After Chiquita Hill says her son was “stupidly disrespectful” to his elementary school teacher, the Columbus, Georgia mom called in the police, telling Yahoo Parenting they “made a huge impact.” (Photo: Facebook).
To say that Chiquita Hill’s strategy to get through to her misbehaving 10-year-old son Sean was arresting is no understatement, in any sense of the word.
The single mother, 33, enlisted police officers to come and give the pre-teen a “shake down,” she tells Yahoo Parenting, which is what she’s calling law enforcement’s visit to their home in Columbus, Georgia on Tuesday. She detailed the incident on Facebook with photos, and told the Ledger-Enquirer how officers went so far as to put Sean in handcuffs.
“They put him in the car and let him sit and think about it,” says the mom, who also has two girls, ages 5 months and 9. “At that time, they called my daughter out and talked to her. They explained to her why her brother was in trouble and sent her back inside. Then they went back to the car and one of the officers got in and flashed the lights and started driving just a few inches.”
STORY: Why 'Biggest Loser’s’ Alison Sweeney Disciplines Her Daughter Differently Than Her Son
Hill tells Yahoo Parenting that the police made a huge impact. “Sean has always been a good child but he’s become more attentive, and the respect factor has gone back to normal,” she says. “His teacher called and delivered a very good report on him.”
Pre-intervention, the pre-teen’s attitude wasn’t making the grade, according to his teacher, whose visit to Hill’s home to discuss his behavior is what prompted mom to call in officers.
The mother told the Ledger-Enquirer that when she asked the fifth grader why he was acting up in class, he responded, “Because I wanted to and I don’t care.” So she says she decided to act, and told her son, “If you don’t care, this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to call the police.” Hill added, “He didn’t think I would do this. It hit him when they showed up at the door.”
Explaining herself on Facebook when shared photos from the faux arrest, Hill writes: “First let me say that I love my children. But … I’ll be damned if they are disrespectful to me and anyone else. I’ve been getting reports that [Sean] has been stupidly disrespectful to his teacher. So bad to a point she came to my home today. That was it for me, the last straw.”
Of the fallout, she told the Ledger-Enquirer, “Clearly he was hurt. It hurt me. I didn’t want to do it, but I had to get across to him.” Call it mission accomplished — for now.
“Scaring kids like this usually has a short-term effect on their behavior,” Amy Morin, psychotherapist and author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do tells Yahoo Parenting. “It can cause kids to 'straighten up’ for a few weeks or so, but often, the impact just doesn’t last.”
Yes, it may “open their eyes to the seriousness of their behavior,” she says, but it can backfire, big time. “Sitting in a police car for a few minutes before being allowed to go inside the house may cause a child to think that getting arrested isn’t a big deal,” says Morin. “And the experience really isn’t that bad, compared to other consequences. Plus, when parents call the police, it may also send a message to a child that says, 'My parents can’t handle my behavior at home. They need to call other people for help.'”
Instead, Morin advises considering alternative consequences first. “Making a child do community service, or taking away privileges, could send a bigger message to kids,” she says, “because the consequences last longer and make the child take responsibility for his behavior.”
But Hill stands by her move. “He is a 10-and-a-half-year-old,” she tells Yahoo Parenting of her son. “He’s going through some changes and I know that there will be more hiccups down the road. But I have no regrets doing what I did. Would I do it again? I don’t think I will have to.”