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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Earlier this month, dash-cam video captured an example of what's becoming a national and local trend.

According to police, an Iowa son and father reportedly got into an argument over cigarettes.

The son stole his father's truck in retaliation and led officers on a high speed chase that ended with gunfire at Iowa State University.

Legally, like the father in this case, parents must call 911 on their own children.

But First Coast News has found examples where local parents are reporting less severe cases.

In some instances, the parents are even trying to get the officers to do the parenting for them.

"It's happening all the time," said Officer Alan Leavens with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

In Clay County, the sheriff's office has received nearly 100 calls about disobedient children since school started in August.

One report obtained by First Coast News details an Oakleaf mom who wanted a deputy to scare her 13-year-old son into doing his homework.

Duval County authorities could not provide concrete numbers about similar reports, but say officers are commonly approached by distressed parents.

Leavens said people say things like, " ... my kid won't take out the trash ... " or " ... my kid's being disrespectful."

The issue he believes is many kids have taken over control of their households.


"What it is is you see the kids are in control. The parents are not, and the parents do not know how to get control," he said.

And, he said families from all walks of life are in this situation.

"I've walked into houses that are very low income, and I've walked into houses that are very high income. And they all have the same problem," he said.

Leavens argues parents are part of the problem, too. He said many moms and dads want the system to parent for them.

"It doesn't matter if you're from the poor house or the White House. It's a problem throughout our whole society," he said.

Legally, police cannot arrest children if no crime has been committed.

But Leavens does refer troubled families to Glenn Ellison, a former Marine who's been running the Parent Help Center in Jacksonville for 14 years.

Ellison told First Coast News the problem of parents trying to parent through police is very "bad."

"Sadly, many parents want the police, the teacher, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the State Attorney's Office, somebody to fix the problem the parent created," he said.

Ellison said it comes down to changing the child's environment versus trying to control or change them.

He said, "The system will never fix children. Temporarily it may, but when you send the children right back to the environment the came from and it didn't change, the odds are this kid is going to revert right back to the same behaviors."

Ultimately, he said parents must realize they have to be the diffuser instead of the instigator.

"When parents are trained and coached on what to do, they can shape the behavior, instead of the policeman," he said.

And, first for you, Ellison offers these three tips you can try at home before calling police.

He said to make sure your child knows there are consequences for good and bad behavior.

Never reward them if they haven't done something you've asked.

And, avoid screaming matches and arguments. Ellison said stooping to their level will only make matters worse.

Leavens said it's okay to call 911 if you feel your life or someone else's life is in danger.

But he said for all non-emergency situations in Duval County, it's best to call (904) 630-0500.

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