8 year old girl sent to bedroom as punishment hangs ‘help me’ sign out bedroom window

Lefty Graves

Young girlPhoto byJennifer BurkonUnsplash

** This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as shared with me by a friend who experienced them firsthand; used with permission. **

Being a parent is never easy, even for the parent who has been a foster parent or a step-parent and raised many children. My friend Shay had recently gotten married and her new husband had custody of his 2 children. The girl was 8 years old and the boy was 5 years old.

One particularly trying day my friend had sent the 8-year-old girl to her room for misbehaving. The girl had been pinching, hitting, and refusing to do her homework. So Shay finally told her she needed to go spend some time in her room until she could be nice to her siblings and do her homework.

About an hour after Shay sent the little girl to her room there was a loud knock on her front door. Shay answered it and to her shock, it was a police officer. ‘We’ve got a report that someone needs help here’ he began. He then went on to ask her if she was aware that there is a sign hanging out the upper bedroom window saying ‘help me’.

Shay stepped out the front door and looked up. Yes, sure enough, there was a sign asking for help. She explained to the police officer what had been going on. The police officer wanted to talk to the little girl. They decided that it was going to be more effective if the police officer went up to the little girl's room.

Upon arrival, he knocked on her door and the little girl opened her door. He asked her about the sign and she told him that she had been sent to her room for pinching, hitting, and not doing her homework. The officer explained to her that pinching and hitting were considered assault and that people were arrested frequently for assault.

He then went on to tell her that if she didn’t do her homework she would have to stay at the school after school in detention and do her homework there. The little girl didn’t think that sounded like much fun. After a few minutes with the officer, she asked to go talk to her mommy.

Shay listened carefully and accepted her apology and the little girl was far better behaved after this incident. Today the young girl is a thriving teen and she has a much better relationship with her mom. What would you have done? Would you have punished her for hanging a sign out the window? Or would you have left things as they were and simply considered her punished when the police officer talked to her?

© Lefty Graves. 2023 All Rights Reserved.

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Lefty has been writing online since 2000 on various topics, including youth mentoring, addiction recovery, parenting, gardening, advocating for seniors, sustainability, farming, and an eclectic mix of other topics. She resides on a farm with her family in Northeastern Washington State.

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