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Would You Turn Your Child In to the Police?

If you knew your child had committed a crime, would you turn him or her in? Tough decision always, but would you make the right one?

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be faced with the knowledge that a crime that had been committed, no matter how minor or major, was actually something for which your child was responsible? Would you do the right thing?

A story that appeared recently on Buford Patch details how a Buford mom called police after learning her 17-year-old son had purchased alcohol from a local convenience store. She, however, dealt with her son and asked the police to deal with the retailer - not too tough a decision to make. But last year there was another case, detailed in a story asking the same question on Wilton Patch. In that case, a man realized it was his son in some surveillance footage ransacking an electronics stores. The story went on to say that over $65,000 in merchandise had been stolen. The dad had a tough choice – call the police on his son or pretend he didn’t realize it was his own son who was the thief. The dad persuaded the son that he needed to turn himself in and they drove to the police station together.

But what if it was an even more serious crime? When faced with such a decision - what do you think you would do?


Jerry Fuchs January 13, 2013 at 12:09 PM
Athens Mama, your statements cancel each other out. A person works hard to get loans, etc., to open a store, fill it with merchandise, the whole trip. Then, someone else steals from that store. The thief didn't violate the store owner's right to private property, and his expectations that his goods would stay in the shop until customers purchased them? I think Amy's statement was incredibly balanced.
Tammy Osier January 13, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Agreed. Good answer Amy!
Athens Mama January 14, 2013 at 04:25 AM
@Jerry Fuchs - I know that you are right. Theft does infringe on the rights of others. It is certainly wrong and indicates an incredibly poor choice set. Still, I don't think I could turn in my child unless there was a violent injury.
Tammy Osier January 14, 2013 at 11:18 AM
Working with youth that have committed crimes, my take on the theft is that if they get away with that, it causes them to feel justified and empowered (not to mention that a parent can become an assessory if they have knowlege). It's more than a poor choice, considering that if you are stealing ($65,000 is a poor choice???), you could run the risk of getting your head blown off. Stolen goods are for one purpose - to be resold. Imagine what type of characters you're dealing with when finishing up that deal (could get your head blown off doing that). I consider it a huge crim (a felony), that in my experience leads to other crimes that can end up in bodily injury. To me, a crime is a crime. My experience tells me something different than just a poor choice. Shoplifting is a poor choice where a kid might give into peer pressure and can be taught a lesson, but ransacking to the tune of $65,000??? No way! If my child wants to choose a life of crime, they have my love and support standing with them as they go through the consequences necessary to make sure they don't do it again. But I would be prayerful, like Amy said, to know the best way to handle it.
jim armstrong January 14, 2013 at 01:45 PM
Have the child turn him/herself in. Then show that you will support them as a parent, and seek a punishment that includes counseling of the consequences for ALL their actions. If they are of a criminal mindset, early is the time to find out.

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