Saturday, 7 November 2009

Looking Out For Your Own

I know it's common for us in the police to judge those with unruly offspring and put the blame on them for bad parenting, but it's not unknown for the children of police officers to have a scrape with the law. I can't think of anything more embarrassing then ending up inside a custody suite acting as appropriate adult for one of your own. I know numerous police parents who have gone through this, good people and it does alter your perception of dealing with young people and their parents. I look at my own boy who's a bit of a live wire and wonder how I'm going to keep him on the straight and narrow. I think I'll go down the line of keeping him off the streets totally.

I arrested a youngster years ago who was drunk and horrible wanting to fight all and sundry. He was cuffed up for threatening behaviour and kept it up all the way to the station. Once on the custody bench he calmed down and says "Do you know PC Fuller?" I said "Yeah why?". He said "Because he's my Dad". Sharp intakes of breath from everyone ensued, because PC Fuller was what is known in the trade as an old style copper. The gobby kid had been bounced through the swinging custody door by me but PC Fuller was well known for taking shit from nobody, and here sat his boy at 16 years of age.

PC Fuller duly attends the custody suite, where he usually worked to act as appropriate adult. He hears the story and asks the custody officer for a couple of minutes alone down the cells. I think it was more than a talking to from the yelps I heard. He was obviously a strict parent and it struck me then, if this is the reason some police brats rebel. I'm sure peer pressure plays a part too if they hang with the wrong crowd. It must be hard being a copper's kid.

I've been lucky with my children so far. The girls have coped pretty well with a difficult childhood, the first Mrs Stressed kept them off the streets when they were younger, which was handy as she lived in a rough pit village up North. Anyone policing North East would raise an eyebrow or two if I named it. So just the boy to get through unscathed which I suspect will be a tad harder. I've now got umpteen years of standing on the touchline at football ahead of me, but that's a small price to pay to empower another of mine to reach their potential.

PC Fuller's boy ended up dead after taking Ecstacy, we suffer the same worries as all other parents don't we?


MTG said...

The death of a young son is one of the most tragic events that can befall a family. That ecstasy deaths are quite rare is best not proffered as consolation to a policeman father.

Of the experience of fatherhood - and I do not hold myself up as any model - I liken it to a hold that may be so tight it chokes, or so loose it constitutes no grip at all.

How we best look after our own is also part intuitive and at some stage it must involve our encouragement for them to take calculated risks on their own account in a precarious world.

Dandelion said...

You may be from a different walk of life to me, but the notion of "keeping him off the streets totally" as your parenting plan seems a bit...weird, bullying, and simplistic. Are you intending to keep him under house arrest? Don't you think that would do more harm than good? What about actually engaging with him?

As a starting point, what about instilling decent values? I note you make no mention of that.

Second of all, your assumption that the default state of affairs, in which you intend to intervene, would be for him to be "on the streets", as you put it, is very worrying. Why would you think that, if you were already providing an environment for your son with sufficient opportunity and support for gainful, fulfilling and law-abiding activity?

It's also concerning to note that you would view watching your son play football, and supporting him in his endeavours as a "price" to be paid, rather than a pride and a pleasure of parenting.

Forgive me if I've misunderstood you, but this post seems to betray exactly the poor parenting attitudes that are elsewhere condemned because of the damage they do to children and to society.

If having a policeman as a parent means a father that thinks it's ok to assault you, or one that's more concerned about their own embarrassment than your wellbeing, then yes, I can imagine it would be very hard.

Tom said...

My father was a serving police officer, and my mother was the daughter of a police officer.

Simple rule. If my brother or I found ourselves delivered home by police, then we would have punishment visited upon us in extreme.

However I was born in 1960, and the peer pressure was very different then. Though I did not get into serious bother, nor indeed my subsequent siblings, I applied a similar rule to my own. They are full grown and working hard, and I think this ethos is being handed down to their children.

