18 y.o. Son Stealing From Family, Possible Addiction. Kick Him Out?
My 18 y.o. son has a history of alcohol and marijuana use. I've never been sure if it was recreational and what would be average for a teenager or if it was something more serious.
Over the past 2+ years he has sold all of his own things for money, the family wii system and lately some of his sister's electronic items. He has taken family member's medications, change out of change jars, lied, has gotten fired from 2 jobs for too many absences and is now not consistently at work like he should be at his current job.
He has a DUI and is getting through the legal process of fines and classes for that. He has no car but did keep his driver's license. We help him get to and from work or let him use one of our cars. He seems to have stopped hanging out with alot of friends he was regularly with. That just abruptly seemed to happen.
He's not showing much respect at all for household rules or basic things like cleaning up after himself. He makes some decent money at his job but it's always gone from paycheck to paycheck and he has absolutely no new possessions. He's not putting gas in a car or paying any expenses besides some classes he's had to take. He doesn't even go buy the clothes or shoes he needs. He has nothing.
The family therapist I've been seeing is telling me to give him the option of a 30 day drug treatment program or move out, NOW. If he doesn't have anywhere to go she says we drop him off at a homeless shelter right then or give him a list of the ones in the area and let him go figure it out. She thinks in this way he'll hit rock bottom.
Right now he does not admit to stealing anything. I have enough proof to believe he did. He says he does not have a drug problem or any problem at all and we're the ones causing him stress and making him unhappy. I doubt he will agree to the treatment program.
How do I send my son out to live in a homeless shelter or on the street??? I'm not sure he has anywhere to go. How will he get to his job
that he needs to pay for all of his legal stuff? I don't even have confirmation of a drug addiction or know what drug it is? I don't know how to do any of this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel sick to my stomach and just horrible.
Your family therapist is absolutely correct. Your son has to start being held accountable and forced to take responsibility for his life. And you do that by giving him the choice - professional help, or he's going to have to start fending for himself.
Kids don't just steal practically everything they can get their hands on for a recreational drug problem. Theft at that level is usually a sign of a serious drug addiction. And the fact that you're letting him do as he pleases, without having to contribute or help around the house means you're just further enabling the problem.
So it's time to get serious with your son. And you have to be firm, because that's ultimately the best way to help him. But do it from a place of love. Make it clear to your son that you love him and want the best for him - and that's why he's left you with not other option but to force him into making a decision ... professional treatment for his drug problem, or he's going to have to start taking care of himself.
Until your son learns the fact that he's entirely responsible for how his life turns out through the choices he makes, he's likely to continue down the path of self-destruction without any thought of the consequences.
That's why by making him realise that choosing to continue with his current lifestyle is going to come with some seriously unpleasant consequences, may make him re-evaluate the path he's chosen and take changing his life more seriously.
The sooner your son learns this lesson the better. Tough love isn't about wanting to hurt your son, but show him that his well-being is entirely in his hands. Because the key to a happy and successful life is taking TOTAL responsibility for where we are in our lives, and then making any changes we need to make if we're not happy with the way things stand. And teaching that is probably the biggest gift you can give anyone, including your son.
All the Best