Is Mom Stealing?

Angela says her mom can't pay her mortgage and is running up credit cards. She can't pay it back. Angela thinks it's stealing. Should she tell her mom to not give any gifts or accept them graciously?

QUESTION: Angela in Tulsa says her mom is a widow with a small income. She can’t pay her mortgage and is running up credit cards buying Christmas gifts for everyone. She can’t pay it back, so Angela thinks it’s stealing. Should she tell her mom to not give them any gifts at all or accept them graciously?

ANSWER: She needs counseling. She’s got emotional issues. Let’s look at it this way for a second. The grief and the flakiness has now evolved into mental illness. How do you deal with someone who’s mentally ill wanting to give you a gift that they can’t afford to give you? That’s a tough one. It’s not like it’s just a mere irresponsibility. She’s gotten a little crazy here. You’re going to have to deal with that. That’s going to be the gift for her—for her to be able to deal with that and face these things. Just be gentle with her. She’s ill. Be gentle, but help lead her to healing.