Jay Lenkersdorfer

One of the daily routines I go through is sifting through the police reports to screen them for any items of interest that should appear in the paper. Fortunately, the majority of the time there isn’t much happening that is worth reporting, but once in a while there is a storyline that truly captures the imagination.

Recently there was a report of a gun being found by a citizen who wanted to turn it in to a deputy. Thankfully, not long after reporting the gun was found another person called to say that he had lost a gun. That mystery was solved quickly but others take more time.

Of great concern to me is the growing number of calls where an adult is complaining about his child or grandchild being so out of control that the only recourse is to get the Sheriff’s office involved.

The very thought of this should concern all of us because it means we are headed for a terrible showdown that will overflow from our homes to our schools, churches and everywhere else there is a kid trying to make it in the world. Parents need to fill the role of nurturing their children and this includes discipline when and where it is appropriate.

It wouldn’t be proper to list names in this column, but there are so many instances where the same kid is being removed from home and sent to Juvey where he or she waits for a court date. This revolving door simply plugs up the system. In one specific situation the grandparents are the ones raising four kids while their deadbeat children, the parents to the four grandchildren, spend their time bingeing on drugs and alcohol.

It is a tremendous burden for the grandparents to take on this role, especially since several of the children have behavioral issues that were no doubt tied back to their parents’ drug and alcohol use during the pregnancy. I applaud the grandparent’s interest in helping raise their own grandchildren but I wish their own grown children were forced into hard labor for as long as they can’t take care of their own children.

Every week or so there is a report of a kid that is acting out and the parent or guardian wants the sheriff to come by their house and “scare” their child into compliance with the rules. In every instance that I can recall the answer is always the same, “We don’t scare children!”

I have read police reports where a grandparent is trying to get their automobile back from a family member who borrowed it weeks earlier. Getting that vehicle back isn’t always the simple task you would think it was, especially when permission to borrow the vehicle was granted on the front end. I have read about situations where a loved one wants their brother, sister, grandson, granddaughter, uncle, (you get the picture) to move out of the spare bedroom that was supposed to be used for just a few days, but has gone on for six to eight weeks. In these cases, the person who owns the house must go through the same process of evicting their loved one that a landlord would have to use to remove a tenant who wasn’t paying rent.

These situations are so sad because it shows a complete lack of courtesy toward the person that has been so forthcoming with help. In these situations, I am sure that the person getting the help has been given so much over the years that they simply feel entitled to the car, the free rent, the spending money, or whatever else the loved one was willing to give out.

In all these situations I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes, though I am unsure today as to who wrote it. It goes like this: “The way to make your child’s life easy . . . . is not to make it too easy.”

It’s a simple message and could apply to a 60-year-old child as well as a 6-year-old child. For an individual to have arrived at this point in their life they must have lived a pretty easy life. Far too often it is the parents who want a better life for their child so they give them everything they want.

When a parent or grandparent gets to a place financially where they can provide a fancy phone, a nice Mustang automobile, the best clothes, etc., it is often asking too much for them to allow their child to struggle, but in giving them everything they are setting them up for a much bigger failure down the road.

My advice is simple – don’t make your child’s life too easy, and moreover, stop expecting the County Sheriff to discipline your kids for you.

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