Boy calls 911 to delay bedtime: How do your kids put off bedtime?

The Associated Press is reporting that a 10-year-old boy called 911 because he didn’t want to go to bed.  Here’s the story:

From The AP:

“BROCKTON, Mass. (AP) — Police in Massachusetts say a 10-year-old boy called 911 because he didn’t want to go to bed.

“Brockton police say the boy made the emergency call just after 8 p.m. Wednesday and told the dispatcher he was calling to report his mother because he did not want to go to bed.

“There was no emergency.

“The Enterprise ( http://bit.ly/YoKmJZ ) reports that according to the police log, an officer went to the boy’s home and explained to him when it’s appropriate – and when it’s not – to call 911.

“No one was charged.”

Per our discussion the other day about schools over-reacting and over-punishing, I am glad the police used it as a teaching moment and not as a punishment moment. I am actually kind of surprised no one was charged with anything.

What do you think: Should the boy have been charged or was a firm lecture from an officer just the thing?

How do your kids put off bedtime?

52 comments Add your comment

A

February 22nd, 2013
6:18 am

I have a 10-year-old boy, and at that age they should know what 911 is and when it’s appropriate to call that number. Maybe it doesn’t warrant police action, but I would hope he’s grounded or similarly punished by his parents. Thankfully my kid has been a great sleeper since the age of 5 months and never puts up a fight at bedtime.

homeschooler

February 22nd, 2013
6:26 am

Agree with A. This is not a 5 yr old who just learned how to call 911. At 10 he should be fully aware that that was not appropriate. My kids did great when they were little. They didn’t start trying to put off bedtime until about 8-10 yrs old. Then it was just constant getting out of bed to tell me something, get water etc.

motherjanegoose

February 22nd, 2013
7:58 am

So not funny to me. The fact that he thought he could challenge his parents and call “the authorities” about going to bed is telling. I am working on a piece about kids being tired and needing their rest, as I see way too many kids who look like they have no bed time. I also have a piece about stinking and that kids need to brush their teeth and take a bath. My two knew that we had baths every day and brushed our teeth. Having 25 children in a classroom with 10 not having a bath is not a pretty smell. I do remember my son taking a flashlight to bed to read his books and getting caught but calling 911 is over the top to me. .

Mayhem

February 22nd, 2013
8:09 am

Our neighbor’s granddaughter has NO structure at all. She stays up as late as she wants, eats what she wants, when she wants. She dictates all that goes on in their home. She is 4. She screams at her Mother, and her grandmother, and they do exactly as she says. This child is headed for BIG trouble…..

Mother of 2

February 22nd, 2013
8:11 am

Mine used to stay up talking to each other and read with a flashlight in bed. I’m happy that the local police had the time to go to the house and educate this child.

motherjanegoose

February 22nd, 2013
8:16 am

@ Mother of 2…if police were going to houses to talk to children about bed times, they may not be available for real emergencies. Perhaps I am the only one who thinks this.

Georgia

February 22nd, 2013
8:21 am

MomsRule

February 22nd, 2013
8:21 am

The child in the story is running the household.

My brother threatened to call child protection on my Mom a couple of times when he was being told to do something. She would pick up the phone while offering to dial it for him saying, “Good! I could use a break for a few days!”

Funny. He never called.

Mayhem

February 22nd, 2013
8:34 am

We always allowed the kids to stay up way late on Fridays & Saturdays, back when they were in school. But the rule was, if there was any problems with bedtimes Sunday – Thursday, they were not allowed to “bop till they drop” on Fridays or Saturdays, and they had to be in bed at the normal school nite time, while the rest of us stayed up and played. It worked for the most part.

But we never had too many problems getting the kids to bed on time. They knew there was a treat at the end of the week……

catmom

February 22nd, 2013
8:41 am

When I used to complain to my parents, they told me I was free to call DFCS anytime (I never did).

I’d like to think the officer made an impression on this boy. At age 10, he should have known better than to misuse 911. And I hope the parents punish him for this. But I kind of question what kind of parents they are anyway that their son thought it would be okay to use 911 in this manner.

FCM

February 22nd, 2013
8:45 am

@ MomsRule my mother did the same thing. Oddly the call never was made.

