If you are tired of your 12-year-old being angry with his brother or you want to convince your 15-year-old not to answer anymore, think twice about using the police as a scare tactic. Wanting to scare your child into behaving is not a good reason to call the police. There are more effective ways to communicate with your child.
Here are seven reasons why calling the police for bad behavior is not a good idea.
There may be times when you may need to call the police, such as when there are security issues, illegal activity, or dangerous behavior.
Show that you can’t handle the situation
Calling the police reinforces the fact that he has no choice effective in discipline your child at home. It also shows that you need the police to serve as your backbone.
Discipline gives children a sense of security. Children need to feel confident that they can keep the situation under control, even when they cannot control themselves. By going to the police, your child may lose respect for his or her authority.
Your child may not learn a lesson
If you call the police for a misdemeanor, such as when your child refuses to stay in pause , the police will do nothing but talk to your child. The police usually warn the children or tell them to «behave well», but they can’t do anything else.
Also, receiving a warning can be returned. Children sometimes come to the conclusion that calling the police is not a big problem, because nothing has happened to them. It is possible that lose privileges for 24 hours is more effective than a short reprimand.
Scary tactics do not create lasting changes
Scary tactics tend to be effective in the short term, but they lose their effectiveness over time. Children can change their behavior for a few days, or even a few weeks, after the police intervention. As the fear disappears, the old patterns of behavior may return.
Also, the children quickly realize that being called by the police only scares them for a few minutes. The longer-lasting consequences are more likely to be effective. .
Stop the police from doing their job
Remember, the community police force has many other important tasks. The role of a police officer is to keep the community safe. Calling the police at home to argue with your child prevents them from doing their job.
The result could be in your hands
When you call the police, you may not have control over how they respond. Your answer will depend on your child’s age and the severity of the problem. Even if you say you don’t want your child charged with a crime, you may not have a choice.
Sometimes, state laws require that taxes be filed after the phone call is made. From there, the judiciary has control over what happens to your child, not you.
Although there are situations that justify a call to the police, consider the possible consequences before picking up the phone.
It could change your relationship
Communicating with the police about your child’s misbehavior can affect your relationship, especially if the situation was not dangerous or life-threatening. Your child may feel a deep sense of betrayal and may lose confidence in you.
A damaged relationship with your child can lead to aging behavioral challenges . Instead of believing that you are there to help them, your child may assume that you are trying to get them.
The police do not offer treatment
If your child’s behavior is serious enough to consider calling the police, seek professional help . Your child may have a behavioral disorders , a mental health condition or you may just need a different approach to the discipline.
Unless it is an emergency, talk to your child’s pediatrician and ask a therapist. It is important to rule out causes such as ADHD or TND , which are more likely to respond to treatment than police intervention.
What to do instead of calling the police
If your discipline strategies do not work and you feel that your child is out of control, you may need to reevaluate your approach. Start by talking to your child’s pediatrician. Providers often have access to parenting resources, classes, and support groups that can be beneficial.
Parents often consider calling the police because they feel they have no options. Support groups and parenting courses can expand your discipline toolkit and give you ideas on how to handle difficult situations with your child.
When to call the police
When children are actively threatening to harm themselves or another person and have the means to do so, steps must be taken to keep everyone safe. In some circumstances, this may mean calling the police.
You may need to call the police if you find out that your child has been involved in criminal activities. For example, if you find stolen goods or evidence of a crime, contact the police. Failure to do so could lead to legal issues for you and your family.
If your teen is already involved in the court system, he or she may have specific instructions on when to contact the police. For example, a breach of the coverage stage could be a serious problem. Make sure you follow the instructions they gave you.
A word from Verywell
Sometimes parents can be overwhelmed by a child’s behavior, and in the heat of the moment, it makes sense to call the police. However, unless your safety, the safety of your child or the safety of someone else is at stake, stay away from the situation for a few minutes and allow yourself to calm down. Once you think clearly, you can make the best decision for everyone involved.