Disciplining children is par for the parental course, but what happens when these actions land a parent in jail? That’s exactly what Ronald Jackson found out firsthand after he took away his daughter’s phone.
Ronald Jackson of Dallas, Texas, found an inappropriate text message on his daughter’s phone when she was 12 years old in September of 2013, so he took it away from her. The girl’s mother, Michelle Steppe, was displeased with this move, and as a result, Jackson eventually landed in jail.
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It had been years since Steppe and Jackson were a couple, and Steppe is now married to a police officer. According to reports, Steppe insisted that the phone was hers and asked for it back, but Jackson refused. Three months later, Jackson got a citation in the mail for theft of property. He was offered a plea deal but instead hired an attorney.
The case moved to Dallas County, and a warrant was issued for Jackson’s arrest. In April of 2015, Jackson was arrested and spent the night in jail. He then posted $1,500 bail and was released, but the fun didn’t end there. They went to trial, where Jackson was found not guilty due to insufficient evidence of theft. Though Jackson won the case, he has since said that he can no longer have a relationship with his daughter or Steppe and has separated himself from them completely.
Wow, there are a lot of unfortunate angles in this story. First of all, a dad was punishing his daughter in a completely harmless and understandable fashion. Why the mom couldn’t acknowledge this still isn’t clear, though after the details of the story emerged, it seems as though her actions were fueled by spite.
Second, while this case went on for three years, there was more than ample time for both parents to surrender their egos for the sake of their daughter. Instead they both stubbornly stood their ground, and as a result, relationships have been so badly damaged that it looks as though there is little hope of ever repairing them.
Relationships don’t always work out — this is just a fact of life. But it’s particularly tricky when a couple that decides to split has a child together, as their lives are inevitably intertwined. No one said that co-parenting would be easy, but it’s such a necessity when raising children together.
Children need to feel loved and secure. They need support and guidance and proper examples of functional adult relationships to thrive to their full potential. Seeing their parents bicker and belittle each other only decays the child’s sense of stability. When adults act like children, it not only breeds dysfunction, but it also has the potential to debilitate children’s ability to nurture their own future relationships.
The bottom line is that parents need to put their issues with each other aside while raising a child together. As adults, it’s our responsibility to be proper examples for our children, and planting seeds of hate in their impressionable minds is a far cry from kosher. Parents don’t have to like each other, but they do have to work as a team regardless.