A trip to the police station

I can remember when my boys were little. I don’t remember how old they were but they were under 10. I took them to the fire department so the firemen could talk to them and explain the warnings and dangers of playing with fire. They had a terrible fascination with it and it scared me to death. My dad was a fireman and his warnings all my life scared me so that I never played with it but I guess boys are different.

They didn’t accuse me of bad parenting though and they did talk to my boys. I don’t know if it did any good or not but I didn’t know what else to do.

Now these parents claim they only wanted to do what I did. To scare their little girl but the officers claim they told her if they didn’t keep her, they’d take her to the fire station where you can leave a child with no questions asked. So the parents are saying one thing and the police are saying another.

One of the things that really bother me about this story and others like it is parents making their kids afraid of the police. I always tried to teach our kids that the police helped us when we needed it and they should never be afraid of them. I didn’t take my boys to the fire station to make them afraid of the fire fighters but to be afraid of the fire.

Did you ever do anything like this and what do you think? I think there’s a little more to the story than what we’re hearing though. How do you fee

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7 Responses to A trip to the police station

  1. Laura says:

    This is one of those times when I really wish that the reporter had done a little more investigating. Did the police *really* misunderstand what the mother meant, when she exasperatedly said that she’d leave the child there or at the firehouse? Or was the mother displaying other behavior that would make the police officer combine it with that poor word choice, and wonder if the child was really safe?

    Having said that… it’s a delicate thing, using police and fire to “scare kids straight”. If you are trying to get across to them that their behavior can damage them – as in, “if you don’t straighten up, you could end up in jail just like these people” then fine. But if it’s like so many people do (and i’ve heard them)… “if you don’t behave yourself, I’m going to tell that police man to arrest you”… what the heck?

    I don’t have a problem with what you did, Joy… that is asking the firemen to impart their experiences to impressionable children. “This is what we’ve seen, and this is why you should respect the flame”. And I have no problem in the world with a parent doing that with the police, as well – it puts the professionals in their proper place… as men and women who know and are good at their jobs, and who deserve respect.

    But reading further about the drug charges, and the fact that this little girl is a “model”… I suspect there’s a lot more going on than the story reports.

  2. SKL says:

    Not enough info to really form an opinion, but my gut reaction is: these folks are not the sharpest tools in the shed – and they did something stupid. It does sound like the police overreacted, too. Why arrest someone who isn’t actually committing a crime? Threatening your kid isn’t a crime, is it?

    As far as how to talk about cops to our kids – I am kind of mixed. I don’t say cops are bad or whatever – I speak of them as having a job to do – but I don’t imply that that job is to make our day brighter. My kids know that if you speed, a cop might give you a ticket, and if you do something a lot worse, they could take you to jail. Sometimes I have told my kid “the police would put me in jail if __” to get them to cooperate without a bunch of negotiating. Granted, I probably wouldn’t be incarcerated in most of those cases, but as the above story shows, you never know. And they’ve already seen at least one cop behaving badly – hollering at drivers rudely, to get them to move along instead of slowing to ask a question. But, my girls are also aware of the fact that cops get invoved in situations to help – e.g., to stop fights, to give first aid, to help make sure a baby is born safely. And of course, the official message they hear from everyone else is all “police are your friend.” I just don’t like to give my kids a totally un-balanced picture of things.

    Oh, and to add to my “bad parent” scorecard – my kids watched West Side Story, and if you’ve ever seen that movie, you know why it can taint a kid’s view of the cops. Oh, well. Cops are human and I don’t mind my kids’ knowing that.

  3. Ellen says:

    I hope this couple will be watched by child care services. But I do not like that they are in the papers, with name etc. What about privacy?

  4. Nikki says:

    I agree, there isn’t enough information to make a good decision on how I feel. I do feel that kids should never be taken to the police or firefighters to be scared. They are our friends, they help us. The last thing I want my son to think is he can’t go to them for help. In that sense, the parents did the wrong thing. I don’t think they were being negligent parents, more along the lines of poor judgment. If they can’t handle their daughter at 6, what are they going to do when she’s 16?! Maybe seeing a counselor, or taking special classes (ex. karate, self discipline) would be a better fit.

    We have never taken Bailey to the police station but we do go to the firehouse, once a year. Thankfully he’s so afraid of “what if” I don’t have the problem some parents have. But we should always teach our kids that these types of people are our friend. Go someone where else if you have problems with your kids. Juvenile Hall might be a good start, but gosh, she’s only 6. Maybe just some good old fashion parenting would suffice.

  5. my mum got questioned by the police once; my sister is particularly accident prone and was admitted to casualty twice in 6 days for various injuries. scary stuff

  6. mssc54 says:

    The sad truth is that once a badge wearing, gun toteing law enforcement officer makes his/her mind up about you, they have the power to affect the outcome of any investigation. And advancement through the ranks of law enforcement is like any other job. The more often YOU are proven right/successful the better it is for YOUR CAREER! Truth be damned (in some cases).

    When we go bu prisons I point it/them out and make mention of what it is and what its for.

    Also, occassionally, I will drive the kids through “the projects” and stress the importance of doing good in school, working hard and saving your money.

  7. Phyllis says:

    There’s really not enough info. I also question the accuracy of what was said and done. We all know that a lot of times it’s not just what you say, but how it is said as well. The kid is 6. How out of control can she be if the parents have actually done the job of parenting? If she’s out of control at this point, maybe they should take her out of modeling, which can and often does give kids the wrong impression of what the “real world” is like. I really don’t know……. whatever happened to punishment? You know the type of thing, taking away the cell phone (I’ll just bet you the kid has one)? How about revoking privledges, like t.v., mp3, computer time, outside play time, etc? Is that too old fashioned for todays world? I’ll admit….. I’m glad that my “kid” is 40 and the grands are 21 &16. This world is a scary place. From what’s been written, though, I wonder if the police didn’t simply over react? Can’t judge, because right now it’s a case of “he said, she said”.

    I agree that a call to the dept. first would have been a really good idea. I know a lot of police (on friendly terms), and I can’t think of even one that wouldn’t help out to put a little one back on the right track. BUT children should never be told things that will make them fear authority figures. God forbid, but it may happen that someday they will be in a position to need one to help them.

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