The question then was, what should the parents do with this knowledge? For this mom and dad, they knew they had to immediately contact the authorities. Their young teenage son was promptly arrested and placed into custody in a juvenile detention center, and during the arrest, authorities recovered $148 in stolen funds. Police were already investigating the crime after it was reported that a teenager threatened an employee with a knife before leaving with the cash, and the call from these parents helped solve the crime.
The local sheriff's department is grateful that these parents were brave enough to report their child's crime. And it was undoubtedly a very difficult decision. These parents realized, though, that by protecting their child from the law, they would be doing him a huge disservice. Also, it shows that these parents have done a good job instilling moral values in their boy — even though he did rob a store at knifepoint, which is a serious crime, he still knew he was wrong and confessed to the crime within hours.
As parents, we have many jobs to do, and the work can seem endless. It's all important, though. In addition to keeping our children safe and healthy and to providing love, support and comfort, we have to raise our children to know the difference between right and wrong, and we ourselves also have to be a strong moral compass for them to learn from.
We can't teach our children everything by simply talking to them (or at them). We must lead by example, showing them we really feel that what we say is the right thing to believe. The pain of turning in a child who committed a crime is great indeed; the moral example you give them when you do so, however, is even greater and far more rewarding.
For kids to learn what is moral and right, they need to have a strong example in their day-to-day lives. A child who commits a crime and confesses but who doesn't receive any punishment and is not turned in to the police will only learn that he can get away with serious infractions, and his behavior will most certainly escalate. Some day, in his future, he may injure or kill someone while committing a crime, and everyone will wonder where he went wrong and what could have been done to possibly prevent this.
Not every child will learn the proper way to behave from strong, moral parents, but if you show your kids how to live by your own morally right example, it will certainly give your child a much improved chance of being an amazing human being.
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