@MJG…I loved Savannah. Hope you enjoy it. Is your son working at the intersection Broughton and Bull? I am sure there are others he could be at, but we were at that particular pharmacy chain location over the weekend.

Mine try to dictate the house. They find themselves sitting in the middle of the bed for a time when it happens.

I agree with those who said 10 is too old for this nonsense.

helen

February 22nd, 2013
8:51 am

I’m willing to bet that the 10 year old is out of control. My son’s bedtime is at 8:30. Around 8:29 he suddenly wants water, a snack or has suddenly forgotten to tell me something which are all ploys to stay up a little longer. I tried the same thing as a kid and my parents never fell for it either. On weekends he is allowed to stay up until 10. Kids need structure and boundaries. Otherwise, the home will be in chaos.

Real Life

February 22nd, 2013
9:07 am

I agree with those saying at 10 years old that he would know what 911 is for. Should he have been arrested? No. But then the focus of this conversation should not be whether or not the child should have been arrested but about the apparent lack of structure and discipline in that home. That a 10-year-old felt confident enough in what he was doing to call 911 about his bedtime shows that parents seemed to be enforcing a rule that night as opposed to many other nights.

Evading bedtime is a time-honored tradition. Most children try it at one time or another but most would never call the police or make the evasion into a major incident. Such behavior should have serious consequences at home for this child. And it should be a wake-up call for the parents who obviously have some work to do at home as well.

motherjanegoose

February 22nd, 2013
9:27 am

@FCM…I have been to Savannah a few times before and find it fascinating. My son is on his last rotation and is at a hospital. He was there once before and they asked if he could come again. He will be finished in a few weeks and then buckle down to study for the licensing test.

I actually prefer St. Augustine and would love to have a condo there. We are looking into it but it would be better for us to wait until both of ours are out of college and we have paid our home here off ( 7 years). Interest rates are so good that we are checking things out now. I have clients there too. I know lots of people who would rent it from us, if we decided to take that option in the summer. I like to go in the spring and fall.

Brown Eyed Girl!

February 22nd, 2013
9:33 am

I might have had the cop take him to the station! My boys are in the bed between 9:00 and 9:15 on school nights. We let them stay up later on Friday and Saturday nights! Of course, my youngest always ask for “a sip of water” and he is the one that fights sleep more than my 9 yr old. He may try us at times, but he knows we don’t play! When your kids act crazy, sometimes you have to act crazy back at them!

jarvis

February 22nd, 2013
9:44 am

TEN? What’s that 4th or 5th Grade?

catlady

February 22nd, 2013
9:48 am

I think it could have been handled in a way that might have made more of an impression on him. As his parent, I know I would have a made an impression!

If you are firm, you hold the rules as non-negotiable, and you do not grant the child authority over things that are not appropriate (ie, they think they are in charge), you will have few bedtime problems. My kids went to bed when I told them to (same time every night). I could not make them go to sleep, but I could turn off the lights and had the authority to keep them in their beds. I think it is silly for parents to have this problem when their children are young—YOU are the adult! If you are not in charge then, you never will be! Apparently this 10 year old had not been required to grant his parents authority.

A reader

February 22nd, 2013
10:07 am

I never gave my daughter a set bedtime because I knew it would become a power struggle. And yet she was in bed by 9-9:30 every night. She never asked for a sip of water and called me back 10 times to ask a question or any of the other stalling tactics that kid with rigid bedtimes like to employ. I would simply say “Ok, let’s go to bed.” and we would go get her ready for bed.

justmy2cents

February 22nd, 2013
10:20 am

That certainly would have successfully delayed bedtime in my household- for the butt whipping that kid would have received. I’d even let the nice officer supervise it, so snowflake couldn’t turn around and call again for child abuse. SMH. The inmates are running the asylum. At our house, my youngest just moves realllllllllllly slow when it is teeth, potty, bed time. We just tell her to quit procrastinating and off to bed she goes.

FCM

February 22nd, 2013
11:00 am

@MJG we are looking at St Aug for our next trip. Probably sometime next year. They went when they were babies/toddlers. I did not get to enjoy much more than the condo and the beach.

When we go down we will certainly do the beach but also at least a tour to get a feel for the history.

