I am sharing a very sad and not an unknown story, I am sharing this one because some have been through this terrible problem within their own family. I can relate to some of this. Thank you to Kara for allowing me to reprint her story….
I follow you and I feel a solidarity, I have kids who cause me trouble, too many people say that my kids are bad, that they should do more for me, I suppose they should but I can’t control them. I had cervical cancer, when I was diagnosed my world fell apart. I lost my job, because I was having too much time off work, then I couldn’t get another job, while I was going through all of this, I had to go on sickness benefits and that is when the problems with my kids started. We were struggling for money, with only one wage coming in and that was a parttime job my partner had. My son he was 16 and my girl was 17, they didn’t want to tighten the belt. They wanted to still live like I had a wage. I wanted them to get jobs, so they could pay for things themselves, like going out with their mates, but they didn’t. My kids, started to steal from my wallet. At first it was a small sum, $5 here and there. Then it became bigger amounts, I mean bigger. When I was in hospital for surgery, my partner with me, my son stole the bankcard, he went on a spending spree, he visited the city with his mates, shouted everyone lunch and a movie, bought himself new gear stayed late and did the same thing the next day and just spent money like nothing. $3000.00, gone in two days. That money was the rent, groceries, my tablets, Electricity, petrol and parking money. When we found out we hit the roof, he had no explanation for it, just that he was sick of having no money like his mates. We talked to family asking what to do, some said call the cops on him, some said make him work it off, or get a job and pay back the money. But that still left us broke and having to get a loan to make ends meet. We spoke to the counselor at school, who told us to go to the hospital to the mental health unit, they have an adolescent unit. They were good, they spoke to us and ….. spoke to (my son). She said that he was having trouble coping with the family situation, it was new, watching me being sick and the loss of his lifestyle. He had weekly appointments, because they were concerned for him and his coping abilities. Family and friends that knew, thought we were being soft, that (he) was getting off lightly. We didn’t know what to do so we stuck to the advice of the counselor. My son kept stealing money from our wallets and taking the card, it was like we were getting a new card every couple of months. He was buying lunch at school everyday he went and many days he didn’t go to school and was buying lunch all over the place, he was getting on trains and going all around. We would talk and talk it had no effect. The counselor told us he was troubled, he felt guilty that he had taken money and the effect that had on the family, so he stole more. I don’t understand it either. I just know that I was sick and wasn’t able to do a lot or spend enough times with my kids and my partner was struggling to keep our family together. We noticed that somethings had gone missing, and thought it was my son, that he had stolen or broke something. while we were arguing with him,things just got ugly, my daughter joined in, and it was one of those fights, where everyone is having a go and everyone else. Voices were raised and my son pushed his sister, then my daughter threw her bag at him. The contents of her bag fell, and there was a bag of ganja. I think everyone went quiet for a minute, but then it was on again. Everyone was yelling at her, why did she have it, was she smoking it or worse, was she selling it. She had been smoking it for a while it, someone had given her a joint and told her it would help her mum, me. Somebody gave my daughter drugs for me. She told us that she smoked it herself, one night after another argument over her brother taking money. It seems to be her way of coping. She had been taking things from home and selling them at cashies. Only small things, she said her friends told her, anything too big you have to prove you own it, but if it’s not, you can get a bit of money, enough to buy some ganja. I cried that night, I thought I was the worst mum in the world. What kids do that? I thought, my kids aren’t the sort of kids to do that, they are better than that, but I guess not. I wanted to teach my kids a lesson, I wanted to call the police on the both of them, not just because I was angry, but to stop them from having a life of drugs and theft that could lead to jail. I went to the counselor with my daughter and son. I cried and told that woman everything. The kids didn’t want me too, they said it was shame. I think they were more shame about themselves. I told her that its a low act to steal from your family, but when you clean out your family and when you have a mum with cancer having treatment, that takes a low dog to do that. The counselor talked to all of us, alone and as a group, asking each of us what we thought, how we felt. She told us that as a family we were faced with a difficult situation and that our coping mechanisms have been internal, self centered and destructive. Told the kids they were fortunate, that some parents would call the police, but we didn’t. The kids made a promise they wouldn’t do stealing or drugs again. I told them they had to get jobs and pay back all money and replace everything stolen. Things seemed to be okay for a while, I could concentrate on getting better, until my son stole our car, I had to call the police then, I thought, what if he has an accident, what if he kills someone, so I had to call the cops to stop him. He was found, but he doesn’t like me, and honestly I don’t like him at the moment. My partner handled all the legal matters with him, I was too sick, I think treatment and then stress made me worse than I was before. But it gave him a chance to see what the world is like without two parents who love him. He went into a juvenile facility, for a few months. I was immune compromised, so I couldn’t go near the place. He really learned that life is harder for others and that he should count his blessings. He was bashed for having two mums, he was bashed another time for stealing money from his sick mum. Strange kind of justice meted out in those places. All this I think scared my daughter enough to realise that maybe yoga is a better way to find calm. I don’t know how some parents do it. They have kids that take care of them, who do so much. I have heard of kids younger than mine, helping parents with disabilities or mental illness. But my kids didn’t do extra, they didn’t give more, they took more. I’m glad I am not alone in having kids with troubled hearts. I am not angry at my kids anymore, I am sad about them. One day I will forgive them for all this, but not yet, I am not a big enough person to do that.