Simply put, police parents know, and have seen the results of poor parenting, and will I'm glad to say take extra steps to prevent the inevitable self destructive streak firmly encoded in the teenage genome.


Stressed Out Cop said...


You ever travelled across the country to stand on a touchline getting piss wet through week in week out? I did it for 7 years with my daughter who played to a high standard. I'm just starting over again .. My boy is totally engaged in beavers and numerous after school educational clubs.

I would consider house arrest like many other parents to keep him out of the clutches of bad influences. He will never be hanging on street corners because I see the damage it does. It's called tough love.

As for values. He loves his country but can make his own choices, just like my eldest who is now looking into joining the army. I'm so proud it hurts.

As for strictness and parental corporal punishment - Of course there's a line and that's what I questioned re PC Fuller (not real name)I can't help but think that some of the darlings coming through custody could do with a good hiding.

I think you have misunderstood me.


There is a time to cut them free - but not too young eh.

I personally don't like to see 5 year olds wandering the estates.

Metcountymounty said...

I've been having those conversations with the wife recently about how we'll deal with things when the little monkeys grow up. Being an army brat everyone I knew was an army brat so it was never an issue what Dad did, until he was RSM then it rather mattered a bit more what I did. As for tough love and discipline, there is something to be said to the effectiveness in the long run of punishing everyone bar the culprit in class or your Dad actually getting in trouble at work for something you did in school. It never had to happen very often as problems were dealt with by the group or when you got home. The school I went to over here after we moved back to the uk was like lord of the flies compared to a military school. There was absolutely no respect for the teachers either by most of the kids or their parents.

I still think that parents hold a much higher responsibility for their kids behaviour than the majority of the people we deal with would ever acknowledge. I went to a party the other day and one of the younger kids there was playing with a fire engine. "My daddies a fireman" he said "they're the good nee-nars. Police are the bad nee-nars". The kid was 3, that comment only comes from their parent. His one happened to be one of the very many firefighters with a CRO, but it all starts with stupid comments like that.

I'm really looking forward to going to rugby/football/kick boxing when they get older, but I'm more than aware of what some people ingrain in their kids which my kids will have to deal with when they get older.

Hogday said...

This post brought a few painful things back. In one of my police postings, a fellow sergeant had a son who turned bad. The lad was doing ok, became a police cadet and looked like he was at least on course for a reasonable start in life, whether he decided to join the police or not. Then something turned him. He was hanging out with bad people, got into body building and heavy binge drinking and, on reflection, possibly steroid abuse, and when he turned, the van was filled up with whoever we had in order to deal with him. The melee occasionally included his dad helping us subdue him, when he happened to be on duty.

The kid never changed course. One of the saddest things we dealt with was his eventual suicide. I never let his dad see the bizarre, blame and hate-filled suicide note.

As a "ballet school and freezing touchline" Dad, I consider myself very lucky that daughter and son became such wonderful people. Both were too knackered at the end of a day to hang about, `bored with their lives`.

I guess it can be done. No one taught me how, we just do our best.

Anonymous said...

Dandelion; is this the strategy you use in bringing up YOUR children? It sounds great. How are they getting on?

Tom said...

I have been there and got the 'T' shirt. I am was frozen to death, I think I could hack a ballet for one of the girls, provided it was in spain.


This drives me crazy. Having spent years telling my 3 horrors, that the nice people in blue will help you if Mum and Dad, are not there, to suddenly be appraised that we'to arrest you' is madness.

Apologies I fear I make no sense. Truth is it is easy to alineate kids, and grandkids, simply by saying "if your bad, the policeman/woman will lock you up."


Back to work.. not!!


Stressed Out Cop said...


Good stuff remember .. family first .. if the job lets you

Mr Hogday

That's so sad .. poor bloke


Luckily mine likes football not ballet .. I knew naming her after the team would help.

Blue Eyes said...

You called your daughter "Coventry City"?


Stressed Out Cop said...

Stanley actually ... as in Accrington !!