My son's latest episode

Last night at 730 pm eastern time, my son left the house without permission. We reported him missing at 11 . At 3 am the police called. He was located with 3 other people while fleeing from the walmart parking lot with items shoplifted from the same store. We won’t know how deep his involvement was until the police view security tapes. I am trying not to let this distract me from my job, ironically at a public jail. I work in a different state, also he is a minor, so at least he won’t be placed in my facility. I am at a loss for words. My wife has great fear, which she takes out as rage at me… I’ll pray, and hope you do, but I don’t know what else to think, feel, say, or do about this.


Counseling for your son, for the family, seems to be very much needed.


been there, doing that, not helping my son it appears

Can you live in the same city as your son?

My son is a minor, so he still lives with me.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Oh sorry. That bit of you working in another state threw me off! I get it now. Hmmmm, you have to come down hard on him and any freedoms or perks he has living with you.

I apologize. I live five minutes from where I work, and the state line, a river, is exactly halfway between the two,

I’m so sorry.
I’ll remember you in my prayers at this difficult time.

Is this behavior new? Or has it been building for a long time?

I’m so sorry your family is going through this.
My son spent a week in juvenile detention as a young teen, and it helped him make better choices. It’s not the end of the world, though it seems like it.
What you probably feel is disappointment, because I’m sure you raised him better than this.
What you might say is, son, you made some bad choices and there may be severe consequences. We love you and want to help you get through this, but can’t condone what you did. Do you want to talk about how you chose to do this?
He may not want to talk about it, but listening to him if he does would be a good idea.
Maybe he will have to make restitution, or spend some time in detention. You should talk to an attorney.
Praying for your son and your family.


If you never properly disciplined your child, or your wife, like mine, was on a different page, what I’'m going to tell you will be very hard to accept and do, but you must.

First you must have a goals.
Goal one - He survives adolescence to become a man.
Goal two - He becomes independent.

Next you must understand HE thinks he is a MAN and in charge of his life now. That’s okay, except when his fantasy begins to go against the four walls of your life, marriage, home and family.

I’ll explain differently: He can be any fantasy life he wants, he just can’t do it inside the four walls of your life.

If he refuses listen and/or follow the rules of your life/home he has to move out.

You explain and do this with the with kindness, respect and understanding for the life he THINKS he wants but you remain firm in your life.

He will most likely become obstinate and aggressive and threaten with the only thing he has… “screw you and your rules I’m out of here” or some other variant.

You and your wife remain QUIET and let him go! He most likely won’t, but if he does let him go! (You did not throw him out, he left.)

Next, you stop giving everything! No MONEY, food, phone* or shelter.
(*) Tell him his phone will be shut off in one week. (It’s reasonable not to have your money supporting illegal activities.)

Now the hard part: When you see/hear from him, let him only see happy parents who are happy for him.

PS, Be sure your wife is on the same page beforehand.

@Mike1w I am so very sorry that this heartbreak is tearing your family apart. Please talk with your priest and continue family counseling, perhaps even seeking a different counselor. Your son’s belligerence may fade and his bravado may falter if he’s in the system longer than overnight, as Viki suggested.

Perhaps grandparents, a scout leader, coach, or law enforcement contact through your work whom your son respects might be prevailed upon to intervene when he returns home? I’m thinking that your wife is in need of some TLC, too? You two must pull together.

I will continue to pray for your family. You might post a prayer request in our Prayer Intentions Forum, also. Know that many readers here have had similar experiences, as we can never guarantee the behavior of our children. Have faith, and trust in God. Best wishes to all of you.

Even though he is a minor, he is about to make us grandparents. Perhaps his son, and yes it’s been verified through ultrasound, will make him straighten out. But he is already too old and too big to listen to me. I can tell him what to do, but I can’t make him listen. I can impose consequences, but if he is okay with them, he still won’t do what he is told. I shouldn’t be surprised that he chooses consequences rather than obedience. I was a teenager myself at one time.

I’m sorry to hear that.

In our area, there are a bunch of kids who have been breaking and entering into vehicles. Several people had guns in their vehicles, and stole them. Many of these kids have been caught on camera, so they’ve been arresting them and sending them off to do some time in juvie.

The last batch was a group of three who had been to one kid’s house for a sleepover, but snuck out without the parents’ knowledge, broke into 10-15 vehicles, and stole at least one firearm. One of them had just turned 14.

The kids are crying and terrified, of course… but off to juvie with them for a week or two, because you can’t treat one batch of kids any differently (ie, let them stay home with an ankle-monitor) than another batch of kids doing the same thing.

Hopefully, it makes an impact in a way that a warning wouldn’t have.

I hope that your son grows from the experience as well, and turns it into a positive growth moment.


Paternity cannot be verified by ultrasound.

not paternity, the gender was verified through ultrasound. No one has challenged paternity, so no such test has been performed.

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Maybe making excuses is where the problem started?

I’m not making any excuses. If my son is, that’s his problem.

You’re trying not to let it distract you from your job? Family first, dude! If he’s a minor, I high suggest wearing out the resources in the area. You may have to be willing to send him somewhere and you probably are going to have to do a lot of work yourself. Usually, these kind of cases aren’t just the troubled kid, but a problem with the way the family functions. It is unlikely that your son will be incarcerated for shoplifting from Walmart, particularly if its the first time.


Hi Mike,

I’m very sorry for your situation.It seems like you have a lot on your plate currently with your son/family dynamics and also with your wife having an illness.

How is your relationship with your son generally apart from when taking a discipline role?
Eg:does your son feel he can talk to you about things and do you do things together or is it always in the context of drama or discipline?

IMO It’s important to find out if your sons behaviour issues are simply due to decisions/choices or the alternative option is it because he is in pain of some kind due to family and or life circumstances.
What is his home environment like?
Is he still at school or if not how was his school environment such as any bullying etc or was he happy and had friends…

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