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Public Image - Only so much we can do for people
Being a cop means dealing with everyones problems. From family disturbances to drunks to addicts, we see it all. It seems that when we show up on a scene, we are supposed to solve the problem for good. Unfortunately we provide a very temporary solution. How can you expect an officer to come into a family problem that has been going on for years and solve it in 10 minutes?
Being a parent, I find it very hard to deal with families who have problems with their teenagers. It is a very important and sometime confusing stage in a childs life. It is also very confusing for a parent who sees their child change so rapidly. All of a sudden they do not talk to the parents as much as they used to, they lack motivation to help around the house, they become rebellious and they tend to test the parents.
When I respond to situations where parents declare their kids "out of control" for those reasons, I have to stop and think for a minute before coming down on the kid. I was there too, as a kid and as a parent. You have to dig deep into the cause of the kids behavior and many times you will find that it is a result of the parents extreme reaction to the changes occurring in their son or daughter.
It is important to talk to the parents and try to educate them abut the stage. It is just as important to talk to the kids and set them straight. Many parents suggest that maybe a couple of days in jail, juvenile hall or a youth camp will set their kids straight. In my opinion, it is an opportunity for a kid who has not been involved in criminal activity, to associate with criminals. At a stage where the teenager is still trying to find him/herself, they can be influenced very easily. Befriending a teen that has been involved in criminal acts would only worsen the situation.
The solution? Get the family together around the table while you are there. Have an open discussion between the parents, the problem child and other siblings residing in the house. It can only help bring out problems and solutions. Keep in touch with the family to see how they are doing and if available, suggest counseling. Remember that kids will be kids, we have to deal with it, not fight it.
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