When Tough Love Is BestJan 8, 2001 Write an essay on this topic.
Imagine this: you are the mother/father of a 39 year old "child" who is in jail for the tenth time for some kind of drug offense. On the first nine occasions that you received a call from some jailer or bondsman, you rushed on down and posted bond for junior. You even hired a lawyer for this obvious misfit to a decent society. This time you put your foot down: no more money for this "child" who has never really grown up.
Sound preposterous? I was court appointed several years to the son of one of my town's most prominent families. You know the type. Live in the country club. Drive a Mercedes and a Lexus. Support the arts and the local golf tournament. Seen regularly at church and generally viewed as pillars of the community.
When I met my 39 year old client, my first question was why he needed a court appointed lawyer when his folks were the Bill Gates's of Odessa, Texas. We were in a tiny visiting room in our local jail which contained one graffito-filled table and two chairs with one uneven leg on each. A single bulb added to the stark realism of the scene and my client simply shook his head, smiled ruefully and replied, "I guess they've finally wised up."
His troubles with the law had begun as a wild teenager who could not get enough of the good times that his parents' money could buy him. First it was beer, then marijuana, then cocaine, then speed, and finally heroin. By the time junior was 25, he'd already been in prison three times but his folks just kept forking out the bucks.
I realize that this epinion does not necessarily fit into the category of disciplining "children" except that I believe that if my felonious client had been told "No" after his first offense at 17, then his life might have been different. If he'd been told "No" and actually disciplined when he was younger, then he might have been a decent citizen. His case is even sadder because he was a very likable person. I'm not kidding. Sober or off drugs you had to like this guy.
I don't know if spankings or timeouts were ever tried with this man, but I do know that our children are our children for life and sometimes the best answer is "No" even if it means leaving a child in jail.
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