Skip to comments.Advice and Prayers for troubled kid
Posted on 12/03/2011 9:14:34 PM PST by Last Conservative in MoCo
I'll be honest: I just signed up today with a new name because I'm too ashamed to use the one I've been using on FR since early 2001. I'm asking for advice and prayers.
I'm a single (unwillingly divorced) mother, on my own for many years. Firstborn is doing very well in life. Younger kid is 17. He has always been a good, sweet, affectionate boy. Average intelligence, but kind of held back by a learning disability. Basically a B/C student if he tries hard. His scoutmaster, who is a former Marine colonel, his JROTC commander, his employers, neighbors, other kids' parents, teachers, everybody thought he was great. The Scoutmaster and JROTC commander both thought he'd be a very fine young officer with real leadership potential. He was really no trouble. We have been a churchgoing family, so I thought I could trust him and that he had learned good ethics.
Partly because his dad left a long time ago, my son has always felt as though he had to be the man of the house so he was even more interested than most kids in weapons and the military. He planned to enlist in the army after he turns 18 next May, when he graduates from high school. It's all he cares about in life. He doesn't have huge talents at anything else a person could do for a living. The promise of being able to join the army has been the carrot that's been dangled in front of his nose to keep him on track toward high school graduation. There was nothing anyone could do to get him interested in college before the Army. No, he was going in the US Army and kick him some hadji butt! He lived for the day he could go fight for his country. Kept assuring me seriously that he'd never do anything to mess up his chance to join the service. Such a great kid--I was so proud of him, and all the medals and honors he won for his great ROTC performance.
Yesterday afternoon a pair of police detectives came to my house. They showed me security camera photos of my son and two of his 18-year-old friends as they were burglarizing some nearby construction trailers in the middle of the night. They did a lot of damage in the course of breaking in, as well as stupid vandalism, and they took some expensive electronic equipment. Some other stuff had been taken--low-cost things I had seen in his bedroom, which he told me he bought. There was absolutely no question he did it. On the nights these crimes took place he was supposed to be spending the night at his best buddy's house.
He was with his father then, so I called his father, who talked to the cops and agreed to bring him into the police station. The cops talked to all of us. Apparently this has been going on for a few months with several episodes. The other kids are in worse trouble because they're 18, but they're all dumb kids, immature and very boy-like for their ages. I hadn't realized his other friends were eighteen.
All the parents thought we were doing the right thing and supervising our kids carefully, raising them right, praying with them and for them, but we weren't; we got outsmarted and lied to.
Things are very tough for me and my ex-husband, and I have no spare savings at all for fancy lawyers. I am out of work and broke, and my home business is not making any money. This is going to wreck us.
The cops say that a good attitude, real contrition, and a commitment to make restitution are important. The damage these idiots did was extensive and may run into five figures so restitution is not going to be easy, especially for a kid who has a criminal record that will make getting a job very hard. Since our son is a minor, the company whose stuff these fools vandalized could sue us, the parents. But ideally, with the right judge, the record will be sealed by the time he turns 18 and no one would know about it. I hope so. A felony conviction is kind of the end of hope of having a decent job and a decent life.
I don't know about a military career now, though. Not sure if they military can or will ask about former crimes when he applies to enlist. That's assuming he even can graduate from high school now.
His father is calm and logical. I am a wreck, crying sometimes, filled with utter horror that a boy I thought was a good, dear person could have done something so deeply wrong, several times. Also trying to figure out how I could have been stupid enough to think the boys were just playing XBox games when they were together. (That's what they were doing whenever they were at my house.)
Oh, one more thing: my stupid kid sprayed a racial slur on the walls of the shack they broke into. So now maybe the state's attorney is going to consider this a hate crime.
I have NO intention of sheltering my son or being an enabler or protecting him from the consequences of his crime, but on the other hand I don't want his life wrecked forever by stupidity committed when he was 17. Is it possible to have punishment in balance?
So please don't beat up on me, I'm already suffering enough. If anyone has suggestions or can spare a prayer for us, please. We need all the help we can get. Thoughts and ideas are welcome.
Sounds like he’s got some bad influencers in his life. Just dang. It’s tough enough being a teen w/o having to follow along with thugs like that.
I pray that all will work out well for him (and all of you) and that this will be the wake up call that he needs.
For recruiting enlisted just 2 short years ago the Army was handing out “moral waivers” left and right —this covered exactly the type of behavior you cite your son has unfortunately having committed.
