I am very worried, and I don’t know how to face or resolve this situation. I have a thirteen-year-old son, and a few days ago he stole a credit card from my husband’s niece to order parts for a skateboard on the Internet. He has lied to us about it from the start, swearing that he would never do such a foolish thing. He said we could call the police, for there was nothing to fear. Our niece did call the police and, much to my surprise, my son has turned into a delinquent! What he ordered cost a lot of money. Now I can’t even trust my own son.

Dear Friend,

You say you don’t know what to do, but you end your story by saying exactly what you need to do: Do not trust your own son.

When one of our sons was a young teenager, he stole a cell phone and a gun. It was a horrible experience! We had to stand with him in front of the judge. Looking back, I know what I did wrong. As a mother, I trusted him too much. When the evidence was stacked against him, I still desperately wanted to believe him. I wanted to believe that he was telling us the truth. I wanted to believe that he would never do many of the things that I later found out that he did, in fact, do.

Always believing in someone, even when the facts tell a different story, is like loving blindly. It is the kind of love that keeps us from seeing the truth and causes us to react based upon our emotions rather than good sense. Now that your son has betrayed you and you have proof, you must accept the hard truth that you cannot trust him or believe what he says.

Do not try to shield him from whatever criminal action is coming as a result of his theft. And do not sacrifice your funds to get him an attorney. If you protect him from the natural consequences of his action, then he will not learn any lesson for his future.

Make it clear to your son that, though you love him very much, he will need to earn your future trust. He has lost the right to be believed or trusted. He has lost the right to go out with his friends without adult supervision. And he has lost the right to have unmonitored computer access. All of these rights will need to be earned back over the next several years. Remind him that you love him enough to do what is in his best interest, even though he is not mature enough to understand.

Wise Solomon said, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.”(1) At this point in your family, my best advice is that you deepen your personal relationship with God and trust Him to give you the wisdom and strength that you are going to need to face and resolve your situation.

We wish you well,

1 Ps 118:8