mother turned child in to police

On the news this morning I saw a segment about a woman who turned her child in to the police when she shoplifted and they questioned if it was good parenting or being too tough.
I say, why the debate? The mother said the child did it before and she turned her in to the manager of the store, but the manager pretty much blew it off. The child did it again so she told the police. If a parent is teaching that stealing is wrong and the child keeps it up the child should learn the consequences.
I heard about this being done all the time when I was a kid. Usually, one trip to the police station was all it took.
You can’t win nowadays. People complain that kids are out of control but when you try to disipline them you’re told you can’t do some things.
What say you?

Showing the child that actions have consequences is one thing, but getting authorities to do your parenting for you is quite another.

Also, I’m not quite sure who is this “they” who supposedly tell you that you can’t discipline your child. You have a world of lawful options available to you, including spanking them severely as long as you don’t leave a mark. Show me a parent who says “They won’t let me discipline my child”, and I’ll show you a parent who is a liar, lazy, stupid, or all of the above. You can always discipline your child unless they’re armed, bigger than you, or effectively independent and emancipated.

The law applies to everyone and people should report suspected violators of the law whether they’re their family or not.

The problem with turning your child or anyone else in to the police over something minor is you risk the system going overboard or just screwing up and doing a lot worse to them than throw a minor scare into them. Do you want to risk your kid, say, being tossed in a cell with serious criminals and repeatedly raped over shoplifting? Or getting killed? That sort of thing has happened.

I hate to do this, but cite, por favor? I can’t see a minor being put in prison with a rapist.

Unless, of course, it’s an unjust law. Not all laws are morally equal.

Cosmic Relief, “spanking severely” would be considered physical abuse by a lot of people. You can do a lot of damage without leaving a mark. Even just plain old spanking is debatable. I don’t think you teach a child much by hitting them. And if you’re still hitting them right up until they are practically adults, that just proves the point.

I think that hitting is the stupid and lazy way to discipline.

She wasn’t asking the police to do her job. She was asking them to do theirs. One of them should have had a serious talk with the girl and maybe let her see where people are locked up when they first come in.

How old was the child?

While a nice ideal, I think you are forgetting that we are talking about a child. Children are not expected to have the same morality as an adult. Heck, the police themselves will often return a child to their parents.

I’m not debating whether spanking is a good way of discipline or not, I’m saying that the law allows so much latitude in child discipline that anyone who says “they don’t allow me to discipline my child” is a liar. Unless, of course, their idea of discipline is tying them up and putting them in a rat-infested dungeon without food or water, in which case they’re too stupid to know the difference between abuse and discipline.

In England, the age of criminal responsibility is ten. If you turn your ten year old in for shoplifting, techincally the police are legally obliged to arrest and investigate the crime. In reality nothing would happen if the shop owner didn’t want to prosecute (which I assume is the case as it sounds like the mother contacted the police, and not the shop staff) but in theory the child could end up with a criminal record from this. It seems a bit heavy handed to me to criminalize your own child instead of using your own family discipline.

I used to work for the police, and every now and then parents would call up asking us to send an officer round to the house and frighten their naughty child (this is something we might have done forty years ago, but times have changed). We would always tell them that the police were not there as a threat. If the child was lost or hurt or in danger, we want them to feel safe to seek out a police officer for help, or go into a police station to be safe. The last thing we want is for the child to have a terrifying experience with the police at a tender age.

However, this story is very low on details. Sounds like she had done it before, and mother took the more reasonable step of talking to the shop manager. She broke the rules again, so the punishment escalated. I can sympathize with this mother somewhat, because at least she is making the child face the consequences for her actions and trying to stop this problem before it escalates. Personally I would have made her give the item back and apologize, and then a suitable penalty such as removing of TV privileges and grounding. But maybe she already tried those things. She may have overreacted, but in my opinion it is better than doing nothing at all to address the behaviour.

It also depends a lot on the age of child and what she stole. A six year old stealing a candy bar is not the same as a sixteen year old stealing a laptop. The reasons behind it would be different, as would their understanding of the consequences.

Lots of younger (or smaller, weaker) kids have gotten themselves assaulted, including sexual assault, by older kids while held in juvenile detention centers.

My firsthand info: I’ve read their medical records and pre-sentence investigation reports. And I’ve examined a few after the assaults.

This seems an odd position to take, given your recent “killing a murderer is defensible morally” thread.

Wow. You are still legally allowed to beat your child? The only cutoff against abuse is leaving a mark? Wow.

Besides, beating a child is not discipline. It doesn’t teach them anything besides negative things.

If the only discipline you can think of is violence, then that speaks volume against your pedagogical knowledge, and means you aren’t fit to raise a child, either.

But that isn’t an argument in itself against turning wrongdoers to the police, it means you need to reform your police. Because if the police, the system and the prisons are so terrible that you won’t subject your own child to them, why would you subject anybody else’s child, either?

Well the police have a right to press charges or not. If the store isn’t going to press charges and the OP indicated they weren’t, by taking the kid to the station, the mother is wasting the cops time.

The police have better things, or at least SHOULD have better things to do with their time than petty theft.

When police resources are spread so thin, it makes little sense to waste them on a crime like this.

Police also don’t have to enforce every rule. Like if someone runs a red light, they may choose to ticket the person, or warn the person, or ignore it. It’s at their discretion. A cop may be on the corner and doing a drug stakeout, he’s not going to give that up to ticket a car he sees runnning a red light.

The police and each officer have the discretion on how to act when they see a law broken. It’s not their job to teach a child not to steal. Since the store didn’t see fit to do anything, it ceases to be a police matter, unless the store makes it one.

I understand the paren’ts frustration, and I don’t think there is anything malicious being done, it’s just not a good way to handle things.

Who knows?

I did things as a child that were illegal (all with the influence of an older brother but I still did it). At some point, I realized WTF and stopped doing those things. And, if I might say so myself, I turned out, as an adult, to be a pretty awesome and volunteers a lot for those with difficulties.

I see the idea behind scared-straight using police officers. But I also see injustices within the law enforcement/judicial system particularly with increasingly popular zero tolerance rules (which should be called zero brain rules). I also see the importance of respecting and trusting police officers (as mentioned by another poster) as opposing to fearing them or, worse, even disrespecting them.

There are a lot of punishments that don’t fit the crime. And a lot of slack should be given to kids.

Personally, I would never turn over a kid to law enforcement without first consulting with a good (emphasis on good) attorney and psychologist. There are a lot of police officers that are intelligeent and wise enough to properly sum up a situation and respond accordingly. However, legislatures and legal technicalities might restrict them, by law, to do something that is not in the best interests of the child and society.

That’s when the law fails.

Are you serious? Did you actually believe that spanking wasn’t legal?

And if you had actually read the post you quoted, you would have seen: “You have a world of lawful options available to you, including spanking them severely as long as you don’t leave a mark.” The bolded portion of the quote belies your summary that the “only discipline” the poster could think of was physical.

Which leads me to infer, subject to your correction of course, that your objeciton was to the physical act of spanking, and not to the fact that it was the only discipline being used. Is this the case?

One thing no one has mentioned so far about this story: the mom turned her kid in for a piddlin’ $30 reward. Methinks there was more to her motives than just an attempt to teach her kid a lesson. She apparently was rather insistent on getting the reward. I don’t think she has her priorities straight.

Did you mean to state that it was the victims’ fault they were assaulted while a guest of the criminal justice system?