Recently recruiting goals are WAY easier to meet, and so moral waivers are much harder to come by (same thing for tatoos).
I can’t say they’re NEVER given, only that it’s now considerably harder to get theme.
Anyone else know?
PS —U seem like a really great person. I’m praying 4u. And him.
I have a 17 year old son also. I’ll definitely be saying a prayer for you.
I think kids domreally stupid things at this age.
At my son’s Christian school, 25 seniors just got suspended. One of them was house sitting at a neighbors, and she had a huge party. They caused thousands of dollars of damage. There was drugs and alchohol. One of them took a freshman girl who then had sex with one of the senior guys.
Then, they all posted about it with pictures on Facebook.
Il pray that everything turns out ok for your son.
Hang in there, Mom—you’re doing the best you can.
Pray—and I’ll be praying with you.
With his good upbringing, he will fall back on that someday.
Prayers for all of you. Kids will put you through the wringer won’t they?
I can only suggest what I would in your situation.
I’d take him to the poor side of town to show all the down and outs. Many of them also had various dreams and goals that went sideways because they were stupid in their youth.
It might help to walk the straight line, if he realizes that he could be one of them if he doesn’t smarten up.
Thats because YOU were supervising them. Whenever I hear about a supposed hanging out at a friends house I get nervous. There are only a very select few people that I trust to supervise my children.
Either way, whats done is whats done. You live and you learn.
Is your son genuinely remorseful or just remorseful because he got caught?
Upset, disillusioned, and bitterly disappointed? Sure. I don't blame you.
It was his choice, despite being taught better, and it sounds as if this was out of character.
His actions and behaviour will tell you how much, and all 'friend loyalty' aside, I pray he realizes that what he did was wrong.
Of course, you both have my prayers that he will learn from this without the lifelong destruction it can wreak on him, and will never repeat this sort of behaviour. And you have my prayers that God will help you handle the stress associated with the situation gracefully, as He wills.
Father, Pour your joyful peace into this womans heart at this moment. Let your goodness pass in front of her, allow full restoration of faith, hope and love fall over her, and her son like a divine covering. You promised that no one can be snatched from your hand, I ask in Jesus name that all Soul ties with this life be broken, that those ends be restored in purity and love in you in Jesus name. Thank you for doing that now. I ask for mercy for this young man and he is able to fully forgive the people that have hurt him in his life so that he can receive your forgiveness. Thank you for doing that in an amazing way, in Jesus name.
i have no answers but i will pray for you and your son... Prayers up
This breaks my heart. I understand what you are going through. I don’t know what to say and I am not the Padre, but I can say this: Jesus Lord our salvation, take hold of this child and lead him into the path you wish him to be on. I believe in my heart that he is a good kid.
Search his heart and lead him Father. Please. You said if we gather before you, You will answer. We stand on this. We see him as an officer in the military; Please let this be.
Again, I am not the Padre but I believe in you and I believe in this kid.
Make it so Father. And look over his mom if it is in Your will.
In Jesus name
If I was fairly punished for the stupidest things I did (and got away with, for the most part) in my younger years, I’d have been dead or in jail before I was 30.
There but by the grace of God...
There is still a good chance that he can get his record expunged. The military might still be an option. I pray that you can navigate these rapids and get to smooth water again. His life could still be turned around. Many have done far, far worse, and have gone on to grow up, mature, and become fine men.
I think most FReepers are honored that you chose the advice
of the real Americans that make up FreeRepublic.
That being said, there is no simple solution.
My only advice is that you seek out the very best Lawyer
that deals in juvenile crime.
Do not rely on a GP lawyer.
I once knew a lawyer, later became a judge, in west Tennessee that was so good, he could have walked Oswald.
Some of these lawyers have unbelievable success.
Not everyone learns things the same way. Sometimes they need to learn things through adversity because a gentler approach would have no effect with them - even though it might with another type of person.
I pray whatever he has to face gets him back on the right track and that he learns the lessons God is attempting to get him to learn at this point in his life.
Prayers that everything turns out OK.
Many of us have experienced similar distress, yet parents are essential in the lives of their children. The work of God and of parents is often done in difficult or near impossible conditions.
I was a scheming kid at that age. I just didn't get caught. Smoking dope, drinking, pulling weird heists and drag racing. One of my buddies had a cavalier that was set up to turn off certain lights on the car for such activities. We were nerds. There is no reason to lose faith in your son. I was even an Eagle Scout. If you see remorse in your sons eyes, he will be alright. This will be just a lesson learned about the way things work in a civilized society and what ever punishment he gets is an education. He is young and I am sure it will set in. Did you think about talking with the property owner to make amends and keep the cops/law out of it? Not pressing charges? Maybe the kid can work off the damage. That is what happened in my day.
