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Table 1 Themes and quotations illustrating the experiences of caregivers

From: Use of crystal methamphetamine among male adolescents in Cape Town, South Africa: Caregivers' experiences

Theme/Sub-themes Quotations
Son’s misbehaviour
 Crime and stealing If you are on “tik” you have to steal, you can’t get it free and then you have to steal for it and that is the quickest way to go to jail and prepare to die because they can shoot you when you break into a house…and that is what these “tik” users do-including my son, that’s why I fear him because he steals in the house and even becomes violent, wanting money where I do not have money because I do not work (Participant 2).
He wasn’t working and was stealing from my house and breaking into the houses in the community and ended up getting arrested by the police (Participant 8).
 Shame and embarrassment You feel embarrassed, it was so embarrassing, and I was hurt. To think I had to lock myself up in my own house because he steals everything he touches (Participant 11)
I’ve lost friends because of his behaviour. He could go to my friends’ house, put on the kettle; he can make everything that he wants there, but not anymore. He and his friends broke into her house and stole things from her. It makes me feel so embarrassed and ashamed (Participant 5).
Personal challenges
 Emotional problems I didn’t know what to expect at home. It’s frustrating to me. I go into a panic attack and stay there for so long, can’t breathe, my heart beats and stuff like that. I don’t wish to be at home but the fact is where must I go? I have to face it; I cannot take my problems to someone else. In that state, I become very nervous. I am telling you my nerves become very high. Sometimes I just feel like giving up, you know. I can’t take this anymore, but then I have to think about his brothers and sister. They are keeping me alive, only them (Participant 2).
 Fears I can expect anything to come to my front door. They could arrive one day knocking at my door and tell me that my child is dead or seriously injured, and he was lying in the hospital. I expected the worse. I was traumatised (Participant 12).
I fear for my son that he can be hurt because of his criminal and stealing behaviour. Since he got addicted to “tik”, his behaviour have been very erratic and frankly I am currently afraid that something bad may happen to him anytime soon (Participant 1).
I currently live in a state of fear as I don’t know what will happen to him tomorrow. His violent and criminal behaviour make me worry and constantly afraid of what will happen next (Participant 7).
 Self-blame You know sometimes I feel, as though I am to blame. I always ask myself this question. Did I over protect him? But I feel that I did what was expected of me as a mother but I now feel like I am responsible for what he has grown up to be now. I feel as I have failed as a mother (Participant 10).
I gave my child everything I could but maybe I don’t think it was enough. I think I gave him the best but on the other hand, I spoiled him, yeah, I spoiled him too much. I felt very hurt. Somewhere I failed as a mom (Participant 2).
Family disruptions My spouse and I are constantly fighting; you see because he does not understand what “tik” does to my child. He is not my son’s father but he raised him, gave him everything a father can. I know he [the son] is disrespectful to my spouse you see, and he was never like that, not until he started using the “tik” (Participant 4).
My whole family is affected by “tik”. It affected the family. It’s disrupted the entire family…it has caused chaos (Participant 15).
It’s [her son’s behaviour] affecting me and obviously, I know it’s affecting all my children, all of them, all of them. He is aggressive in the house and my husband [son’s stepfather] is getting sick and tired. He doesn’t even respect him anymore (Participant 11).
Financial drain I had to stop working because he cannot care for himself…and due to his criminal behaviour he ended up in front of the magistrate. I never had to attend court cases as mush as I do now. He already has one court case he refused to go…many times I had to stay at home and not go to work and as result I was fired from my employment (Participant 9).
He is not capable of working as he is unable to hold on to his job. At times, he just works for a day and uses the money for “tik”. Ever since the “tik” story came out, I don’t even receive money [from him]. At one point, he only pays me R20 [$1.30]. But prior to getting addicted to “tik”, he used to work one day for me and the next day for himself. He doesn’t do that anymore (Participant 15).