Follow Up: Mom, I Stole A Piece of CandyAug 9, 2000 Write an essay on this topic.
Quite a few members asked me to write a follow up on the events my son went through after going through a Scared Straight program.
A basic review on what happened: My son had told me the truth that he stole a piece of candy from a store. I returned him to the store, to apologize, pay for the candy and to do a few minor chores for them. Afterwards I made arrangements with the police department to have my son understand the whole problem of what stealing can result in. Jail. This was under the advice of his counselor and from pass experiences working with teenagers who have been in trouble. A few people gave me credit for doing this tough love program, others thought I was a cruel heartless Mother. After reading this, you tell me, and then ask yourself, what would you do?
PS> I didn't holler or spank my child. I talked to him and showed him the errors of crime.
Monday morning at 9:00 A.M. a police car pulled up in front of our home. Inside was my brother-in-law, a cop. I waved to him to come inside.
Inside sitting at the kitchen table was my 11 year old son. My brother-in-law and son spoke for about a half hour. Not as uncle to nephew, but as a cop to a child.
I stayed on the side lines and kept myself quiet. I nodded a few times in agreement at what was being said.
What was said.
The police officer explained to my son that at the age of ten a child can be locked up in juvenile hall, a jail for teens, for stealing, hitting parents and causing a disturbance. He explained all three of these with my son in mind, since these are three problems my son had. (Though this was the first time my son ever stoled something. It was time to stop before it got carried away.)
He explained what the procedures were when someone did a crime. The photos, the fingerprinting and the clothing they have to wear. No toys, people can be mean in jail and that sometimes kids don't get to go home to parents but can be put in a home.
The Trip to Jail
My son had been in the front of the police car several times, but never in the back where criminals go. So this time, he went in the back. He didn't think twice about it at the time.
(I showed up in my own vehicle there to meet them. Along with my son's counselor.)
Inside my son was photographed with a card that said.."Test" and then was fingerprinted. (the fingerprints are in file now and I like that idea since if anything ever happened to him, the police department has a record of him. This was something his school was going to do next month, but now that it is already in file, he will be able to help the other students understand not to move their hands while they are getting fingerprintted.)
He was then taken into a private room with the juvenile detective and they spoke for awhile. The detective explained to my son the rights and wrongs of society. That stealing is not right and the effects it causes on tax payers and eventually on the thief himself. (that eventually people will not trust them and they have problems making friends.)
My son then was escorted through the adult ward. There he met a man in his late 30's who was locked up for the third time for stealing. The man was very nice and talked to my son by kneeling on the floor in front of him and told him his story. That he started stealing when he was 11, got away with it and started to steal more and more, then got caught when he was 15 and went to "kid jail". When he got out at 16, he kept on stealing thinking he was too cool for the cops to capture him again. At 21 he was in jail again...for a year.
Then at 26 for stealing again. Three years in prison. And now again and this time he was to go to prison for up to eight years. He told my son that he will not be able to hug his mom or his wife and kids and that was the hardest thing...being away from his family.
Afterwards he was escorted to the juvenile ward. He was met with yelling and a fight going on. Two kids were going at it in the hall, we were quickly escorted out till it was quiet. While the fight was in progress, the detective explained to my son that most kids think they are cool for being in juvie, but the end results is that most of them get beat up there and most don't go home right away.
After a quick walk through of the ward, my son was put into a cell room, and the door shut. (not locked) He stayed in the cell for three minutes by himself. When he got out he was brought back downstairs and we all talked in a room. The cop, one of the guards from the childrens ward, the counselor, the detective and myself and of course, my son.
It was a good talk about crime and effects resulting from it. My son asked many questions and they were anwsered for him to understand. Some questions regarded the food in jail, some about playing. Other questions were asked about stealing...is it ok to steal a penny from off dad's dresser and other similiar questions.
After the talks, he shook hands and then gave all of us hugs. He gave me the hardest hug and with tears in his eyes, he said, "Mom, I will never steal again. I was wrong and I am sorry. I love you."
I hugged him back and told him how much I love him too.
We went home and since that day, this household has been in peace. He has even stopped ordering me around and screaming if he doesn't get his way. He hasn't thrown anything, or try to put his hands through windows.
(Note: my son is bi-polar and OCD with rage disorder. He has many behaivorial problems that he cannot help but gets plenty of attention and help along the way. I use to be a mental health counselor and though not his primary counselor, I do guide him along his path of growning up as a mainstream citizen.)
My son's own words about his experience.
I learned that stealing is real wrong. Stealing can put you in jail away from mom and dad and I don't want to go to jail. I can't play with my toys there or watch movies. I have to eat icky food there if I go. I will never ever steal again and I will follow the rules in my mom and dads house because they make rules to help me, not to be mean to me. My mom helped me learn that what I did was not nice and I hurt her, dad and grandmas when I steal. I also hurt myself because I am not a bad person. I am a good boy and stealing don't make me a good boy but will make me be a bad boy. Mom always says that I am not bad, just the way I acted was bad. My mom loves me and always tells me the truth so I believe her. I promised her, my uncle and the detective that I will never steal again and that they can be proud of me. They said they were already proud of me for being honest. I will always tell the truth because lying is bad also. Stealing and lying is wrong and I plan to tell the kids in my classroom that it is and what will happen to them if they steal too.
(My son is 11 years old and I trust him and love him more then life itself. I am proud of his behaivor and proud that he understands that once in awhile, Mom and Dad has to have tough love. He learned a valuable lesson from this one incident and I know in my heart that I never have to worry about him stealing again, he knows the reality of it now.)
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