Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Parents Turn to Turning in Lawless Sons

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Parents Turn to Turning in Lawless Sons

Article excerpt

Sooner or later, parents have to deal with an ethical or moral quandary thrust upon them by something their kid has or hasn't done.

The issue might be something like whether to ghostwrite a son or daughter's personal essay for a college admissions package that has been put off until the last minute.

Or maybe your kid is part of a circle of goofs who are a little too chummy with the local weed dealer. You know something's up because your kid always smells like a jug of mouthwash after giggling uncontrollably with friends for several hours in a locked bedroom, but you look the other way.

Maybe if your kid were mainlining heroin or meth, you'd think about picking up the phone and calling authorities, but even that would require serious soul-searching. Why risk an unforced error by getting your kid involved with the criminal justice system?

But what do you do when your son or daughter is a criminal? If your child turns up in a surveillance video on the local news robbing a home or business, would you call the police? Recently, a Houston mom turned in her 14-year-old son after recognizing in a surveillance video that he was the one burglarizing a home and stealing electronic equipment worth thousands of dollars.

"Just tell all the mothers out there that if their son does this, turn them in," the embarrassed mom told a television news reporter. "It's a tough lesson and it hurts, but it's for their own good."

A more dramatic example of this kind of tough love occurred last week in Chicago. When the local news showed subway video footage of a 15-year-old involved in the brutal sexual assault and robbery of a woman, the boy's mother recognized her son and called the police.

The boy stole $2,000 and an iPhone from the victim and admitted to the police that he blew most of it on Air Jordan jumpsuits and candy. His mother didn't tell the media why she turned him in, but she knew that she hadn't bought hundreds of dollars' worth of clothes for him and that he doesn't have an independent income.

The boy's mother obviously loves him enough to make sure he answers now, rather than later, for a horrendous crime that put Chicago on edge. …

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