Cops and kids: 3 keys to dealing with "out of control" children
Many parents just don’t know how to deal with an unruly or uncooperative child — all too often, that responsibility falls to police
Cops and kids are a natural combination. We all know that police officers do so much good in our communities — we’re SROs, child abuse investigators, juvenile officers, and gang specialists.
We also work with youth informally, through afterschool programs, Special Olympics, youth sports, Explorer Scouts, and many other worthwhile endeavors.
Most cops have a natural ability to deal well with kids, but when you get that call to assist a parent because Johnny is getting out of hand, don’t let complacency turn a citizen assist into a deadly assault.
Times Have Changed
Nowadays that’s called “domestic violence.” Kids today aren’t allowed to “play rough” on the playground — if one child strikes another and the victim fights back, they both get suspended from school. Today, kids are taught that they don’t have to tolerate corporal punishment at home, but if my dad thought that my smart mouth deserved to be countered, I might get the palm of his hand to the back of my head.
It was his parental right. And yet I can’t tell you how many calls I’ve been to as an officer, a detective and as a sergeant to deal with “out of control” children who simply needed a little parenting.
Let’s face it: Many parents just don’t know how to deal with an unruly or uncooperative child.
Let me be clear, I am NOT advocating child abuse, true sibling domestic violence, or uncontrolled school-yard brawling. In 29 years as a cop, I’ve seen more than my share of beaten and broken kids, and I’ve also seen parents who were bullied and battered by their own teenagers. Like many of you, I’ve also been sent to a “domestic” or an “unknown problem” that turned out to be an 8-year-old girl who was refusing to go to school, or a 12-year-old boy who was grappling with his 10-year-old brother over an X-box.
Stay Alert, Stay Safe
Like so many of you, I spent much of my career working with kids, and like you, I know that working with kids is so vital, so frustrating, and yet so often, so rewarding. We’re all part of a warrior profession, and one of the most important roles a true “warrior” has is to protect the weak, the young, those who can’t protect themselves. But we also have a duty to protect each other and to protect ourselves.
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