How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Michael Your Own Question
Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Dr. Michael is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

how do I let go of my adult son who lies, steals and cheats

Customer Question

how do I let go of my adult son who lies, steals and cheats everyone. I am the only one left that even gives him the time of day. To have him change should I let him go and when he realizes that I am seriouse maybe he will change is deperate life and become a contributing member of scociety. My husband says it is up to me to save my son by letting himj go and having nothing to do with him while he continues to live this life he does. What do you say...
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 6 years ago.

Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue. But I have a few questions I hope you can answer.


How old is your son? Can you be more clear about what you mean about 'letting him go'?


Can you give me an example of how he takes advantage of your desire to help him, and how this never makes any difference?


Also, in the next week or month or so, can you share a prediction of something he might try to say or do to hook you into helping him in some way?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

My husband (his step father) say that he is no longer welcome at our home for no reason whatsoever until he can prove to us that he is an upstanding guy. He steals for drugs, he abuses ever attempt to help him. He is homeless and has been for the last 8 years more or less. I have provided him with places to stay, he wont meet his obligations to keep a job and pay for the things needed to surive. Starts off doing good but within weeks it the same ole thing. I have furnished him with 2 different cars, that he has sold for scrap metal and wrecked. In the past I have bought his cigs and provided him with a cell phone. I will be cutting the cell phone off today and when I told him, he said would you get me a phone card so I can use my prepaid phone. My husband said that I am the one holding my sons recovery back, that the longer I enable him the bigger chance that he won't ever get it. My husband has been too generous for mom's sake. He got him into a drug court program after he was caught with drugs. He stent 2 years in a faith based program and may I say he played his part wee. He convinced us all; he is a master manipulator, and con man. All love him until that time comes and he needs something more that a relationship that he steals from whoever he is around. He has jumped from person to person, home to home for years. If I let go, seeing I am the only one who takes the time to talk to him, then maybe he will understand that he needs to get his act together if he wants to continue a relationship with mw. I truly believe that UI will lose him if I quite being there for him. I have prepared myself for that day

He takes advantage of me by calling to say he need gas money to go to this job. I give it to him, only to find out there is no job. He will say well I really needed to take this job and make some money, when I would refuse to give him gas. This is gas money for someone else to take him, for he has no car. He will, guarantee call me this week needing gas money for another job. I have told him that I am done giving him my hard earned money, but then he call and I have in the past done it again. The boy is healthy and I am sure that there are people looking for him because he has wronged them. I hear bad things he's done all the time, I need to remove myself from his life, because it is hurting my relationships and consuming all my energy and time.

Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 6 years ago.
Yes, you do need to remove the kind of support you are giving him. You can offer limited support AFTER he shows progress or a positive step. That is, if he asks for gas money, you can tell him that he can pan handle to get some money if he wishes and that you may bring him some groceries once he finds a job and can prove he has held it for two weeks. Or you can tell him you will give him gas money on a gas card after he shows evidence that he has enrolled in another drug rehab program and can show you that he has produced two weeks of clean urine screens. See what I'm getting at here.

This approach is a good compromise because right now, you are probably just enabling his behavior by giving him resources BEFORE he does anything positive to improve his life. You don't want to literally disown him, so you can simply re-arrange your support so it is only provided AFTER he does something positive on his own to prove that he respects your support. What do you think?
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 6 years ago.
My customer roster shows that your question/post is now timed out. If you would like to follow up with another response to me, please feel free to do so in the response box, as you have done previously. If you do not wish to response, please press the green Accept button at the bottom of this post so I may receive credit for answering your question. Thanks.