Something that’s becoming increasing clearer the older I get is that the world is full of self-righteous assholes, and none of them are ever wrong. Every self-righteous asshole has an opinion and if you think differently you’re not only wrong, but you’re a fucking idiot. Just visit a self-righteous asshole near you, ask, and they’ll tell you. What’s more, these self-righteous assholes will tell you in breathtaking detail how sorely you’re wrong and they can do so without the facts of the situation on which they’re opining.
(Yes, I’m a little peeved. What gave me away?)
Case in point: a mother in Columbus, Georgia worked together with her local police department to stage a mock-arrest of her 10-year-old son in an attempt to curb his unruly behavior before it got completely out of hand. The police came, handcuffed the boy, and sat him in the back of a squad car for 10 minutes. The kid did not like it.
Enter the internet and its obligatory sea of trolls.
The story made the news and brought every “parenting expert” out of their crusty cubby holes, knocking over all their “World’s Best Parent” coffee mugs in the process. Quit wasting the cops’ time! A real parent would take care of this herself! That was unlawful detainment! You don’t know what it takes to parent an older child! Your (sic) stupid (Oh, the irony.)! When calling someone an idiot you should avoid making yourself look like an idiot. Perhaps she should have disciplined out the disrespect over the prior 9 years?
Oy. Fucking. Vey.
It’s like listening to a group of children argue. Shut the fuck up, people. Geezass.
Let’s get a few things straight. No two children are the same. What works for one child will not work for another. For people to sit and judge this mother for her actions based on a two paragraph article and a YouTube video is ludicrous – whether you agreed with her actions or not. No one, save for those involved, has the pertinent details needed to ascertain whether or not the mock-arrest was warranted. Furthermore, no one, save for those involved, should even give a fuck. This situation did not affect you. It did not affect me. It did not affect any of the blowhards commenting on this story.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I’ll get to the reason for this post. I wanted to share a couple of stories for those who think trying to straighten out a child on the wrong path is only a parent’s job. (It takes a village…or something.)
When I was 16 I was a slight pain in the ass. I was not happy. I was still struggling with depression, was living in a roach-infested mobile home, and hated, absolutely hated, the school I attended. One day, I just decided I wasn’t going to go any more.
My mother is a tolerant woman, but when she was pushed, at least by moi, she pushed back. She kindly informed me that if I did not get dressed and get in the car she would call the cops on me. I scoffed and went back to whatever it was I was doing. Probably playing Nintendo (Tecmo Bowl, FTW!).
A short time later a leviathan Gwinnett County sheriff strode into my bedroom. I’m pretty sure he had to duck to make it through the doorway. “I hear you’re refusing to go to school today,” he said in a no-nonsense voice that conveyed that he was not one to be trifled with.
Guess what I did? If you guessed that I got my frightened ass up from my bed and got ready for school then you just won an awkward hug from a virtual stormtrooper.
Now, before any judgmental prick flies off at their keyboard know this: at 16 I was taller, bigger, and stronger than my mother. Anyone who thinks my mother was going to physically force me to do her bidding just ain’t right in the head. She did what she had to do when I left her no other option. You know what else? I never tried that again.
I have been on the other side of this situation as a parent. More specifically, as a step-parent. During my first marriage I was a step-father to an 11-year-old habitual run away. This kid could not be stopped. Yes, I was physically capable of preventing him from running away, which is why he did it when I could not stop him. He ran away right after he got off the bus. He did it while I slept at night. He did it while I was in the bathroom. He ran away while at school.
One day I had locked him in his room. A neighbor had called the police on him for damaging said neighbor’s front door…by throwing rocks at it. When the officer arrived I went to retrieve my stepson and he was gone. My stepson had ripped the screen out of his window and leaped from his 2nd story bedroom to escape his punishment.
I’m not gonna lie. I apologized over and over to those officers. I felt like I was wasting their time by having them come out on what seemed like a weekly basis to hunt down my vanishing stepson. However, when your child runs away you kinda hafta report it.
You know what, though? Those officers were very cool about it. They always said things like, “That’s our job.” They even told us to call them any time we had trouble with him, which we did on a couple of occasions. When nothing fazes a child what else can you do? When you’ve taken every privilege away, punished him, and even spanked him and he still won’t behave or do what he’s told what options have you? He always got his ass in gear when the cops showed up, though.
The night he jumped from the second story window the cops who came out that night were begging the judge on duty to let them take my stepson to a juvenile detention center. Not even for the whole night, but just for a while. They couldn’t get approval, though. They did, however, tell my stepson that his mother and I can legally spank him and even told him they’d come out and hold him down so we could do it. Of course, we never resorted to that, but the cops tried everything they could, too.
The point in me sharing these stories is so that anyone criticizing the mom and the mock-arrest she staged with the police can see that even “real” parents (Whatever the hell that means) need help raising and disciplining their children. On the surface, perhaps it might seem absurd that a mother had her 10-year-old arrested, but perhaps we should all stop to consider that maybe this desperate mother has tried everything she can and called the police as a last resort. I’d be willing to bet money any good police officer would rather try to straighten someone out at 10 years old rather than letting that boy spiral down a wayward path that leads to crime and chaos.
Lastly, let me just say that we should all stop shaming people simply because they do something differently. We all have our own way of doing things. You know what? That’s fucking okay! You do things your way, and I’ll do things mine…and we’ll both mind our own fucking business. m’kay?
Sound like a plan?
*Please do your best to dismiss any typos or other errors in this post. It was written hastily and while highly annoyed. I apologize to any grammar nazis in the audience.