Parenting Is Policing


Parenting is policing. That is more than an metaphor. Have you considered the similarity between policing and parenting? If you parent children you probably have. Allow me to extrapolate.

This time of year is especially tough for me. My Marine Squadron lost someone during Operation Desert Storm 26 years ago this month. I remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday. Everyone I know has given someone advice of what awaits them out in the “big world.” Briefing aircrews during Desert Storm was a lot like giving advice. I would tell them of the dangers awaiting them as they flew north. They were outwardly fearless. Every aircrew I ever briefed went about their job with a smile on their face and grim determination.

Personal allegory

Much like a parent, I fretted and worried until they returned to the safety of our home away from home. “When the war ended,” I thought privately, “I would never perform another job like this.” In truth, I still do that same job every day. It is hard for people to understand that police officers have the job of warning people of the dangers that surround them. People sometimes will heed the advice, but too often they do not.

Parenting is policing

I hold firm to the reality that parenting is policing, or policing is parenting. Either way police officers, much like the pilots I briefed during Desert Storm, continue to do what they must even when they realize the imminent dangers. We do it, because it is our calling. All too often, the people we care for do not follow our advice, much like some citizens we serve run afoul of the law. They think, “It will never happen to me.” Their private thoughts become actions that speak to this. “I can go a bit faster because I can drive better than others. I can handle my alcohol I don’t need anyone else to drive.”


So I challenge people outside of law enforcement to look at what we do from a broader perspective. Realize that we are those, who would love nothing better than for everyone to return home safely. Instead of seeing us as the enemy—that makes your heart pound and check your speedometer—look at us as the protectors. Imperfectly, that is who we are.

In Memoriam

These were a few thoughts worth sharing as I remembered someone who gave his life protecting others. He thought it was worth it, and so do I.

In Memory of Captain David “Hank” Spellacy USMC EOW 25 Feb 1991

– Chief Watson

Parenting Is Policing

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