It is believed that a Japanese couple left their 7 year-old son on the side of the road as a way of punishing him.
Children push boundaries. It's just what they do. Some children think about the consequences before carrying out an action, then you have those children who throw caution to the wind and think "to heck with the consequences!"
Whichever child you may have, there will come a time when they anger you to no end and this will require disciplinary action from a parent.
At this very moment, Japanese authorities are searching for a 7-year-old boy who went missing after his parents stopped their vehicle, ordered him to get out and they proceeded to drive away from him. They thought this was apt punishment for their misbehaving son, who was allegedly throwing stones at oncoming cars and people.
The mountainous area in Northern Japan is near Nanae, Hokkaido and is a natural habitat for wild brown bears.
The boy's father claimed that after driving away from their son, they returned immediately, but he was no longer at the place where they had left him.
Over 150 rescue workers have been deployed to search for the little boy, who went missing on Saturday afternoon. The search has already entered its third day.
Initially, the boy's father told the authorities that his son went missing during a family walk, he was picking wild vegetables with his sister.
The father also claimed that if he had told authorities the truth behind the story from the start, police may think it was a domestic violence case.
It's easy to judge these parents for the decision they made when punishing their son. It's easy to think these parents are insane for doing this to their child and to hope that they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but we don't all know and understand Japanese culture and law, or this family and what their circumstances are.
Discipline and punishment is different to that of our parents and grandparents' generations. Today we speak to our kids - if they're old enough - and we give a brief explanation of why their behaviour was unacceptable. When things become a little more serious, we confiscate items of value for children - the gaming consoles, the mobile phones, television, etc. Then there is the concept of "time out".
However, I recall as a child that if we didn't stop fighting, my parents would threaten to stop the car and my brother and I could find our own way home. We usually listened and they never had to deliver on the threat, but there were other occasions where my siblings and I forced our parents to deliver on threats.
The cliché "talk is cheap" exists for a reason. Children pick up on your parenting styles and they notice whether you make empty threats or not. They notice certain trends and they end up knowing exactly how to manipulate situations and you. Parenting and discipline styles differ, but abuse is never acceptable. This could have been the case and it just went horribly wrong. We hope this little boy will be found, unharmed.
UPDATE: We are delighted to report that after a seven-day search, 7-year-old Yamato Tanooka has been found. He was discovered by a Self-Defence Force official at a military base, approximately 5.5km north-east of where his parents had left him. He did not sustain any injuries, but was taken to hospital for a check-up nonetheless. Read the full article here.
Let us know what you think about this family's ordeal, what your parenting styles are and what you would have done in this situation. Email your thoughts to email@example.com.