We did not get to use one set of e-tickets (ran out of time) in Savnnah, so I am already trying to find a time to go back to use them.

HB

February 22nd, 2013
11:11 am

I love that the officer showed up to lecture the kid — hopefully that freaked the kid out enough to obey bedtime rules for at least a while. I trust that the officer had nowhere more important to be that night when the call came in and could easily dash off to an emergency if called.

ME

February 22nd, 2013
11:25 am

I agree with @justmy2cents in that such an action would have delayed bedtime for that night! I don’t ever recall having many issues when bedtime rolled around. All of ours, I suppose, knew we were not bluffing. Yes, they would attempt the occassional stall tactic but these never worked for them.

oneofeach4me

February 22nd, 2013
11:37 am

No the boy shouldn’t have been arrested, but at the same time I think it depends on if it is repeat behavior or not.

It’s cool that the Police Officer went to the home to confront the kid. Being that the boy told the 911 operator that he was calling due to not wanting to go to bed she knew it was not an emergency so they didn’t have to send anyone out. My guess is the officer made that choice on his own, and even though officers are often busy “fighting crime”, there is a type of policing called community oriented policing that requires the officers get involved in what they could see as a potential problem in the future.

My kids don’t necessarily LIKE going to bed, but they don’t continually get out of the bed once put there either. My son is always on the move, but once we get to book number two.. he is ready to close his eyes.

My daughter always loved her sleep, but something about middle school makes her want to stay up later, maybe because the bus comes an hour and a half later than it did in elementary. She was told bed time for her is 10 pm and no later and that means IN the bed by 10 with lights out. Well, the past week or so, I have noticed she was still up at 10:30 pm almost 11. Needless to say she was pretty irritated and surprised when I told her last night that her new bedtime for the next week is 9 pm and if she can show me she is responsible with that bed time then we may move it back to 10 but that will all depend on her.

beth

February 22nd, 2013
11:37 am

I never made the time on the clock the focus of our bedtime routine. My kids are 5 and 7, and they never fight me on going thru the bath/bed routine. They are almost always in bed by 8:30pm, but if they stay up til 9p or 9:30, I don’t make a big deal about it as I feel like we need a little built in flexibility (especially during the holidays when they are playing all the christmas classics on tv). Usually if I say it’s time to get ready for bed, whether it’s 6pm or 10pm, they do it. Occassionaly I get and UGH, but they still do it. I think if I had made a specific time the focus, then they would fight back more.

Maude

February 22nd, 2013
12:13 pm

By age 10 even if the parents have not taught their children about 911 they have recieved instruction on when and how to use 911 every year at school since they were in kindergarten. Maybe a warning was okay but if the happens again both the parent and child should be charged!

homeschooler

February 22nd, 2013
12:33 pm

Here is a link to the story with the actual 911 call.
http://news.softpedia.com/news/10-Year-Old-Boy-Makes-911-Call-Complains-About-Bedtime-331690.shtml

It really bothers me when kids try to get their parents in trouble with the police. It is the epitome of disrespect to me and really sad. I see this a LOT and it is something I just don’t understand. All families have problems and issues but at the end of the day you usually defend your family to the outside world. I see more and more kids who say horrible things about their parents to their teachers, police, friends etc.. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not encouraging family secrets of abuse etc.. I just would have NEVER tried to get my parents in trouble no matter how mad I was. My mom wasn’t one to demand respect and there were times that I treated her pretty bad but I loved her and would not have wanted anyone mad at her. I just don’t get it.

Mattie

February 22nd, 2013
12:46 pm

I read this story online last night, under the headline “cutest 911 call ever”. Seriously? Cute?

I inadvertently dialed 911 instead of 411 one day while searching for a phone number. I stayed on the line, and apologized to the operator, explaining it was a mistake. She told me to expect a police car anyway, as they had to follow up. And, they did, 3 hours later.

One day my son’s best friend dialed 911 from my kitchen. He was in kindergarten, and they had just learned about when to call and when not to. I guess he was just curious. He called, hung up when somebody answered, and within minutes there was a car with sirens blaring outside. That scared the crap out of him. The policeman was kind, but very firm. Real life lesson learned.

motherjanegoose

February 22nd, 2013
12:54 pm

Parents setting boundaries…not too common in this day and age and then we wonder what in the world happens when they become teens. I am on the board of the MEAN MOM CLUB :). Lately, I hear other parents tell me how lucky I am to have two kids who turned out so well. Really?