I am glad that FR is coming together for a friend.
Seems lately we have been divided over trivial things.
May it all work out in Gods will
Praying for your son, and for wisdom for you and your ex.
OK,I normally don’t reply much in less I’ve got some experience. 1. You are lucky, I think, that the kid is under 18; very lucky. 2. Get the best attorney you can afford. Make your child understand that he will have to pay you back. Sounds like you are on the right path. You have my prayers.
Having raised boys nothing surprises me any more. If this is his first run in, and he convinces the judge with help from character refs it should blow over. If he has a car sell it. At least he’s not 18.
As someone mentioned the waivers are fewer, but if you get the ex marine scout master and the jrotc leaders (typically also retired service) to agree they can talk to the recruiter and help out. Used to be you got 3 pay grades for 4 years of jrotc if you enlisted. May be a negotiating tool also. The priors lespecially the jrotc guys likely already know the recruiters in the area well.
For the restitution he may want to volunteer to work off whatever he can’t return or pay. Again the men in his life might be willing to help talk with the victim to see if that is feasible. Let him know upfront it will help with his chances to enlist - besides it will be a prelim to basic hell have to work like a dog and remain contrite no matter what the victim says...5 basic responses 1) yes sir/ma’am 2) no sir/ma’am 3) aye aye sir/ma’am (I understand and will comply) 4) the correct answer to an inquiry or 5) I’ll find out sir/ma’am. Anything else will have his mouth getting him on trouble.
Most important he must start now fulfilling all his requirements for grad - if that means begging teachers or counselors to help him then that is what he needs to do the moral waiver doesn’t help him without the entry ticket. If he needs help to go the GED route there are many places to get assistance.
If he wants to wear the uniform he must step up and show he deserves the honor. If things don’t go well short term keep him heading toward the diploma/GED and have him stay in contact with the recruiter. Eventually the persistence will pay off.
Let us know how things turn out.
Ohh almost forgot Go Navy - Beat Army
You have my prayers. May God see you and your son through this, and make both of you stronger in your faith.
Have you talked to your son about this? I think you might need to get the video footage you were shown, and gather some other trusted family and friends, and show it to them and your son in joined company, asking your son to explain what he was thinking/doing. He has clearly made bad decisions, but he’s only 17.
Prayers up for your family.
I was just thinking the same thing. By all accounts, I was a pretty good kid, but I know that these days, I would have had a long police record the way they do things now.
Hopefully, there’s a FReeper who is able to privately help in that regard.
And don't beat yourself up about this either. The only perfect parent was God.
I've got a teenage son too. I understand what you're going through. You have my prayers, Last Conservative. Hang in there. God can work through ANY situation and turn it into good.
You need to talk to a good criminal attorney. It may take some time to pay off the bill but your son and ex-husband should certainly be the ones to pay it off. Your son may well get a deferred judgment and probation if he can stay out of trouble.
It should go without saying that your son should have no unsupervised contact with other teens and should have regular drug testing.
Just be thankful he was caught. It could have been much, much worse, if he kept getting away with it. I would be on my knees thanking God.
Kids are immature and make stupid choices especially with peer pressure—that is why they need parents. I wouldn’t trust him anymore. He breached your trust and doesn’t deserve it now. He will have to earn it again and it should take years—but it will happen, only if he learns that life is hard—never easy—and even good, great people get treated horribly during their life which is never fair. He should thank God for every joy, every crumb of food and never suffer the company of evil people. If he has God in his heart, it is easier to resist conformity to the sick pop culture that is feeding him 24/7 the immoral ideas which we never had in our youth.
I know many people who did something incredibly dumb at your son’s age and facing the consequences made them much better and stronger people. He can still be someone great and do great things. People overcome far worse things than what happened to him.
Keep telling him life is about making the hard choices...and it is never an easy thing. He has to MAKE his life great—but that only comes with hard work and knowledge and wisdom. He needs to study hard—study Plutarch, Cato, Cicero, and all Classical books and apply the knowledge to his life. He would be interested in Julius Caesar’s writings =many great military people studied him.
Our thoughts and prayers will be with you and your son. I can see why you’d hide your FReeper name, but even if I hated your guts for years on FR, I’d be praying for you on this.
