through to graduation". 17 1/2 is still very young and people have a lot of time to make themselves who they want to be; the parents should try to play a role in helping that process.
aniT's Avatar aniT 03:29 PM 12-07-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by bronxmom View Post
Not sure everyone is aware, but CA is a "3 strikes, you're out" state. That means that if you have 3 felony offenses no matter how minor or non-violent, you are sent to prison for life. A man got sent to prison for life for stealing a pack of diapers there. Giving their son one strike in that system, not to mention what jail does to people, is not the way to go. I think they took the right course as far as pressing charges/jail goes.

By the way, jail is only a "natural consequence" in that parents don't set it up themselves. It's still a punitive/unnatural consequence set up by our system. It's not aimed at rehabilitation, treatment or prevention - but at demonization and humiliation/punishment. Some people come out of it a better person - those lucky few who are strong enough and persistent enough and discover god or politics. But the vast majority of people who enter it are made worse and are destroyed by the experience. It will not "talk sense in to this kid".

The bigger questions are not being asked. Why is he stealing that kind of money? What is he using it for? How did he get to this place? And what can be done to help him out of it? Now that the parents have bought themselves some time they need to be figuring those questions out. Not sure if that's there mindset given that they are "just trying to get through to graduation". 17 1/2 is still very young and people have a lot of time to make themselves who they want to be; the parents should try to play a role in helping that process.
I disagree with this statement. You can become a better person without discovering "god."
runnerbrit's Avatar runnerbrit 03:42 PM 12-09-2009
Update 2 - Thank you again for all of your replies. They are definitly food for thought.

Therapy - He is in individual therapy and family therapy. He does suffer from depression and is being activly treated for it.

Why He Stole the Money - He did not use the money for drugs or alcohol he used it for clothes and food.

Remorse - He shows 'surface remorse'. The therapist believes the lack of remorse is linked to several things including his best friend shot and killed by the best friend's mom when he was 8. Since that time the boy has really struggled.

Military - He will be 18 in February. He has discussed getting his GED at that time and joining the Air Force. If he chooses that route his parents have decided to support him in that choice.

Community Service - He has been performing community service 3 days a week 3 hours a day since the incident occured. He is helping special needs children with therapy through horse back riding.

I think the struggle from the parent's perspective is that he is a young man with a huge heart. He would give the shirt off his back to someone who needed it. They know he is on a self destructive path and are doing what they can to help him get things together before there are truly long term implications.

They did explore the idea of letting him go through the legal system but after speaking with a juvenile defense attorney who said that he would NEVER let his own child go through the system we have here they decided to work with the other family.


Sorry for tpos and spellin errors, baby on the lap.
aniT's Avatar aniT 03:50 PM 12-09-2009
Have him check with a recruiter before getting his GED. My brother just joined the National Guard and he was going to get it first but they did not want him too.. they wanted to send him to their new million dollar school they built so he can get it there. Brother is 30 though.

The neighbor kid is 17/18ish. His aunt told me that the Army recruiter told them they prefer you get a real HS diploma first becuase they think of people with GED's as quitters.

There are just two peoples stories.. check with your local recruiter to see what they have to say.
katheek77's Avatar katheek77 11:39 PM 12-09-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by runnerbrit View Post
Military - He will be 18 in February. He has discussed getting his GED at that time and joining the Air Force. If he chooses that route his parents have decided to support him in that choice.

.
FYI, the Air Force has stringent rules for allowing people with GEDs to join. He has to score a 65 or above on the ASVAB, and will have to wait for a slot to open up.

Also, depending on the actual diagnosis for his "depression", he may be automatically DQ'd, qualify for a waiver, or not have that factor in at all. His best bet is to talk to a recruiter to find out some of these answers.
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