You hear about parents who try to spook their children into behaving after they've caught them in the midst of bad behavior. Often, it involves calling the police or some other frightening person to come scare their kid straight. It's like the real life version of, "And that's why you always leave a note!" from Arrested Development.
I happen to think these tactics are generally overly cruel, but I never thought I would hear of a story in which the parent trying to teach their kid a lesson actually ends up embarrassing themselves. Here we are, though, thanks to a new post on Reddit's "Am I the A-hole?"
A dad explains that he has a daughter in the sixth grade and that he gives her a few dollars every morning to buy lunch. "In the last few weeks," he writes, "several times I have noticed that I am missing a little bit more money than usual. So, this week, I planted a 20 dollar bill before my daughter took her lunch money out. Sure enough, she took it."
I get it. Your kid is stealing money from you. You're obviously suspicious about what's going on here. But you're an adult, and you are her guardian. So you should do the adult thing and sit her down and talk to her about it. That's not what this dad did, though. He jumped right to a very dramatic and over-the-top solution.
"I called the police," he writes, "and asked them to come with me to the school so that we could teach my daughter a lesson." He didn't even have them meet him at home! He decided to teach his poor daughter a lesson at school, in public, with the cops. Horrifying.
Two officers pulled the poor kid out of class and confronted her about the stolen money. If I was this little girl, I would have been mortified and burst out into tears immediately.
She told the officers that there was a bully who'd been stealing her lunch money and forcing her to buy her lunch. She also explained that she had been buying lunch for a friend who couldn't afford it. How's that for a lesson, dad?
According to him, both the bully and the friend confirmed that they'd been taking money from his daughter.
Despite completely being owned by his own kid, this dad didn't seem all that sorry. He writes, "My daughter was silent on the way home, and I informed her that I was just trying to teach her a lesson, that stealing is wrong and can get you in a lot of trouble, and that in the future she needs to speak to myself or her mother if there are issues at school and we would be happy to help her resolve them."
These are, of course, all things that he could have told her if he'd decided to handle the situation himself and let his kid explain herself instead of having police officers drag her out of class.
Understandably, his wife flipped out when she found out what happened. She told him this was "a one-way ticket to estrangement" from their daughter in the future and that they should have just asked her why she was taking the money. He is insistent that she would have lied about it if they had talked to her about it themselves.
Something tells me this isn't the only terrible parenting decision this dad has made. He doesn't seem to have any concept about how much trust he's broken with his daughter, who is now apparently terrified her bully will retaliate and scared she may have lost her friend for outing her financial issues.
Commenters were similarly taken aback that his first inclination was to humiliate his daughter in public and waste the time of police officers. "Your daughter will never trust or respect you again, she knows she can't," one person writes. "You should have talked to her about it first."
"Not to mention she should feel confident in going to the police when she's in trouble. She has most likely lost her trust in them..." another writes. It was just such a startlingly bad decision no matter which way you look at it.
One commenter didn't mince words, and they pretty much nailed it: "As a parent myself, I say do your f--king job and parent your child. Don't ask the cops to do it for you. What the actual f--k where you thinking? Or maybe you weren't thinking? And what makes you think it's OK to carry out such an asinine punishment without consulting your wife?
"Yes, if it's not perfectly crystal clear at this point, you are 100 percent in the wrong. Your daughter deserves an apology, her friend deserves an apology, your wife deserves an apology for you going rogue, and your community deserves an apology for you wasting their tax dollars."