I Wish I Knew My Son Was a Criminal Before He Turned 14

I have met *Bernardo Silva’s mom several times. Her love and devotion for her son is very evident. Yesterday was the first time I asked her to share her concern as a mother who weeps silent tears. I wish I knew my son was a criminal before he turned 14, she said. Here’s the full account.

I Wish I Knew My Son Was a Criminal Before He Turned 14

My name is Halima Zubeda. I am a mother of eight sons and one daughter. Bernardo Silva is one of my obedient children. When I give him a duty in the house or send him on an errand. Silva does it very well.

Silva was a very normal boy. His only challenge was the fact that he wasn’t very good academically. But I wish I would have noticed that something was not right with my son before he turned 14 years old. By the time I did, he had already gone too deep it was going to be too difficult to rescue me.

When he first started engaging in crime, I did not have a clue. On Sunday, he would attend madrassa and during the wee day, he would come home late saying he had been doing homework at a friend’s house. Silva was just like any other normal boy. One day I got a call that Silva was arrested while coming from a disco with a good friend.

From that time, I began monitoring him. During the period he was reporting to the chief and work there, I decided to buy him text books so he could do homework at home. I thought this would stop giving him an excuse to stay out late in the guise of doing homework. Silva did not show signs that he was turning into a criminal.

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I Wish I Knew My Son Was a Criminal Before He Turned 14

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There was a time my family had challenges paying school fees for all of our children. We asked Silva to stay at home for a while as his father looked for money. Silva would go for a walk and come back home later. After sometime, I started getting reports that he had stolen a phone, here and there.

The mistake I did was that I would get money to replace the phones that Silva had stolen. I never knew that things would soon become worse and my son would turn into a serious criminal. He soon graduated from stealing people’s phones to stealing laptops and selling bhang. I thought that staying at YCTC would teach him a lesson and prevent him from committing more crimes.

Right now, he has stolen a neighbour’s subwoofer speakers. This is not the only crime he has been accused of by my neighbours. As I am speaking, there are five people who are looking for Silva after he stole their things. One person wants his tabled back.

Another one wants compensation for the laptop that Silva stole. A third person has accused Silva of stealing his money. The fourth one claims that Silva stole his smart phone. To make matters worse, all these people have vowed not to take Silva to the police anymore. The guy whose subwoofer speaker he stole has vowed that he will cut Silva’s hands when he finds my son..  

When Silva says I don’t trust him, what does he want me to do? How can I trust such a child who keeps stealing people’s things? What do I do to get him fixed before he gets killed by an angry mob?

I am Scared and Afraid that My Son Will Get Killed One Day

Right now, the police have said that my son can be freed if we pay the complainant 7,000 shillings. I don’t have a problem with paying this money. However, I don’t know whether I will be encouraging my son to keep engaging in crime. I also don’t know whether this will endanger his life more since he will be free to bump into those who are looking for him. As a result, I am scared.

Furthermore, I also don’t know whether letting him go back to prison will serve as a lesson or that he will get worse. His brothers and sister have told me not to help him regain his freedom. They believe that this may help serve as a warning to Silva. However, my heart is heavy. I don’t know what to do.

When he is roaming outside, I am afraid that he may commit another crime and get killed by the mob. I am also afraid that those he has stolen from may retaliate. I am also afraid that going to prison may worsen him.  

I Wish I Had a Place to Hide My Son

My husband’s parents died when he was still young. As a result, we don’t have a rural home where I can take my son. The only place I can take him to is my mother’s home up country. But the only problem is that Silva’s stealing habit stops me from taking him there. I may take him there only for him to end up stealing things there and ruining my reputation. Or worse, he may get killed, which may worsen my mom’s health condition.

My Son Has Nowhere to Hide Anymore

Having nine children means Silva has options which sibling he can go and stay with. But this is not the case. My son has nowhere to hide anymore. His crime activities have isolated him from everyone. He has even stolen his sister’s laptop and one thing or the other at his other brothers’ house.

In short, my son has ruined everything. When I go to bed, I often sleep with my eyes half open and my phone constantly on because I don’t know when I may receive bad news. Right now, I am the only person in my family who still believes that will turn a new leaf in life.

I don’t know what else to do other than trusting God to take full control of this situation. But if you ask me for my honest opinion I would tell you that my children wish their father would get involved in their lives. They often complain about his absence and there is nothing I can do to make him understand that his children need him. If I say he needs to pull up his socks, he may think that I am being disrespectful.

It has reached a point where he is now thinking that I am the one who is spoiling our children. But deep inside of me I wish Silva’s father would take an active role in his children’s lives, things would change.

My husband has lost hope in Silva. He has said that he will only be concern about the children who are doing what is right. Those who are not doing the right things like Silva, he will have nothing to do with them.

My Growing Concern for Silva’s Younger Brother

Right now, I have begun worrying about Silva’s younger brother who is just about to turn 14. When boys turn 14 they begin to see good things that their peers have and start developing envy. After sometime, the envy develops into a desire to own such things. This leads into a life of crime.

When they see their age mates having the good things they admire, they start asking how they can get the same. When their families are not able to provide, they join gangs. But when such a boy is close to the father, they are able to grow I discipline. I wish my husband would provide a safety net for our children.

The other challenge is that my husband doesn’t want me to know so many details about him. I don’t know even where he works other than knowing it is somewhere in Village Market. I also don’t have a way of contacting him when I have an emergency. Having lived with him for all these years, I know I am better off not forcing him to confide in me.

But I wish he would help me discipline our children. He keeps on saying that he didn’t grow up with a father. The other thing he keeps saying is that he is providing for all their needs. I wish I had the power to find him another job so he can be home more.

My husband works throughout the week without a break and doesn’t have time off. What kind of a boss doesn’t allow his workers do go home? Anyway, this won’t stop me from believing that my son will change and become a better person. My hope is that this happens soon.

I know God has heard my cry and prayer as a grieving mother. In the mean time, I wish I knew my son was a criminal before he turned 14. Perhaps, I would have made better choices as mother and rescue my son from the deep hole he is in right now.


After Berdardo Silva failed to turn up in court, his mom and I went to the police station. We were shocked to learn that his name wasn’t in the Occurrence Book. When I reminded the police officer that I had been there the previous day, he insisted that I was mistaken.

Then he read a list of names.

“That’s my husband’s name!” Silva’s mom exclaimed. “How did it get into your records?”

“I don’t know,” the police officer said. “Maybe it is your son who wrote it down!”

“Okay,” Silva’s mom said, “where is he? We didn’t see him in court.”

“Maybe he got released after coming to an agreement with the complainant,” the police officer explained. “Why don’t you find and ask him?”

“How did he get money to pay the complainant?” Silva’s mom asked.

“You know your son better,” the police officer said. “The way I observed him, he is a criminal and unless you urgently do something about this, your son may end up getting worse.”   

As we left the police station, Silva’s mom made a phone call. We learned that Silva went back home. At the time we were parting ways, I didn’t know whether Silva had paid a bribe or paid the owner of the phone he had stolen a few weeks ago. But I know this. His mom is silently grieving for a son she can’t rescue from a life of crime.

Please Provide Your Feedback

Thanks for reading this post. I hope you learned something new from reading I Wish I Knew My Son Was a Criminal Before He Turned 14. Kindly provide us with feedback on what you make this. Do you think that Bernardo Silva can still be helped? Between the mom and dad, who do you think can fix Bernard Silva?

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