Alaska editorial: In praise of Juneau parents' tough love

Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008

T wo young men learned an extremely important lesson this month. Thanks to their parents, each learned the meaning of the word accountability.

A 21-year-old Juneau man probably is pretty angry with his father, because dad turned him in to the police after learning his son had stolen checks and a credit card from him. The son ended up with a six-month jail sentence after the father pleaded with the court for leniency.

Apparently, this young man had not only stolen checks from his father, but from other people, and was caught only after his dad turned him in.

Another Juneau man, age 19, was turned in to authorities by his mother after she found handguns in their home. It turned out that her son had broken into two homes and stolen not only the guns, but a video camera. That teen received a year in jail for his crime.

Many parents wouldn't turn their own children in for crimes, even though the law requires them to do so. It's understandable; when our kids are in trouble, that protective instinct kicks in, and we want to do everything we can to help them.

But the above two parents were, in fact, helping their children. Those parents understood that for the young men to succeed in life - for anyone to succeed - they need to take responsibility.

In these cases, that means the young men need to serve their time, pay their fines, take full advantage of any applicable programs offered by the Alaska Department of Corrections while they are in jail, behave well to reduce their time inside, and then, when they are released, keep their noses clean.

They also need to thank their parents. We certainly do.

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