Our youngest came to live with us when she was four and a half years old. Many of you know that story, about how our little family unit came to be. She’d had a rough go of it, for those first four years. Within the first few days that she lived with us, we took her over to a friend’s house. We were very close with these friends and wanted to share Gen with them, and vice-versa. We weren’t there but half an hour, or so. As we were pulling out, my friend called my cell to tell me she’d seen Gen with an orange golf ball in her pocket. “I’m pretty sure she stole it from my husband’s set, but honestly I don’t know how or when. Just a heads up, you might have a little stealer on your hands.”
She had not come to my friend’s in possession of a golf ball. We waited til we were home to gently broach the topic. Gen was adamant that it was her golf ball, she’d gotten it as a present when she was two from so & so. The story came so honestly, so naturally that had we not be the ones to sort through the very few belongings she’d come with, we might have believed her.
When she was little, she stole a lot. She stole everything from gum, to candy, to food, to stickers, to socks, to receipts. If she wanted it, she believed she deserved to have it. If she was confronted, a lie so believable flowed from her lips and when consequences came, she was so broken that we didn’t believe her and she wasn’t a thief.
The longer this went on, the more defeating it became. All of the well-meaning people who were reassuring us this was kid’s stuff and she’d grow out of it, stopped saying much of anything. We taught and taught and taught her through various degrees, that stealing was WRONG, that lying was WRONG. We were doing everything right, in that regard. She honestly just never cared if it was right or wrong, or if anyone got hurt.
My point here is sometimes things happen. Kids become adults who make their own choices. Sometimes, like with that little girl, they will blame whoever they please, anything to not own the responsibility. But please, when this happens to someone you know, don’t blame the parents for the child/adult child’s choices. Their journey may have been wrought with hell, and defeat and hopelessness may be the hats they wear more than any other. A little love can go a long way…