Cops investigating a series of break-ins at some Florida schools got a break in the case they probably weren't expecting. One of the four kids responsible came to them ... with his stepdad leading the way. Yes, in 2013, a father turned in his own kid (and prompted the arrest of three of the kid's buddies) for stealing.
Can I get a hell yeah for Dad? Four kids, ages 10 to 14, are now facing some real punishment for an ill-advised alleged crime spree through their local school buildings.
There were other options here.
This stepdad could have sat his son down for a talk about how "stealing is bad, m'kay?" and they could have hugged it out and sung Kumbaya. It would be very 2013.
He could have called up the schools and played Let's Make a Deal, bartering the stolen goods for some slap on the wrist.
Or -- and let's face it, some parents would do this -- he could have ignored his gut, pretended those items magically appeared in his kid's bedroom.
He could have done any and all of those. But he didn't. He called the cops. As he told a local paper:
The little ones need to learn that you can't steal and you can't lie.
Truer words are rarely spoken. Maybe I impress easily, or maybe I've just seen too many helicopter parents making all the wrong choices, making things too easy for their kids ... and teaching them nothing in the long run.
But parents taking a hard line like this are to be commended. You do your kid a greater service in the long run if you take these matters seriously, and dole out serious consequences.
It's not pleasant to think of your kid as a thief. It's even more unpleasant to think of them tangling with cops. But what this dad did was stop his kid short, show him that bad behavior will not be acceptable.
As parents, that's our job. We need to teach our kids that bad behavior won't get them anywhere in life. Fixing the problem for them doesn't teach that; if anything, it does the opposite. It sets them up for a life of screw-ups, with the expectation that someone will make it right for them.
The four kids in this case -- 10 through 14 -- are still young enough that they have time to learn, time to be guided back to the straight and narrow path we all want our kids to fallow.
What this stepfather did was risky. His stepson could end up hating him, his wife could hate him, who knows. But at the end of the day, he did the right thing.
Would you do the same?
Image via Ibrahim Lujaz/Flickr