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To add your comments to this topic, click on one of the 'Reply' links below.

If ever there was a day.....
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Cindi    Posted 09-20-2003 at 18:41:07       [Reply]  [No Email]
...that I wished the earth would open up and swallow me, it was today. I got a phone call at about 2:30. It was the lady from the little Mexican store down the road. Somehow in the midst of her excited spanish/english diatribe, I got that Jake had been caught trying to steal a can of Copenhagen. The police...were on the way.

I relayed this information to Fred who was on the couch watching football.

"What do we do?" I asked, holding the phone against my stomach.

"What did we say we would do if this day ever came?" Was his reply.

"Leave him to sort it out on his own."

"Then do it."

I told the lady to do what she needed to do. I see this woman every day, she apologized profusely and I assured her that she had nothing to be sorry for. Ten minutes later I got a call from a sheriff's deputy asking me to come down there. I didn't ask why, I just said I would, and I hung up and started to put my shoes on.

"Don't go." Fred said.

"I have to go, he asked me to, and I want you to come with me." I was rushing around searching for my keys and my wallet.

"Nope, and you shouldn't go either."

I was steaming. Lazy so and so.

"Then I'll just deal with it by myself!" Out the door I went, slamming it firmly behind me.

All the way there I practiced what I was going to say. I was prepared to have to make a decision. If they asked me if I wanted them to take my son to jail, I was prepared to tell them yes.This is what he has been told would happen if he got into trouble with the police. When I arrived I found Jake handcuffed, sitting in the back of the police car. I was informed, behind the deputies hand, that this really wasn't a hanging offense, so to speak, so they had decided, collectively that he would be required to apologize and would be banned from the store unless he was with an adult.

I said, it may not be a hanging offense to you, it's not your son. He said, you might as well take him home. So I ended up bringing him home. I had done real well about not crying on the way up there, but I cried all the way home. I cried out of humiliation and shame and disappointment. I cried because I wanted them to take Jake to jail. Not because I don't love him, but because I felt that he needed to go. He needed to know what it felt like.

Jake sat there wringing his hands.

"What did Fred say?" He asked. The kids all call him Fred. Don't ask me why, he's their biological dad, they just always have.

"He refused to come with me."

"He's gonna kill me isn't he?"

"Don't you think he should?"

"Yeah....I guess so."

Then he gave me his version of the story that ended up with him admitting that he did try to steal the Copenhagen.

"Well, now you are going to be known as a thief. You are banned from a store, Jake. Do you know what that means? I have never been banned from anyplace in my life."

When we got home I went inside and Jake stayed outside, waiting to be summoned. Fred sat up when I walked in the door.


"Well what?" I was not in the mood to discuss it with him. In my opinion, he let me down.

"What happened?"

I told him.

"Well, then we need to figure out what his punishment is going to be."

"No WE don't. You could not be bothered to go down there with me and help me face this. I needed your support and you let me down. I will decide his punishment. When you go down there and deal with the sh*t then you can deal out the punishment."

He got real quiet for a few minutes and then he sat up and laced his fingers together, his hands hanging between his knees.

"I know you're upset, so I'm going to let that pass. You can assign any punishment you like, but first of all, as far as I'm concerned, he is not going hunting with me the rest of the year. Furthermore, his three wheeler is going to be sold. He wouldn't walk that far, so without it, chances are he wouldn't be in trouble right now."

"You just SAT there!" I shouted with tears in my eyes. "And let me go down there by myself!"

"That's right I did."

"That's unforgivable, Fred."

"Well, then don't forgive me. But I am not at fault here, you are not at fault. Jake is at fault. We have talked about this time and time again and we knew this day was coming and we agreed on what we would do and you were weak. You went to his rescue. Plain pure and simple. If you hadn't gone down there, he would be cooling his heels in a cell and he would be in a world of hurt right about now, and maybe, just maybe, that would have had an impact on him."

"They TOLD me to come."

"And you should have told them no."

"Well I'm sorry, I'm new at this. This is the first time I've had to go deal with a situation like this."

"I understand that, but if you remember I told you not to go."