If it were me, I’d let his father take the laboring oar on this matter. In other words, let the men handle it. You don’t have to do it all and as much as women like to think they’re just as good as men, there are some things men are just better at and get better results. And this is one of them.
And know, really KNOW, that God is in control. Every time you feel fearful, every time you find yourself sinking in despair, stop those thoughts and replace them with thoughts of trust in God. Fear not tomorrow, God is already there.
Keep on being the good mom, and trust me on this... believe me, one day this will be a distant memory, if you even remember it at all.
Been there, done that.
In other words, they want a full confession. Word of advice: do not ever write any "apology" letters to the police or to the courts.
God bless you. You’ve done everything right you’ve known to do in raising your kids, so this has to be all the more heartbreaking. But it could turn out to be the best thing that’s ever happened to him. If this was repeated over a period of time, the boys could have become bored with breaking into construction sites and gone onto bigger/badder activities. That’s been stopped in its tracks.
One of my older brothers and his friends got into trouble as teens, hauled off before the Justice of the Peace in the small town, and were read the riot act, As I’ve found out recently, the judge laid the guilt trip on them about how this had to hurt their mothers, etc. Bro never did another thing that could possibly cause mom heartburn. He went on to be NYPD. So ya never know.
The court in your son’s and his friends’ cases will take into consideration their backgrounds, and the ROTC/BSA leaders’ character witnessing will be helpful. Just so sorry you all are going thru this.
Does anyone lack wisdom? Let him ask of the Lord, who grants liberally to all who ask. Grace them with knowledge of where to go and to whom they should go, O Lord. Grant a calm that comes from the promise of Your Word ... “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Thank You, Merciful Lord, for Your promise of redemption and restoration. Take hold of this young man and set him upon the path that leads to a life lived for You. In the Name of Jesus, may it be so, Amen ...
Focus on the Family still has their call center if you need someone to chat with.
He was in during the vietnam era. My mother was prayering during every day he was away. He came back a real man.
He said he couldn't understand why he never had to be in an open field with a gun or any one to shoot at him. He also was never in the mainland. He was always on a ship or shore.
When he came back my mother told him she prayed her heart out for him. Her prayers were Number1 never to have to kill anyone and number 2 never to be killed by the enemy. 3 never to be in the mainland. He was always at the south china sea.
He was taught radio communication skills which led to working as an Executive for AT&T for thirty years. He retired with a great severance. He was also the deacon for the Church. Knights of Columbus. He had his car stolen and forgave the teenagers who took it.
I would advise you to keep hope alive. When you want to worry just pray and believe that good will happen. If you worry again go to the pray room again never let up in pray. Do it every day where you know the Lord in this matter. And do it again everyday. p> Philippians 4:6-7
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Keep the Faith!!
All that comes to mind is my Mother's action. I will be personally prayering for you.
He gave you good advice. The person who controls the legal fate of your son is the juvenile prosecutor. This is the person who your son must convince that he has a good attitude, he is contrite and that he will make restitution. You also got good advice here by the person who said deal with the victim directly and through the adults who know your son. It's a lot easier for the prosecutor to be lenient if he doesn't have a victim screaming at him for retribution. Your son is entitled to an attorney and sometimes an appointed attorney who deals with the prosecutor every day can get the best deal. Your son needs to impress his attorney also, this will be communicated to the prosecutor. I don't know about the jurisdiction you are in, but someone like your son who is known as a "good kid" can often get a diversion from prosecution. If he does, make sure he fulfills every condition, prosecutors don't like it when they feel they've been had.
I hope this incident has truly scared your son. If he was a little older, he would probably be in jail right now.
You are going through something that happens thousands of times every day. You and your son will get through it even though it seems terrible right now.
Good luck, I'll say a prayer for you and your son.
Freepers are awesome as usual. I just want to add a book recommendation that you might want to get and read with him. It helped with my oldest when he was having some difficulty making smart choices.
Best of luck with this. And don’t beat yourself up too much. My children are young but I already know that they are experts in outsmarting us oldsters! (And I don’t think I ever did anything jailworthy, but I certainly did a lot of things myself as a teen that I’m very glad I was never caught at! And of course would never do now.)
