When 12-year-old Drew booked himself a holiday to Bali, his story went viral.
Following an argument with his parents, the Sydney schoolboy stole his mum Emma’s credit card and booked flights and accommodation. He then managed to leave the country with his parents none the wiser for days.
But as fascinating as Drew’s story is, one thing Emma never anticipated was the backlash she’d receive, with others questioning her parenting skills.
Emma said the response since the story broke has been “very negative”.
“They missed what the story was about,” she told radio hosts Fitzy and Wippa on Tuesday.
“It was about how he did it. They don’t know about my parenting skills. They don’t know what happened in that week.”
Emma maintains she did everything within her power as the situation unfolded to bring Drew back home, but the thought he could be overseas never even crossed anybody's mind.
"I'm looking for him in Australia, because everyone kept telling me - the AFP, as well as the Australian government - he cannot get over, he cannot get over," she said.
Apparently it's not the first time Drew has made a run for it either.
"[We thought] he'd just gone missing and was doing stupid things, like he has [in the past]," she said.
But he's never made it out of the country before, so his worried mum and dad continued their search around Sydney.
LISTEN: Meshel Laurie knows how to make you a happier parent. Post continues below.
Eventually, it got too much, and Emma took matters into her own hands.
"I just couldn't sit there any longer, and his dad was out looking at all the skate parks, so I called up one of his friends, and he was like, 'Oh, he's in Bali,'" she said.
"Then I thought, 'Right, I'm going to ring Bali.' Because we know a lot of people, so I got on Facebook Messenger, and they confirmed he was in Bali. That's when I just... His dad came home and I rang Sutherland police station up, they confirmed it, and then we just broke."
Understandably, Drew says he's now grounded "until they let me out".
"We know what he's done is so savvy, and we know he's street smart, but we want to use it for good use, that's the problem," said Emma.
And she maintains the issue isn't with her parenting, it's with the adults who let her son board a plane to Bali all by himself and then check into a hotel without any adult supervision.
"We discipline this child, we've done everything possible. We didn't fail in any way, people failed us. He got done twice at the airport," she said.
"It's not about my parenting skills. It's about how the system failed us."
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