He was right. I knew he was right about everything. If I had refused to respond they would have had no other recourse but to take him in, assuming the store owner had pressed charges, which I feel sure she would have as they have an obligation to do so when it involves a controlled substance.

As it stands he has lost his three wheeler for good, his hunting for the rest of the year and is grounded for one month from any social activities, but one thing is for certain, if there is a next time, I will not go. I will not respond. I'm hoping there won't be a next time. I hope that he has learned his lesson. While he was sitting in the police car, as far as he was concerned he was going to jail. With any luck at all that image will stay with him for awhile.

sarah    Posted 09-24-2003 at 07:46:40       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I see a certain lack of respect for anyone in authority. If he calls his biological father Fred then he's showing a definite lack of respect.
I he didn't like Dad then maybe pops or some other term but using a parents first name as a kid certainly shows a bit too much familiarity for someone so young. Maybe that's why Fred was less likely to go to the site of the crime. He's not good enough to be called Dad so why should he care? Maybe Fred figures it's your call since you didn't insist on him being shown respect when the kid was younger and learning who his Dad was & what was an appropriate term of respect.
Disrespect at home will usually lead to disrespect of the law too.

Linda    Posted 09-21-2003 at 11:58:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
Cindi, here's my two cents worth as a fellow parent. Fred is right about the punishment, and you were right to go to the "scene of the crime" at the request of the police officer.

Jake obviously has some maturing to do, and isn't responsible enough to have his own transportation, even if it is only an atv. I won't even go into the subject of how long it takes most boys to mature - I'm afraid I would scare you. LOL

As for those who advocate letting him off easier because he is just a kid, I disagree. He must be punished in a reasonable and well thought out manner and he can't be depended upon to beat himself over the head enough to beat maturity into that head. The punishment will also do the double duty of showing him you still love him, as strange as that may sound.

I went through a similar situation with my son and I opted for the tough love approach. It was the right thing to do, even though what I had to do still haunts me at times. His offense was in not taking care of traffic citations, but he learned from the experience and grew into the nicest husband and father a person could ever ask for. He is raising a daughter that he adopted and works very, very hard.

Hang in there. Give Jake hugs and let him know you still love him, but also allow him to feel the guilt he has earned. Kudos to Fred.

KellyGa    Posted 09-21-2003 at 06:19:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well, Cindi, I don't see how you could not go down there to get him. I know Shelby is still young, so I can't say I have been there,hopefully never will, but as a mother, I would go. It was, after all the first offense. I think the deafening silence was scary for him for sure. I know when that happened when I as a kid, it scared me, wondering what was gonna come next. Sometimes, my dad was too hard on me, and it made me very rebellious. Let the punishment fit the crime. I wouldn't sell the three wheeler, just take it away for as long as you see fit. If he has been brought up right, which I know he has, he will be beating his own self up about it for some time. If he did have others with him, maybe pressuring him, I would have to tell him those kids were not being a friend by getting him to do it. I hope y'all get back to a point where everything is normal around the house again soon. Normal is good, I just hate upheavals. The tension around there is strong I suspect, hopefully it will relax a little soon. The letter thing is a good idea too.

Redneck    Posted 09-21-2003 at 02:29:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hard decision.I would ride the four wheeler hunting in front of him,not sell it,and not let him hunt.He would be banned from social activities for a month.I don't want my kid in jail overnite with lord knows who.An in person apology is in order.First thing though,a trip to the woodshed would be in order.Would shed a different light on the other things.

I was wondering...    Posted 09-21-2003 at 04:01:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
Who else was thinking about the woodshed...

Dad never spanked us kids...But if my Gram had been called by the local constabulary when I was a kid?...I still wouldn't be sitting comfortably to this day...

Salmoneye, Who Only Got It Once From His Gram And Then Was Referred Back To That Day Till She Died...

Hal/WA    Posted 09-20-2003 at 21:50:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
Isn't life interesting? Cindi, I think you did the right thing and I think the punishment you list is justified. And this way your son can make his dumb mistake without getting an arrest record. I would assume that the officer will write a report and Jake's name will be listed in the law enforcement computer system. I would also suggest that Jake be required to write a letter of apology to the store and also have him thank them for not having him arrested. I am sure they could have.