@ FCM…we love St. Augustine and also the historical part. We go every year at least once if not twice. Hope you get to go for a visit.

K's Mom

February 22nd, 2013
1:39 pm

@MJG, I am a new member to the mean mom club. Sometimes itt does break my heart to do it the mean way, but I know I am raising adults and that gives me comfort. K got really clingy at bedtime after my surgery in December. I gave in for about 3 nights and laid down with him until he fell asleep. Then I let him cry it out for 3 more nights and we were back to our usual routine.

K's Mom

February 22nd, 2013
1:46 pm

Also, how hard is it to get kids to take a bath? My kids LOVE a bath. First, we let them play in the wawater and second my husband generally bathes them and they love time with daddy. Smelly kids equals lazy parents if you ask me. And I did read something about parents not making kids brush their teeth because they put up too much of a fuss and it was hard. Gimme a break..

motherjanegoose

February 22nd, 2013
1:51 pm

@ K’s Mom…being a parent is not always sunshine and roses. At the end of the day, knowing you tried your best and that you have two adults who are competent, independent and liked by their peers and employers, makes it all worth while. Good luck on your journey!

jarvis

February 22nd, 2013
1:53 pm

K’s Mom knows what she’s talking about. Teachers know the dirty kids, and the stigma follows them through school.

Hint on how to tell if the teacher thinks your kid is dirty/stinky: when you bring in snacks, does the teacher eat one? If not, she thinks you and your child live in filth.

motherjanegoose

February 22nd, 2013
1:59 pm

@ K’s mom…I never had a problem with my two taking a bath. We know a family who obviously did not adhere to the “bath every day” rule we had our house. Two of their daughters have quite a bit of acne. It breaks my heart to see a face that will have permanent scars. Perhaps it could have been avoided. Ours were lucky not to have trouble with acne but I also made sure they were clean. I would have certainly made trips to the dermatologist, if necessary. We did the orthodontist for both of ours, as it was necessary. My daughter told me, last week, that people stop to tell her what pretty teeth she has. Good for her! I did not have braces and no one ever admires my teeth for sure!

motherjanegoose

February 22nd, 2013
2:03 pm

Jarvis….AMEN TO YOUR STATEMENT. My two got a bath EVERY SINGLE DAY. I never had a problem with it, we started when they were small. My daughter has a friend who does not bathe every day and she told me she thinks that is so weird.

I really do not eat much food anyone else gives me, unless it is in a sealed wrapper. That is just me. I took a drink from the water fountain ( known as a bubbler to some) at the ATL airport and then wondered if I would get sick. Never thought about it 20 years ago!

homeschooler

February 22nd, 2013
2:12 pm

I remember when my son was about 4 and he would resist taking a bath. Then he would resist getting out of the bath. One day I said, “you never want to get in the bath then you never want to get out”. He didn’t skip a beat “That’s because getting out is the part I don’t like…it’s COLD!” Made perfect sense to me. :-)

K's Mom

February 22nd, 2013
2:49 pm

I do not think acne is caused by being unclean. My brother and my best friend had it and both are very clean. My brother took acutane (sp?) And my best friend did not. My brother has no scarring and my best friend does. I know acutane is a whole other column, but when I see kids with acne I do not think unclean, I think very unlucky.

kimmer

February 22nd, 2013
3:04 pm

I’ll bet we would be surprised at what some adults have called 911 for. Certainly 911 should be used for emergencies only but not every call is a life or death matter. Probably most are not (stalled cars, fender benders, heard a noise outside, etc). I’ll bet the dispatcher and police officer got a bit of a chuckle over this but he no doubt put on his stern face to talk to the kid. Nobody should have been charged and it was good that the officer spoke to the child because it helps him understand that such a stunt has accountability implications outside his home and parents. Now if he keeps calling 911 that is a different story. Something tells me he won’t.

kimmer

February 22nd, 2013
3:08 pm

Indeed the notion that lack of cleanliness causes acne is indeed a myth.

