There is no Kid Jail

This is a message for you parents out there.

Not a week goes by in which I walk into the local StarPeet’s to see little toe-headed tyke clinging to Mummy’s flowing skirt crying for a donut.  Hey, I feel the kid’s pain.  I want a donut, too; however, I’ve gotta resist from time-to-time.  I can’t be a walking cliché every day, right?

At any rate, as I stand in line to get my cup o’ caffeine, the truculent little cuss’ mom will inevitably see me standing there minding my own business.  She’ll grab her pint-sized malfeasant, spin him around, point right at me (again, minding my own damn business) and she’ll say something to the effect of, “If you don’t knock it off, he’ll take you to jail!”

Now just what in the blue hell am I supposed to do with that?  Here are my suggestions:

In the Slammerphoto © 1987 Chris Schmich | more info (via: Wylio)1. Walk over, cuff the kid, put him in the back of the car, and drive away.  All while not saying word one to Mom.  I’d drive kid to the nearest donut shop, buy him a dozen donuts and a large coffee (extra sweet), then deliver him back to what I’m sure would be a hysterical mother by the time we returned and then I’d say, “Enjoy the next few hour’s sugar-palooza.”

2. Look at the kid and say, “I’ll bet you can yell even louder than that, son.  I’ll buy you the biggest donut in this joint if you make Mom cry.”  The advantage of this over the first option is there isn’t an element of kidnapping and I’d get to see Mom’s reaction.  Mostly that second one, though.

3. Look at Mom with my patented disdainful glare and say, “Lady, your kid is seven.  How’s about you be a parent instead of making me out to be the f’n boogeyman!”  Just because the kid wants a cruller doesn’t mean you lose all your parenting skills.  Not to mention the fact that you are priming that kid for a future of fearing law enforcement.  How do you think that’ll play out, genius?

4. Smile at the kid and say, “Junior, Mom is full of shit (just for the shock factor…on both their faces).  There is no way in the world I’m taking you anywhere.  I’d suggest you obey your Mom here, though, because it’s the respectful thing to do…even if she doesn’t necessarily deserve it.”  ‘Course that one may have to be altered a bit depending on the kid’s age.  Might have to default to “you should listen to Mommy” if the kid’s three or something, but still include the idea that I won’t be doing anything to them.

What is it about parents that have no backbone using law enforcement to get their kids to mind?  Do you know how many times I’ve been to someone’s house because their kid wouldn’t go to school?  That is not a joke.  People call the cops because they don’t have the ever-loving stones to get their bratty kid outta bed and off to school.

If the MC’lets ever pull that, you can believe I’ll be driving them myself and subsequently attending every. class. they. have.  No joke.  Then again, I’m not a pushover parent.  I’m involved in my kid’s lives.  I’m raising them to respect the Wife and I.  Attitude doesn’t fly at MCPD.

Calling the cops because your 14-year-old doesn’t like third period French is…follow along here…not a police matter.  If said it before and I’ll say it again, I can’t fix in 14 minutes what it took you 14 years to screw up.

Along those same lines, telling your kid(s) that I’ll take them to jail, whether or not you are joking with them and whether or not they are even acting out, is a terrible precedent to set.  Minimally, you are laying the subconscious groundwork for the mistrust and/or fear of law enforcement.  At the worst, you may spark an instantaneous terror at being ripped from your side.  Nothing on that spectrum is positive.

You may find your attempt at humor amusing…and to you it may very well be.  To me, however, it hints at your inability to control your offspring and be a parent.  There are countless people in this world that have children.  Sadly, only a percentage of them are parents.  That is to say, any two horny idiots can procreate.  That doesn’t make them parents.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

16 thoughts on “There is no Kid Jail

  1. Well said, sir, but what has happened when you respond? I bet mom works it to her advantage, of course, but would your supervisor rake you over the coals for a snappy comeback?

    • Just last week, I told a kid, “I’m not going to take you anywhere. You can do whatever you want.” It was a humorous situation, though, so I’m not sure that counts. Although, it did serve as a reminder of all the other times it’s happened and was the impetus for this post.

      Oh…and it depends on the supervisor. 🙂

  2. man MC, so much in this post made me laugh. I’m going to start telling my offspring, “see that police officer over there? He probably will write a humorous blog post about you if you do something noteworthy.” That’ll mix them up.

    Seriously though, I love the insight you bring up in this. Well said.

  3. By the kid a cookie, and tell him police only take grownups to jail. I really liked the kidnapping idea though.

  4. I’m going to go out on a limb here and ask for you opinion based on this post. I’ve called the local PD for assistance with an unruly child precisely once. I wanted to emphasize to my daughter that theft, of any sort, is wrong and the improper way to get through life. I called the store she pocketed a bag of candy from and the manager agreed with me and said his staff would help when I brought her up to pay for the pocketed candy. When I took her up there, however, the clerk merely undercut me by telling my daughter that it was okay and she could pick out MORE candy and not have to pay for it.

    I spoke with my local PD’s non-emergency line and asked if an officer, when bored, might be willing to come over and help enforce my education moment and show my daughter what theft will do in her future. Something as an emphasis and add-on to her grounding, the discussion we had, and the putting in the garbage all of the ill-gotten candy she’d received from this episode.

    The officer who responded some time later, also a parent, understood what my wife and I were trying to do and sat my daughter down and further explained what could and would happen should she continue to steal things.

    Obviously I wouldn’t have done this if I were in a busier city, but my community is small and the officers aren’t routinely running code. In speaking with a Sergeant of the department, after the fact, he mentioned that they are mostly tasked with “community” police work, i.e. resident contact and making their presence known rather than running codes and running down felons.

