Should you—would you—ever call the cops on your kids?
Two scenarios about the travails of raising kids are currently highlighting the issue of parental responsibility versus police intervention. And once again, parents are struggling with the question, What would you do?
A reader of The New York Times’ Motherlode blog wrote that she “asked the police for help” after she discovered her 17-year-old daughter had stolen her ATM card more than once. To “demonstrate the seriousness” of the girl’s actions, the mother allowed a police officer to handcuff her daughter in the back of a squad car while explaining the consequences of a felony.
Readers of the mother’s story offered kudos—“she made her decision with the best intentions”—and criticism: “I think the police should only be called when there is an issue of safety.”
A related story drew similar attention on momlogic.com, where readers were asked if they thought a mother was too tough on her son for insisting that police also charge him with car theft after he was stopped for DUI. The mother advocated that the teen should spend the weekend in Juvenile Hall “while the seriousness of his actions” set in.
Again, readers were divided about pressing charges. “If an arrest and taking responsibility makes that teen think before getting in the car drunk again, then yes, it’s worth it,” wrote one. But another said, “I would never press charges on my son. I think this is just taking it too far.”
Tell us what you think: Should discipline by parents ever involve the police? Where do you draw the line between parenting and policing?