Mom Tries to Scare 5-Year-Old Candy Thief Straight by Taking Her to the Police

Say What!? 84

kid candy storeIs it just me, or are parents getting a little extreme with their punishments lately? First there was the whole public shaming/sign holding trend, then there were the parents who had their kids arrested for having a party, then there was the dad who called the cops on his 19-year-old son for "stealing his truck" to buy cigarettes (the young man was tragically shot dead by police). Now we have the story of yet another mom enlisting the help of law enforcement officials to reprimand her child -- except this kid didn't steal a truck or throw a party, she stole candy. Oh yeah, and did I mention she's 5 YEARS OLD?? Uh, yup. 

Apparently when one Puyallup, Washington, mother found out her 5-year-old daughter snagged some candy from the store, instead of making her shame-facedly return the treats or simply going back to pay for it herself and then taking away the kid's TV time or whatever, she decided that the best way to make sure her child never stole again would be to take her straight to the police station. 

Now, luckily for everyone involved, the police officer on duty played along like a champ and was super sweet -- even giving the little girl a hug after she promised him she'd never steal again. So maybe all's well that ends well? Except I just can't for the life of me imagine taking the "scared straight" approach with my 8- or 12-year-old children, let alone a kid who's still in kindergarten! Honestly, just try and picture walking your tiny little 5-year-old into a police station. What sort of horrifying images must have been running through that little girl's head? Was she envisioning spending the rest of her life behind bars? All the while knowing it was mom who ratted her out??

I guess, hey, whatever works for you. And who knows, maybe someday my kids will be career criminals and then that mom will have the last laugh, but until then, I still can't get behind this particular disciplinary tactic. 

Would you take your candy-stealing 5-year-old to the police station?


Image via rumpleteaser/Flickr

behavior, discipline, in the news


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nonmember avatar Cass

I've heard from several police officers: "don't use us to frighten your kids- we want them to run to us, not away from us, in an emergency. Teach your kid a lesson yourself- you don't need the police to do it.

jkp-buff jkp-buff

My brother taught his daughter a lesson with the help of the police, but in a good way, not a scared straight way. When she got her first bike, she was always leaving it in the grass instead of putting it in the garage, and he kept warning her that someone could steal her bike if she left it out. And then he asked his friends to "steal" her bike if they ever drove past the house and it was sitting in the open. After a couple weeks without her "stolen" bike, he asked a police officer to "return" it to her, so in her eyes the cop was the hero who found her stolen bike and she learned to be more careful with her things.

nekoy... nekoyukidoll

some kids need to be scared straight,  My ex-step-nieces both act like wanna be thugs and their moms won't do anything to correct them.  When I once told the oldest that if she continued to lie and act up she'd end up in jail and she just shrugged her shoulders like "eh, whatever."  Kids today are so spoiled they think mommy and daddy will get them out of any situation.  

Stacy Jinkins

I did this with my 9 year old son after he stole candy TWICE and didn't think it was a problem. Yes I grounded him and took away his things, but he did it a second time. It's small stuff now like candy but if he isn't learning his lesson I'm going to make sure he does. I took him to the police station and he learned his lesson! I don't think this mom did the wrong thing at all. 

Tawnya Woodley

When my brother and sister were younger they were caught stealing candy. My parents told them that they were going to the police station and that they were going to get their fingers cut off. My dad even went so far as to drive them to the police station. Once they got there, my dad told them that they were lucky because the police station was closed. They were about 4 and 5. Needless to say, my parents never had any problems with stealing from any of us. And we all turned out just fine.


Kassi Rasmussen

I wouldn't call it scaring the children. I would call it showing them what happens when they do wrong.  I have a brother who no matter what he did and no matter the punishment was he never learned, UNTIL he was playing with the house phone (yes it was years ago and he was 5 or 6, he was always into things) he had called 911 on the phone and then hid it, no one knew he had done it as he was sneaky up until the officer showed up at the door. The whole thing was figured out and the officer was kind enough to ask my mother if he could have a word with her son. My brother is now 18 and wants to be a cop. 

weird... weirdkids

my children are very visual learners. ive done worse. i drove my then 10yo to the front door of the kiddie jail after he was caught stealing AGAIN. when my daughter was 4 she stole candy and i marched her back in there to return it. there happened to be an officer in there that took it upon himself to teach her a quick lesson. i will say though, after countless repremaned and talks that did no good, i have had the best results using google with them to get my point across. 

Heather Peacock Shortway

Now a days, you've got to do what you've got to do in order to get kids to understand the wrong.....and in MY opinion, this mom didn't do anything that I wouldn't have done myself to my 6 year old. I've taken t.v. away, i've grounded her from the Wii and X-box and she still thinks she wants to do what she wants to! I've done the time out and that doesn't help either, so if you find something or feel something that'll help "scare" kids straight or in the "right" direction, then DO IT!!

Rebecca Swartz

I think mom did a good job. My friend actually did that with her daughter after catching her trying to steal lip gloss. My friend contacted the local police barracks to see if she could bring her daughter in and have her shown what would happen if she was arrested. The female officer who was on duty did an amazing job showing her and even fingerprinted her. My friend's daughter hasn't tried to steal again. I think that if you do something like this when they're young, they'll know that the police aren't your enemies but if you do something wrong they will have to arrest you.

Erin Higgins

This is what parents are left with when ya can't spank your child. Yup, you brought us to this extreme, society! So don't be judging!

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