Sometimes you just have to go hardcore on your kids. No parent ever got respect with a wimpy "oh, honey, don't do that," followed by you walking away. But a dad who caught his teenagers bullying a 13-year-old and drove them straight to the police station is making me rethink my whole "hardcore" strategy.
Did he really just turn his own kids in to the COPS? The story out of Australia is painful to read -- especially in light of fellow Australian Casey Heynes and his bullying situation. But apparently Dad, known only as Matt, was driving home when he spotted his 17-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter beating up a 13-year-old boy.
And this wasn't just some name calling. As he told a radio station, they were "beating the living crap out of this kid." In fact, Matt's kids BROKE THE CHILD'S JAW!!
Here's where I'd doff my cap at Matt -- if I had a cap -- because what he did was "the right thing to do." He took the injured boy home to his parents, then took his kids to the cops, who charged them with assault. He was right. What his kids did was criminal. Talk about being a disciplinarian. Talk about making your kids accept responsibility for their actions!
That's a parent's job. To teach their kids what life is like in the real world. We can comfort, but we can't coddle. And one of the few good notes to come out of the Heynes' story was seeing his bully's mom admit outright that her kid wasn't automatically in the right. We're missing too much of that in a world where parents are lawsuit crazy if the teacher looks at their child wrong.
But I wonder if I could do what Matt did so quickly. He didn't pause. He just did it.
I wonder if I could take my kid to the cops first. I'd discipline the bejesus out of her for sure. I'd be sitting down with that other child's parents, offering everything but my first born (since she's the problem) to pay for their child's pain and suffering. But I really have to wonder if I'd have the guts to march my kid into a police station and say, "Hey, come here, you don't know it, but she's a criminal."
A friend once knew his son was wanted by the police, and he called them to his house so that the arrest would go down off the streets, in the privacy of their home. That I could do. If the crime was known, if that other parent was already pressing charges, you'd better believe we'd be owning right up and turning her in. But I think it would take me awhile to decide.
I think Matt is one of the gutsiest dads I've heard about in a long time. What about you? Could you turn your kids in to the cops without a second thought?
Image via Polina Sergeeva/Flickr