“Dear Dr.Eve,

I’m calling into your radio show as I am stuck.
I am a single mother of a 12-year-old child and last week I had money
missing from my purse. This is not the first time I have found money
missing. He and I live alone, no one else comes into the flat, so it can
only be my son who is stealing this money. In the past, I have asked him
nicely, but he denies it. But last week I lost it and demanded he tells the
truth. Finally, he admitted he is taking the money.
He also bullies me .. now this… I really don’t understand what is going
on and I don’t know what to do.

Dr.Eve Replies:

“Hello, Nora,
It is so challenging to be a single parent. Bravo!

So let’s begin with YOU. How are you doing, Nora? Do you practice any
daily self-care, like taking a yoga/pilates class? A walk in nature?
Journalling? Connecting with people with whom you feel safe and secure?
Do you ensure that you have sparks of joy and purpose in your own life?
If your answers are mostly NO, then this is where you begin to get
unstuck and make a difference to your son.

Single parents always tell me there is no time for self-care, and I’m like
“Really ?? You are simply not controlling your life. Perhaps you prefer to
feel out of control and suffer the consequences of this “ and for you the
consequences are sadly in your face, Nora… a son who is letting you
know that he really feels unsafe and insecure.

Tell me about your son… and of course, this is an invitation for you to
think about all of your son .. not just the part that is acting out through

stealing and bullying you. Does he have friends? How is he at school?
Online? What is his day-to-day life like?
You see, Nora, your son’s stealing and bullying, are SYMPTOMS,
symptoms of his distress and perhaps even trauma. He is not a “bad”
boy, simply a boy who is letting you know that he is in distress.

Often single parents are so overwhelmed with life that they can be
distracted, absent, escaping the burden through overwork, alcohol,
drugs, exercise, online activities, or depression, sleep, absence.

I recommend that the first thing you do is thank your child for disclosing
the truth to you, hug and hold him as his symptoms tell you that his heart
is “sick”, longing for more presence from you. Then begin to practice
daily self-care. As you become more in control of your life, get happier,
watch how your child thrives!