I don't remember how old Jake is, but I would guess 13 or 14, considering the crime. I would also wonder if Jake was alone, or if someone else was involved or put him up to it. Copenhagen tastes awful (imo); is he trying to be a big shot among his peers by having the forbidden substance? I would be almost as upset about his trying to obtain tobacco as the shoplifting. Maybe he needs some extra education about the real dangers tobacco can bring to his life.

Hopefully Jake is someone you and Fred can talk to effectively. Impress upon Jake that you are very disappointed in his poor judgment about this situation, and that should there ever be a repeat of it, that the punishment will be much more severe. My favorite punishment to recommend for teenagers is withholding permission for them to get a drivers permit and license for a specified amount of time. If they already have the license, it can be removed from their posession by parents without the law or insurance companies ever having to know.

I once helped out one of my daughters, who as a young adult had stolen a felony amount of money from her employer. We thought this was totally out of character for her and I decided to help her. I paid a good lawyer to work on my daughter's case and loaned my daughter the money to repay her former employer in full. The lawyer was able to get the charge reduced to a misdemeanor. My daughter grew up a bunch through the situation and she has become a very responsible and successful adult. Her career and employability was not ruined by a felony conviction. She paid me back every cent that her problem had cost me, and we have become much closer than we were before it happened.

Hopefully Jake learned something by this incident and there will never be another problem. Most kids grow up and learn from their experiences. Good luck, and make Jake sure that you still love him.

LH    Posted 09-20-2003 at 21:25:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
Cindi let me give you a cops perspective, you did the right thing going when called. At least the police know youre a caring mother. And as a parent you have a legal responsibility to go when your child gets in trouble. I understand where you and fred are coming from jake let you guys down and hurt you deeply, and now yorue going to have issues of trust with him. But i have a feeling he is gonna beat himself up much worse than either of you ever can. Just remember time and love heals all

Jimbob    Posted 09-20-2003 at 20:19:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
Jale screwed up big time, no doubt. However this is his first offense.

I think the 3-wheeler should stay with 3-weeks suspension, not sold. The hunting should also have a few weeks suspension. He is going to miss that big boar hunt. I think that will get the message thru.

Afterall, the police did not want him on the small, but I agree, important offense. The second time this happens, if ever, then sell the 3-wheeler, end hunting for 3 months & ask the police to give him an overnight in the jail. My 2 cents.

I think the punishment is over reaction.

Sarah    Posted 09-20-2003 at 20:41:35       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I think it is up to Cindi and Fred, but I do think, just as jimbob said, he should be grounded off his 3 wheeler this time, then if there is a next time take it away.
I think Jimbob is kinda right.
But it is Cindi's child so whatever they say goes! I understand either way! I just want to wish you the best of Luck Cindi, Fred, and Jake.
Everyone makes mistakes. It is just we should learn something from our mistakes.
Again I will be praying for ya'll and hoping it won't happen again. Good luck Cindi!
Have A Great Day! Enjoy the hunt!:)
P.S. Cindi I really hope you don't think I am trying to judge you or tell you how to raise your children, I think you are doing a fine job at it. Alright? I was just putting my big mouth's 2 cent worth in, alright? I hope you understand! :) Sarah ( Big S):)

Jimbob    Posted 09-21-2003 at 07:14:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
Ditto on Sahras' comments.

deadcarp    Posted 09-20-2003 at 19:55:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
When i was waiting for a ride home from catechism school once, i DID help myself to a pack of smokes off the shelf. clara was in back, candling eggs in the dark room, and there weren't any customers so i got away with it. i thought. coupla weeks later i was back talking to clara in the dark room when a customer came in, she just leaned forward a bit and peeked thru a slit in the wall. which i hadn't known was there. ever since then, i was sure i'd been seen & felt guilty. if it's any consolation, i didn't grow up as a jailbird or anything - most kids try dumb stuff - "you can't punish kids too much, you can only love them too little" :)

Steve from Tn    Posted 09-20-2003 at 19:20:09       [Reply]  [No Email]
I think you were absolutely right to go.....this time. A mama does what a mama has to do. Explain to the dear boy that if there ever is a "next time", he will be on his on. I am willing to bet that there will not be a next time.