See #2 in the link

http://www.drmoranz.com/article_acne_myths.html

kimmer

February 22nd, 2013
3:11 pm

kimmer

February 22nd, 2013
3:16 pm

Oh my gosh I just read this website. In the section explaining how uncleanliness causing acne is a myth the last paragraph tells you to treat it by washing your face and get all the dirt and sweat off.

Which is it?

HB

February 22nd, 2013
4:08 pm

My understanding is keeping your face clean can help prevent acne, but it doesn’t always (much like washing your hands regularly is good for preventing colds, but doesn’t mean you can’t still catch one) and it isn’t a cure.

Mattie

February 22nd, 2013
4:12 pm

I just remembered why I rarely read this blog. How did the topic morph from calling 911 to acne?

FCM

February 22nd, 2013
4:19 pm

@ jarvis…I am so weird about food. I had to do a youth dinner last fall for our church. I took everything to the church and cooked it there just so people could see I had been food safe.

This time I am having a local chain do the food.

I really hate when the food is made at home then brought in. Since getting the dog I have been worse about this “phobia”.

FCM

February 22nd, 2013
4:22 pm

@ MJG you and I have discussed this before. The dermotologist told me to only have my kids bathe every other day b/c their skin was drying out and breaking open/bleeding with with lotion! (My hands do this). They also get bathed when come home dirty (muddy/grime showing) or they are sweaty. I do not want stinky kids near me either. We actually have the doctor notice on file with the school.

catlady

February 22nd, 2013
6:36 pm

I agree with MJG.

We teachers, at least in my area, see many kids who are dirty. Their clothes are dirty. They have ground in dirt around their necks and between their fingers. They smell of pee, poop, or pet odors. First thing in the morning, some smell of dope (I am guessing the parents are smoking it on the way to drop off.) Many of them reek of cigarette smoke. Sends my asthma crazy. If it were middle school they would be drenched in after shave (haha) and that would also be bad.

Then there is the whole your-body-is-maturing-and-it-is-time-to-use-deodorant. This is happening even earlier–3rd and 4th grade now.

motherjanegoose

February 22nd, 2013
8:13 pm

I am certainly not an expert on acne nor skin issues. I have smelled the smell of children that do not bathe (many times) and those I mentioned frequently fell into that category.

@ Mattie…wow we did not even miss you while you were gone.:) We were too busy chatting about other things someone might bring up. As mentioned before, TWG has no rules about staying on topic. Chime in whenever you want to and we will chime in too.

Observer

February 22nd, 2013
9:17 pm

@MJG, thanks for your comment that we may sway from topic, part of this blog.

As far as children, dirty, not bathing, have experienced this personally and it weighs on me daily. My son married a woman w/2 children from a previous marriage, now 10 and 7. When they visit, the children do not bathe, don’t brush teeth, leave underwear soiled under furniture and other places. Their mother is indifferent about their cleanliness and more concerned about what we can for them monetarilly

tchrmom

February 23rd, 2013
9:53 am

Neither of my boys have been big complainers about bed, teeth, bath, etc. but on “calling the authorities”…once when my oldest was little, he was not happy with me about something (probably no soda or candy or something horrible like that). We were in the car and he exclaimed that when we got home he was so upset that he was going to have to report me to the authorities. I asked just which authorities that would be-knowing he wouldn’t really dream of doing it. He said, “You know who…I’ll call FedEx.” I said, “Do you mean DFACS?” He said, “Yeah, well whatever it is.” I explained the difference to him and we have used it as a joke ever since. Now whenever something is just not going their way I ask them both to please call FedEx. Maybe they will ship me off somewhere for some peace and quiet!

KJ

February 23rd, 2013
11:12 pm

Should the boy have been charged?

No.

Should the boy have been confined to his room outside of school hours for at least a month with no form of entertainment whatsoever, so he knows exactly how unacceptable his actions were?

Absolutely. I suspect most parents today are too soft/apathetic/incompetent enough to do it, sadly.

Phil I. Buster

February 25th, 2013
10:23 am

Well, the boy could have gotten his wish of a delayed bed time if he would have been arrested. If the call was made a little after 8pm, by the time they get him to the police station and process him, it would easily be past midnight before he would be in his cell. He may not have liked the wake up time though.