A few months ago, Kurt stayed for the weekend at Worie's Place, an intergenerational respite operated by long-time friends. Kurt loves to be there with the couple and their three kids, plus the other special needs people he has become friends with.
Shortly after he got home, I noticed he was listening to music on an unfamiliar CD player. After a little investigation, I found out he had taken it from Worie's Place.
Taken, pinched, pilfered, lifted. No matter what words I use, it all comes down to the fact that he stole it. And to my dismay, this behavior has been happening for years.
Not only at Worie's Place, but at home too. He sneaks into brother Kelly's room and takes DVDs or the earbuds he prizes. Or he takes post-it notes from my desk without asking. Or he finds objects of interest on his dad's dresser, to be found later in Kurt's room.
At first, these seemed minor. But the behavior continues and we realize that Kurt can not move to Community Homestead until he can be trusted to leave other people's things alone.
We've talked to him, yelled, explained over and over that stealing is wrong, yet he continues.
Jon, the behavioral consultant we work with said to call the police. I am to ask that the youth officer speak with Kurt in our home, explaining to Kurt that he is doing something illegal and could go to jail.
The plan sounds harsh, but sometimes we must be very blunt in our message to Kurt, in order for him to learn. Yet I haven't made the call. Telling Jon about this problem was the first time I told anyone outside our family. I'm protecting Kurt. I'm protecting myself.
Jon explained that if Kurt steals something in a store, the police will be called and then it will be too late to protect him. The matter will be in the hands of the police and the court system.
Hiding this is not protecting Kurt, I realize. Sweeping it under the rug is not helping Kurt make progress towards his independence. He needs to be trustworthy.
By sharing this issue on my blog, I'm going public. This is one step forwards. Next step when I have the courage: call the youth officer.