Saturday, April 3, 2010

Raising other people's kids.

So once again, I find myself in the position of having to raise some other woman's child.

This time, I was investigating something in front of the local bus and train station. When that turned out to be nonsense, I went inside for a cup of coffee. (And yes, I paid full-price for it. My cop-hating readers have no need to worry about the possibility that I might have accepted a free cup of Starbucks.)

I was standing in line there when I observed a young boy maybe eight or nine years old just lie down on the floor. He was with the woman ahead of me in line, and as it turned out, she was his mother. She was begging him to get up off the floor, and he kept refusing, telling her that he was tired. So what did this adult do when the little child would not obey her commands? That's right--she continued to beg. "Please, Jeffrey. Please get up off the floor..."
But Jeffrey wasn't about to get up. It was obvious that he's comfortable disobeying and disrespecting his mom.
Then as so often happens, she saw me. "Officer, can you please make my son get up off the floor?"

Damn. How did I get wrapped up in this? Why do I have to choose between being the bad guy in the kid's eyes, or blowing this woman off in front of everyone else in the area who is now watching? What do I do if he tells me no? I can't just snatch him up by the ear like she should have done two minutes ago...

I sigh. Then I lean down and whisper to the boy.

"Hey. You see those bums over there?" I point to a couple of the local bus-station regular homeless who were slouched in the corner with their trash bags full of junk.

Jeffrey looked over. "Yeah."

"They spit on this floor. A lot."

"Oh, GROSS!" Jeffrey yells, scrambling to his feet.

Problem solved. Mom thanked me and remarked how Jeffrey is at that age where doesn't like to listen to her any more (and I refrained from telling her to learn to control her own kid) and another woman in line gave me a smile and a little "golf clap". Jeffrey was still standing when I paid for my coffee and left.

I can't help but think that it's going to be a long road for both Jeffrey and his mom unless she learns to get control over him.


LTCLC said...

*lol* That's awesome. (or awful, I am not sure yet :) )
Mommy fail!
This reminds me of a story my coordinator (the person I could go to when I had a problem with my host family, back in the day when I was an AuPair in the USA) told me:
She worked as a dispatcher (I don't recall if she did it beside the coordinator thing or before) and one day she got a call from parents to send over some officers because their 2 yo wouldn't allow them to buckle her in her car seat.

Ann T. said...

Dear Officer Krupke,
Like you, I watch in horror as people from all walks of life pass on zero in the way of principled behavior.

If mom acts like a doormat, she's gonna get stepped on. That is the truth.

Thanks for a new tactic! Spit germs, eh?
Ann T.

The Grumpy Dispatcher said...

I am reminded of a story that I'm sure you've heard before.

As a couple of officers were eating lunch at a restaurant, they overheard a mother at another table trying to get her young son to eat his peas, so he would grow up big and strong and all that.

Eventually she threatened the boy, if you don't eat your peas, I'll have one of those police officers come talk to you.

(That crap pisses me off.... what are these parents thinking, implanting cops as bad guys in the minds of their impressionable children?)

I don't remember if the kid ate the peas, but the threat was apparently not carried out.

Nonetheless, on the way out, one of the officers stopped, bent down by the boy, and told him with a friendly smile that he didn't eat his peas either, and that didn't stop him from growing up big and strong and becoming a police officer.

So there.

Jay said...

Great tactic. I wouldn’t have thought of that one. Makes you wondered if the mother was just lazy or useless when she had to get someone else to do the parenting for her. Unfortunately your success will only encourage her to continue in the same line of thought next time she has a problem with junior.
The worst parents are the ones that tell their offspring that if they continue to misbehave that they will call a policeman who will take them away and lock them up. The poor old cop then becomes the bad guy instead of the protector. When growing up I was always told that if you were lost find a Policeman. If you were in trouble find a Policeman but then we were also taught to respect our parents.

P. said...

Krupke, you rock!

Incidently, my mother would use the "people have spit on the floor" tactic on me if I were going to place something on the floor, say, a purse. She only had to say that a couple of times. To this day, it completely grosses me out when I see people let their kids, as did Jeffrey's mom, lie down or play on the floor, or walk barefoot in a public place (or even when adults do so themselves). Spit happens.

Anonymous said...

That was great!

Jackie said...

LOL! I'm going to remember that.

And I don't understand why people look to others to control their small children. Because you just KNOW in 5-10 years they are going to be trouble makers.

and as long as he was just lying there... what was the problem, kids have an interesting though process sometimes. The kid is tired, so he lies down while his mom is in line. The kid not having at pre-concieved notions doesn't see anything wrong with lying down while you're tired. LOL My mom would have just left me there. i'd come find her when I was done being silly...

ANyway that was rambly!


Sabra said...

Ah, the problem with a small child lying down on the floor of a public place is that it isn't acceptable in our society, and he was also quite likely blocking someone else's way.

Can't say any of my kids have ever thought lying down on the floor like that was a good idea, but if they had I'd have told them to get up once, and then reached down and picked them up. It's really not that hard.

Then again, people are constantly amazed by how well my children behave, as if it's a magic trick rather than simply following through.

HonkingAntelope said...

Krupke, you suck!

I was pumped for a story that had a couple of taser deployments, lots of choice language, multiple arrests, and all I got was THIS?

Just kidding - congrats on fine police work!

Melissa said...

Nicely handled! I hope mom and jr get a clue soon...

Regina said...

I used to date a cop, and when I met him for lunch or something when he was in uniform, there was always some ineffectual "parent" trying to involve my friend in her own personal drama with her kid.

It was offensive.

I like how you handled it. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's better than what I've been part of! Where I work I've had mothers tell their kids "If you don't behave, that cop's going to shoot you!"