Ladyhawk    Posted 09-20-2003 at 19:20:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
I have to agree with you punishment. I also think jail time is really a great idea. I had a troubled neice live with me for awhile. It was real tough love. So after some thought about what I would do in your shoes i would add one more thing. UM....a letter of apoligy to the store owner. admitting what he had done and it was wrong and apologize for causing her a bad day and whatever else you would like him to say. Then i would take him by the hand and down to the store and hand deliver it. YEP call it embassing call it what you'd like. I can tell you one thing it really worked for me. Good luck and keep up posted.

FRED WAS RIGHT 100%    Posted 09-20-2003 at 18:58:16       [Reply]  [No Email]
Like it or not and inspite of all the punishment, You in effect bailed Him out all of which He will remember. Mom's weak,Mom will rescue Me,hence I may suffer but I fear no Jail.

I have too much first hand knowledge of this! Long story but after a Mothers continued running to the rescue I filed charges and put His butt in tha slammer for 6 Months Very good attitude adjustment!

Sid    Posted 09-20-2003 at 19:26:45       [Reply]  [No Email]
The husband is never 100% right and when we are we know enough to keep it to ourselves. First of all the deputy called for them to come to the store. Second the storeowner and the deputy decide on the punishment wich bans Jake from the store without an adult. Jake did not get of scot free and Cindi did not bail him out. I am not sure that I would agree with Fred but that is up to Cindi and Fred to work out. They have chosen how to deal with their son and I feel that they know how to deal with Jake. Jake has done wrong no doubt about it and now Jake is paying a price for his actions and Jake must decide where he is going from here. Hang in there Cindi and Fred. You too Jake we all made (make) mistakes learn from them and be a better person.

Thank you so much....    Posted 09-21-2003 at 04:14:31       [Reply]  [No Email]
everybody for all the kind words of support and encouragment. I can see, based on the responses that our reactions were probably fairly normal.

One thing I did not thinnk of though was the letter of apology. I will have him do that today.

Right now he's waking on egg shells. Last night was his dish night and he SPIT SHINED that kitchen. (smile)

I think he was waiting to get his butt torn up. I think he expected it, but Fred and I were both so shell shocked we just kind of ignored him most of the day after the punishment was listed. This is not like Fred at all, Fred usually wears his butt out first and then gives punishment so basically Jake spent the afternoon and evening waiting for the other shoe to drop. I think our silence, for him, was deafening. The letter is a great idea. The store woner had to come from thirty miles away so she deserves that. Thank you to my good friends for always being there with a pat on the back or a hand of support under my elbow, whatever applies. You guys are great.


~Lenore    Posted 09-21-2003 at 07:28:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
When my son was 12 years old, two brothers he fished and hunted with found a storage building with some cartons of cigarets. A man who supplied cigaret machines owned this old rickety building and stored them there. Well the brothers told HH about it and they decided to go and get some of the cigs. One brother was the lookout on his bike and H H and the other boy went into the building to get cigs. Seems the "lookout" chickened out and saw a car and left.
Someone must have seen the boys and called the police. I got a phone call from the police station, my boy was there. The police were real good, they put the fear in him and worked with me.
He had to "pay restitution" even though they had not gotten away with any. Seems there had been some previous theft and they were held responsible for it, too. I made him mow yards and do work to raise the money. I made him personally go in the police station to take the money each week. It was not a lot, about $50, but to a 12 yr old back then it was a fortune.

The other mother paid the money herself and refused to admit her boys were guilty. Today, unfortunately after all types of trouble, her sons are incarcerated in the Texas Penal system. I truly believe that early incident, getting caught and the punishment helped my son from getting into further trouble.

As parents we have to make decissions on how to handle things like that, even though we all hope we never will have to.

Cindi, dont let Jake quit school, he needs the structure that school gives. Just try to get him in shop or FFA and things like that to hold his interest. Jake is the one who wants to quit, isn't he?

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