Father arrested for leaving son at restaurant

Filed under: Tweens, Health & Safety: Babies, Development/Milestones: Babies, In The News

A lonely wooded roadImagine you're at your local McDonald's, a few blocks from home, in a decent neighborhood. You and your eleven-year-old son get into an argument that gets worse every minute. So you tell him to walk home, jump in your car, and take off. You cool down and, a few minutes later, return to collect him. Sound reasonable? Perhaps. It really depends on just how far the restaurant was from home, what sort of neighborhood it was, and how mature the boy is.

Well, those are some of the questions being asked now after a Texas newspaper columnist did just that. Dave Lieber returned to collect his son from the local McDonald's only to find him being questioned by police officers. The police gave Lieber a talking-to and let him take his son home. Lieber wrote about the incident in his column, but that wasn't the end of it. Almost two weeks later, Lieber was arrested on charges of child abandonment and endangerment.

Now it's up to the district attorney to decide whether or not to press charges. According to Eric Franklin, an investigations supervisor for Child Protective Services, the questions that need to be answered center around the child's maturity and ability to reason, the dangerousness of the situation, and the father's intentions.

I'm not sure this is something I would ever do, although I've certainly offered to let my kids walk home if they couldn't behave themselves in the car. Still, at eleven years old, I was wandering about some of San Francisco's worst neighborhoods on my own and at night and no one thought twice about it. I'm not sure this father deserves jail time and a record over this -- what do you think?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.