COMMENT:

I am so very glad my daughter navigated her way through her adolescence with minimal drama. Oh, there were one or two minor episodes.

She found out the hard way that teeny, tiny girls can't drink as much as their big tall boyfriends, but apart from that, we had a sweet ride. She went to school, she passed her exams, she didn't come to the attention of the police and she didn't self-harm.

She's married now, and a mother herself and knowing she's loved and happy gives me a wonderful sense of freedom. Surely all a parent ever wants is for their child to be the best and happiest version of themselves - and that's what we have with Kate.

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I can't imagine what it would have been like if she had been hooked on drugs, or if she'd struggled with depression, or if she'd teamed up with a group of anti-social, law-breaking oiks. The strain that would put on families must be enormous. And it would be difficult to work out what to do and how to respond - especially if two parents have conflicting ideas on how to manage the situation.

I'm not sure I would have the mental fortitude to hand my child over to the police if they were behaving badly.

A Christchurch mum was in the news last week after she found her 14-year-old-son in possession of items she knew weren't his. She asked him where he'd got them. And he refused to tell her. So, she rang the police. And lo and behold, the police discovered that the bike, the scooter and the sneakers had all been stolen from nearby properties.

Furthermore, the police found the boy was part of a gang of thieves - between eight to 10 boys are believed to be involved.

The 14-year-old now faces a burglary charge but I have to wonder whether there's going to be a positive outcome for the young man once he enters the justice system.

It would have been great if there'd been a neighbourhood copper who could have been called on to come around and scare the boy straight. I know that happened with a couple of kids caught shoplifting when I was young. We lived in a small town, and after the culprits were brought home in a police car and given a stern talking to by the local policeman, they rethought their career in crime and as far as I know, they haven't put a foot wrong since.

That surely has to be a better way to deal with a juvenile thief than parading them before the court.

I might feel differently if my child had assaulted someone. A 53-year-old woman from Essex in England marched her son down to the local police station after he knocked out a young woman outside a nightclub this week. The CCTV footage is horrifying and clearly, the mum felt her son had to face up to the consequences of his actions.

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But nicking a scooter from a front lawn and punching a woman unconscious are very different crimes.

Parents must do what they feel is right when it comes to raising their children and perhaps the Christchurch mother of the young thief felt his part in the burglary spree was the final straw.

I don't know. I just hope the young man learns a valuable lesson about crime not really paying - and that he understands his mum is showing him tough love because she cares about him.