Much very good advice here. I would just add that teens are still not good at really thinking through possible consequences of their decisions. They are also bad at visualizing real consequences. If you can do so in a matter-of-fact way, rather than super-emotional, take him to a homeless shelter and let him see the people there — some there through no fault of their own, but many others there because they made bad decisions and ran with bad people. Does he want to be one of those people? Find out if a prison or jail near you has any kind of “scared straight” program, or gives tours or anything. Take him to one of those places. Is that really, really the sort of place he wants to spend years of his life? Surely not....
Best of luck, and keep the faith, things should get better now. Blessings on you and him.
People can take detours and end up OK. It is tough watching it and living it. We don’t know what good might be in our futures.
I will pray and hope this happens to you and yours.
Sorry to all about the double post, it’s getting late out here and I was plowing all day.
1) I managed to catch a 17-year-old thief breaking into a car, and stealing stuff he didn't need. In Juvie Court, he was remanded to his Grandfather, and nothing more was said of it. This happened in a big immigrant city, so I can't say with any assurance what will happen where you are.
2) I foresee a change if parents promised their 12-year-olds a $20,000 car upon reaching their state's age for driving. They would witnessfirsthandthe effects of Inflation on their dollar.
3) Second, every expense that comes unforeseen to those parents would be deducted from that $20,000 car!!!
The most important thing is to make sure he's not being charged as an adult. Most states will charge 17 year olds as adults. Get a good attorney who will fight for him. The prosecutor will want to go to court with all of them charged as adults to make his case stronger. Don't let that happen.
Talk to the cops to make them understand this was a one time stupid incident.
Talk to his recruiter (does he have one?). There's been more than one kid here who's had to have their recruiter get them out of jams. Make sure he is on your son's list of character witnesses. Seriously, a recruiter makes for a good “get out of jail” card. Years ago, a relative got in big time trouble and was facing prison but the judge told him either join the army or go to prison - he chose the army. So have your attorney work the scouting and JROTC angles.
Get the JROTC commander, scoutmaster and church pastor on the character witness list. If you can fill the courtroom with people who support him, the judge can't ignore them.
Don't let the police and prosecutor bully you. Here, they go out of their way to bully everyone. The minute they come out with any lie or twist the truth, nip it in the bud. Do NOT let them have an inch or they'll take a mile. Seen it happen far too many times with juveniles and innocent adults. I'm talking now, before the legal processes get underway.
When/if it does get to court, discuss with your attorney about not letting the prosecutor lump all the boys together into one trial. If the others are 18, that’ll give them an excuse to charge your son as an adult, too and they'll try to get the same sentence for all of them.
During your hearing, make sure your attorney doesn't let the prosecutor get off on some tangent or lie. If your attorney doesn't protest, the lie stands. I've seen that happen far too many times, too. Some attorneys don't think it's important so either you poke him in the back (sit yourself directly behind him) and if he won't speak up at least you can frown and shake your heads so the judge sees what you're doing without verbally interrupting his court.
Thank you, everyone. It’s wonderful to be able to “talk” to people like you, with your experience, wisdom, and sound values. So far I haven’t been able to tell any of my friends because they all have amazing children who are going to Stanford or Oxford or are singing opera professionally or winning a prize for medical research or just being lovely, happy, God-loving young people, while I’m just struggling to get my boy through high school. No one among my friends would understand.
And thank you, Admins, for permitting this thread to go through. I know we are supposed to honorably stick with one screenname and in my opening sentences I admitted that this screenname is a new one just made up for this purpose.
My son is probably going to be charged on Tuesday. Which means I have Monday to find a juvenile defense lawyer and get his opinion. My son wants to go to the place he burglarized and personally apologize to the man he hurt and offended. He has already given the cops back the stolen items he had in his possession. He has admitted everything. We told him to tell the truth.
The detective also said that Child Protective Services would come to our house to inspect it and make sure my son was not being abused. You can all imagine how much I dread this.
I just wish to God that somehow the kid could go into the military. Truly, I don’t think he’d need straightening once he got there, as it would be his dream come true. Wish my son could have that option. (Of course he did have the option; he just blew it. I mean, I wish I could have the option to get his act straightened out now when he really needs it.)
This is so stupid. These guys were dressing up in camos and chasing each other around in the woods on “missions,” playing Soldiers and Terrorists as if they were eight years old. They were like little kids, shooting each other with paintballs and saying “Dude, you’re dead!” And then one thing led to another, to another, to another. Then it wasn’t a kid’s game anymore; it’s a serious crime.
Those of you who note that there is a seed of good in even great trials are right. Everyone’s favorite scripture verse is Romans 8:28: “All things work for good for those who are called according to His purpose.”
God help us.