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by Abigail Van Buren

Wife Fed Up With Cousin's Invasion of Family Privacy

DEAR ABBY: My 20-year-old son, "Warren," has been stealing from me. He has taken money and my ATM card from my wallet and pawned more than $5,000 worth of my jewelry. Warren started a job recently, but he spends his pay within days.

I know I should kick him out or have him arrested, but as a mother, I keep hoping he'll change. Also, I don't want my son to have a record.

I don't think Warren is on drugs because he recently passed a drug test at work. I doubt therapy will work because he seems to have no remorse. I didn't raise my son this way, Abby. He's my child and I hate to lose him. What should I do? -- DISTRAUGHT MOTHER

DEAR DISTRAUGHT: Unless your son is forced to face the consequences of his bad behavior, he is unlikely to change. By ignoring the thefts, you have enabled him to continue. I urge you to put a stop to it. Insist that he get therapy immediately, or he's out of your house. Without help, he will continue to steal from you and from others -- and it's only a matter of time until he winds up in prison, or worse.