Last week in Philadelphia, two teenage boys were caught on surveillance camera as they stole the wallet of a young girl. Police sent out a media request, the boys’ mothers saw the images on television, and they responded quickly by escorting their sons to the police station.

Wow. To be honest, I am really quite impressed. I don’t have any kids yet myself, and I don’t think I will be a dictator of a parent at all. But I do hope that I’d be as good (and strong) a parent and do the same. It’s not like the boys will end up with a hefty jail sentence, being minors and having only acquired a steal of $13. But who knows – this disciplinary action by their mothers, though surely difficult to do, may give them a kick in a better direction than the one they were travelling.

Parenting is tough! Seems like there’d be plenty of instances where parents must act in the long-term good of their child, even if that means their child might dislike them in the immediate moment. In this particular case, my mum said she’d first try and make her son turn himself in. My grandma said that she would sit him down and make him see that he’d done the wrong thing, and then “of course” (in her words), turn him in – because if kids don’t realise the consequences of their actions, especially when caught red-handed, they would never learn.

Both seem like good answers to me. What would you do? 

Tamara El-Rahi is an associate editor of MercatorNet. A Journalism graduate from the University of Technology Sydney, she lives in Australia with her husband and two daughters.