Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Drive Away Mom

I just heard a news story about a mother in New York who, fed up with her 10 and 12 year old daughters arguing in the back seat, told them to get out of the car and walk. They were apparently three miles from their home and in a business/shopping district. 

The 12 year old ran after the mom's car and the mom let her back in. The 10 year old, probably more stubborn I'm guessing, didn't run after the car and was left.  I don't get this. Why not make them stay together or make them both get in? Anyway...

The mother is an educated partner in a law firm.

The report is that a "Good Samaritan" found the 10 year old visibly upset, gave her an ice cream and then it is unclear whether this person called the police or if the mom called the police because she couldn't find her child. The details were not clear at the time I researched it. 

The mother was arrested on child endangerment charges and was not allowed to see her children. The judge today decided to allow her to see them. 

Many people seem to think it is great that she was arrested, that she has done some permanent damage to her children and should be flogged. I'm not so sure about that. To be clear, this is not something I would do, but arrested? Really? 

Was it the walking three miles or that the child had no desire to actually walk those three miles alone? What if the child had asked to walk home and the mother had let her? Would it still be child endangerment? And how far is too far then for a ten year old to walk without it being child endangerment? 

For me, it really depends on the area. From the article, it did not sound like a dangerous area and I am betting this child knew her way home.

The creepy part to me is that a "Good Samaritan" bought her an ice cream. I mean, just get out your cell phone and say, "Let's call your mother right now." Then tell the mother that she needs to come get her child. I am sure this mother would have high tailed it back there as soon as she knew her child was with a stranger and that someone was aware of what she had done. But, maybe I am giving her too much credit. I don't know her.

How many times have you wanted to do this same thing? I know moms who have kicked their kids out of the car threatened to leave them, but instead merely driven around the block. If I personally know at least three, I am sure that the numbers are huge on this one. But what about actually leaving and going home?

Should she have been arrested for this? 

I just think it is too much. I mean, bring the daughter home in a police car and give the mom a stern warning. That would be enough to have me shaking in my boots. I think the arrest and the media attention is probably more damaging to these children and this family than having to walk three miles home would have been. 

I have a shocking true story about my husband to tell you related to this issue. I say shocking only because when he told me- I was shocked. In 1987, my hubby was in 8th grade and went on a field trip to Magic Mountain. He and a friend missed the bus home and they were left there. This was before every child had a cell phone. They decided to walk home. If you knew my husband, you would know why this seemed like the most logical choice to him. Honestly, I am sure he wasn't even upset. He was probably more like, "No problem. I'll walk home."

They walked about 15 miles toward home until they decided to call someone from a pay phone. They walked from 2pm until 8pm. Can you imagine your child doing this? Do you want to know what happened to the chaperons who left these kids? 


The school did not get in trouble, it was not on the news, the parents did not even complain to the school. It was the kids' fault- they should have been to the bus on time.  

And that wasn't even in the 50's! It was the late 80's.

WHOOAAAA! Times have sure changed. There would be some serious firing going on at that school nowadays.

So, I am curious, what do you think about this "Drive Away Mama?" Should she have been arrested? Am I going too easy on her? 


Kelly's Ideas said...

I am 100% in agreement with you. I am the mother of a 11 and 12 year old so I can feel that mother's frustration at her kids. I don't know how many times I've been tempted to have them walk home or throw them in the pool to cool off. The reason I haven't..probably I'm lazy and too much in a hurry to get somewhere. The good Samaritan kind of creeps me out too.. A 3 mile walk is nothing!!!! child endangerment..give me a break!

Anonymous said...

I think the media and the law has been too hard on her. I know my Mother kicked myself and my own siblings out of the car numerous times when we were being difficult. Children are to be protected, but not coddled and treated like fragile fine china. If they can't learn to survive a few tough lessons in their life time, what kind of adults can we expect them to be.

I feel bad for that mother.

Kristy said...

I also am in agreement with you.

This actually did happen to my husband (or was it his brother?) (LOL) Their father was driving and they were traveling somewhere, and one of them cut up about something, and his father actually left them - at a store, on purpose. He intended to leave them, scare them, and come back in a few minutes - which he did. It was bad what he did, because the child really was scared, and wasn't within walking distance. Again - no arrest was made, and it's all water under the bridge now!

Lena said...

I read somewhere a while back that when a child indures somekind of pain or discomfort for misbehaving, that it builds character. Now days its hard to build any kind of character with everyone constantly in your face telling parents what to do and what not to do, how to discipline your child and how not to. I agree with you about that mom.

Gina said...

Oh my gosh... I am one of the three Brigetta knows. I am Brigetta's sister and once I told my 9 year old to get OUT of the CAR NOW!!!! He looked at me horrified and crying. It was either me crashing the car to get to him or him getting out and walking. All he wanted to do was argue with everyone! I wasn't gonna take it anymore ... we all had had it! … I mean, at the time... My gosh the only logical thing to do was make him get out of the car and away from us all! None of us could take his mean horrible behavior anymore. Now the funny part was that when I told Chase to get out of the car... my other two kids looked at me like I was crazy. And I felt crazy… But I didn’t care! Bottom-line we were only 3 blocks away from home. Now granted my kids are pretty much raised in a bubble... i protect them from everything. So it wasn’t just Chase, they were all scared. The saddest part is as I drove away.... my beautiful little boy... had no shoes on.... I got about 5 houses away... watching my little boy so sad and scared yet still mad... he was looking around for the bad guy I had so drilled into him that are looking for little children. (We live in an awesome neighborhood, practically crime free) Well I’m not really that bad but almost… and he started to walk fast towards home. As I turned the corner... I started crying; as did my other two kids in the car... we were all sad... Mom you can't just leave him.... I drove around the block and followed him far enough behind that he couldn't see me. When we got home, he was still mad but chose to keep his mouth shut and no longer argue. Now let me tell you, my daughter is now 16 and my twin boys are 12…. If ever I say… do you wanna get out… they look at me and say, no sorry mom… It was a lesson for us all. So I know how this mother feels. 3 miles is way more that 3 blocks, but I think she probably knew it was safe, hopefully. It is such a crazy feeling when you can’t get your kids to act right, especially when you’re driving.