    So, with that said, as a parent what would you have done in my shoes? Do you see me in the wrong by asking my local officers to help enforce a points of law and principle where I was being outright undermined at every step? Would you have been as curt and/or snide as this post suggests were you working my district when the call came through? I ask because sometimes even those of us who parent find some external validation of what we’re teaching helpful reinforcement for our offspring.

  5. Hey, I gotcha. I used to work for a pediatrician in a small town. Moms would regularly threaten their kids with “If you don’t behave the nurse is going to give you a shot:”. That didn’t go over well. Being a parent is hard work. I have a wonderful 25 year old daughter, who is married, no kids. Children seem to be decoration in some marriages. They are hard work. If you are going to have one you can stand, it is HARD WORK. Don’t have the kid because it is “time” have the kid because you are willing and able to do the work, and you make your life a lot harder if you try to do it alone.

  6. You really are hitting on my pet peeves lately. My in-laws say things to my 2 year old, like they are going to leave him at the store, or he’s going to get a shot if he doesn’t behave, or get put to bed if he doesn’t do what he’s told. It’s useless to point out to them that nurses won’t give him a shot unless he needs one, no matter how hard I try to convince them he “deserves” it, or that he will go to bed at bedtime regardless of his behavior, or that I would never ever even in jest leave my toddler in a public place by himself.

    I do occasionally threaten to sell my children to the gypsies, but that is when we are joking, never when they are actually misbehaving. I don’t joke with my kids when they are in trouble, and I don’t make empty threats. The first gives the impression I’m not serious and the second proves I should not be taken seriously.

    The one time my son met with a police officer, I impressed upon him how important it is to tell LEO the truth, no matter what. I told him no one would get in trouble for what he says except the people who need to be in trouble. I may have my own personal opinion of “LEO” around here, but I will not teach my son to generally disrespect the law and those who represent it.


    On a more serious note, I was 4 and there was this toy cowboy cap gun I really wanted at the grocery store. My mom said no. (single mom at the time too). When she wasn’t looking, I swiped it and ran out and hid it in the car when my mom wasn’t looking.

    Well, I don’t remember if a clerk saw me or if my sister ratted me out or what, but I was found out and had to return it to the shelf myself, while I was being watched. The “walk of shame”.

    Then, my mom took me to what I think was the local PD and had a chat with the officer there. I got to spend 15 minutes in a small cell where the only window was the one in the door AND the lights were off. Scary.

    Reckon this was back in 1989 – 1990, in Texas.

    At the time, I don’t recall ever being scared of the officer, but of my mom !

  8. i’ve had the opposite happen. a cop stepped in without being asked. i was trying get a package together to mail at the post office and my son (2 years old at the time) was losing his mind. i was trying to wrangle him and the package. my daughter (4 years old and exactly 0 sense of stranger danger) walks up to a man getting his mail out of his PO Box. she starts peppering him with a million questions about his mail. just as i start to holler at her to come back to me, he looks at her and says, “you don’t know me. talking to strangers is a good way to get yourself stuffed in a refrigerator.”

    i could’ve kissed him.

  9. Crazy isn’t it??? I reckon suggestions 1 & 4 are pretty good….. 😀 and I’d love to be sitting back watching while it happened….

    Seriously though, what happened to parents disciplining their kids? When I mucked up I knew that I was going to get my butt kicked, in some form or another….never did my parents use the police threat… or any other threat for that matter

    I had a similar incident happen to me yesterday (I work in a food store)

    Some kid’s are pulling some plastic off the the glass,
    Their mum says, Don’t do that, the store “people” will take you to the policeman & he’ll get you in trouble…

    Meanwhile, I’m acting like I’m not there…. an thinking to myself…..stupid woman…I’d be more like to get you in trouble for not controlling your kids anyway 🙂

  10. As someone who used to do law enforcement and now does CPS (better hours and pay), I’ve had it on both ends. I’ve actually had parents tell me they threatened their kids that if they didn’t behave, I’d take them and put them in foster care. While my first inclination is to slap the shit out of these nit wit, half brained parents, I usually look right at them and tell them that is one of the most dumbest things that they could say to their kids, as the kids would be scared to death of us if something (sexual or physical abuse by their parent) was seriously happening to them and they then didn’t want to say anything. I usually then follow it up by using a cop analogy like MC had.

    I swear – ANYONE can be a mother or father, but it takes someone with smarts to be a PARENT…..

  11. As kids my mother always taught us that police were there to help. If you get lost ask a policeman, if you need help ask a policeman. We never had to seek help as Mum always knew where we were, who we were with and what we were up to and I never once heard her use the police as a threat. However, for all those situations where kids don’t have parents with backbones I have got to say I like number 2. The look of horror on the mother’s face as the child’s volume increased would be priceless. With a bit of luck she might have to evacuate the store.

  12. You’re absolutely hilarious! I really dislike it when parents say this sort of crap. My mom is guilty of doing it, she said it to us as kids and she still says it to her nieces & nephews even after my brother (who’s a LEO) has told her not to.

    I dont know when they’ll get it into their heads that telling a kids a cop wil take them to jail if they throw a hissy fit in public is not ok.

  13. I’d love to be watching when you respond with any of these, although I think a mix of 4 and 2 would provoke the best result; “Junior, your mom’s full of shit, and by the way I’m sure you can yell louder than that….”

    I was raised with the understanding that cops are there to help you if you need them, and that if you treat them with respect, they will return it. They were never used as a bogey-man.

    Now, in my job as an EMT, I am forever grateful to you for the job you guys do. Working alongside you, and seeing the cr*p you take, daily, in the course of your job fills me with admiration. I know I couldn’t do it. Are these idiot parents churning out kids who will respect cops one day, or contribute to their ‘daily crap-o-meter’, as a result of the way they were brought up to view cops?

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