Raising Children or Creating Monsters? Part One

Nov 14, 2011

I originally posted this series in January of this year. It evidently touched a nerve because it was the most popular series I posted this year. As always, I appreciate your feedback!

I have noticed an interesting trend as a police officer
over the last couple of years. The number of domestic calls
involving parents and their preteen and teen children have gone up
drastically. I’d say my squad averages at least two of these calls
a day. Let me give you a few examples:

  1. A lady called the police this week about her 12 year old
    daughter. The daughter was shoving the mother and screaming
    at her because she didn’t get an IPod Touch for Christmas. No
    charges were filed and the officers were able to get the situation
    calmed down.
  2. I went on a call with my officers last week where a 15 year old had smashed two kitchen chairs, broken a table, dumped the kitchen trash out on the floor, and
    punched several holes in the walls. This started because his parents told him he had a curfew of 11:00pm. The boy was charged as a juvenile with Criminal Damage to Property and released back to his parents.
  3. A 17 year old male punched his twin 17 year old sister in the eye and tried to throw her down the stairs. When the mother intervened, he pulled a knife on mom and called her several horrendous names. He was arrested. He told me he had, “an anger problem.”

I could go on and on. Everyone of these situations is different. There is one thread, however, that I see in almost every single domestic call involving parents and their children. I work in a pretty affluent area of Metro-Atlanta. The calls that I have described are not taking place in a housing project. When I go on a call like this I usually ask to see the child’s room. Without fail, it has everything anyone could want for entertainment and comfort: a television, an XBox, a computer, a stereo, lots of nice clothes, and well, you get the picture.

As I watch the interaction between the parents and their child, it becomes clear very quickly that mommy and daddy have given their little darling everything they have ever asked for and have rarely ever said, “No.” Now as the child is moving into their teen years, the parents decide they finally need to assert themselves and it doesn’t work out so good. If the parents have been weak and have neglected to discipline little Suzy or Johnny
when they were young, it is not going to be easy trying to discipline them at 12 or 13.

The 15 year old that I mentioned above that broke all the furniture was living good. His parents had a home that was in an upper middle class neighborhood. He was an only child and his mother referred to him as, “my baby.” He had two bedrooms full of stuff. I had an image of this kid as a 2 year in the grocery store throwing a tantrum because his mom would not give him a candy bar. Out of helplessness and embarassment, she gives in and gives him the candybar. Now at 15, he is acting out his tantrum by destroying his parent’s nice house.

To be continued…

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