Parenting in a World Where Parents are Guilty until Proven Innocent
A Texas mother recently posted a blog on her website about a run-in she had with a nosy neighbor, the police, and eventually Child Protective Services. The mother, Kari Anne Roy, wrote about a day in early August when she was busily trying to unpack from their family vacation and sorting through mounds of unsorted mail. She had allowed her 8 year old daughter and 6 year old son outside to walk the dog.
Her daughter had returned from the walk but her son had wanted to stay outside and play on a bench that was visible from Roy’s house. So when she got a knock at the door she was surprised because the only people who usually came to her door during the day were UPS delivery drivers. She writes,
“Corralling the crazy barky dog, I looked out the front door window and saw a woman I did not know — and my six-year-old.
I whipped the door open, trying to figure out what was happening. The woman smiled. My son frowned. And as soon as the door opened he flew into the house, running as far away from the woman as he could.
‘Is that your son?’ she asked with a smile.
I nodded, still trying to figure out what was happening.
‘He said this was his house. I brought him home.’ She was wearing dark glasses. I couldn’t see her eyes, couldn’t gauge her expression.
‘Yes. He was all the way down there, with no adult.’ She motioned to a park bench about 150 yards from my house. A bench that is visible from my front porch. A bench where he had been playing with my 8-year-old daughter, and where he decided to stay and play when she brought our dog home from the walk they’d gone on.
‘You brought him home… from playing outside?’ I continued to be baffled.
And then the woman smiled condescendingly, explained that he was OUTSIDE. And he was ALONE. And she was RETURNING HIM SAFELY. To stay INSIDE. With an ADULT. I thanked her for her concern, quickly shut the door and tried to figure out what just happened”.
Roy said she chalked the incident up to an overly concerned neighbor until she got another knock at the door a few minutes later. This time it was the police.
“The police officer asked if my son had been outside alone. She asked why I thought it was OK for him to be unsupervised. She took my ID. She wrote down the names and ages of the children.
There are not a lot of times in one’s life when you can use a word like “flabbergasted” without hyperbole, but this was one of those times. I was nearly struck dumb. I answered her questions until I gathered my senses about me and began to explain the situation. I asked if she was *really* there to question me about letting my children play outside WITHIN VIEW OF MY OWN HOUSE. We seemed to agree that this was a little ridiculous. She offered a half-hearted warning that “you never know what can happen in just a few blocks” and I choked back my retort of “you never know what can happen when you get out of bed in the morning.” I choked back my, “The fact that this particular 6-year-old can play outside on his own is a miracle in and of itself, do you think I would ever, EVER tempt fate with him?” I choked back my, “We celebrate every day that he is independent and healthy enough to play outside.” I choked back so many things.
The police officer left with a curt nod and without filing a report”.
Unfortunately, this was not the end of the mother’s ordeal. A few days later, she received a call from Child Protective Services. She writes of receiving the call from CPS,
“I think, if it was possible to base jump onto a diving roller coaster, the swooping feeling in your stomach would still be only half of what I experienced at that moment. I felt lucky to be at a pulmonologist’s office, because surely they’d be able to help me when I started hyperventilating.
I somehow drove us all home without having a heart attack. Made lunch. Called an attorney friend to see if I needed to start getting really, really worried, and then I called back the CPS investigator. Within an hour she was at the house, interviewing the kids one at a time, alone with her, while I had to sequester myself upstairs”.
After the CPS agent left, she asked her children ages 6-12, what she had spoken with them about. They replied that she had asked them about, “drugs and alcohol, about pornography, about how often they bathe, about fighting in the home”.
As a mother to four children, this story makes my blood boil but also fills me with an ungodly fear. Is this really the type of country we live in? Is a parent guilty until proven innocent? It sure seems that way.
According to Protecting Your Future, “Anybody can make a complaint of suspected abuse or neglect, including your own child” and the source of the complaint “is confidential and you are never entitled to know that information”. The person filing the complaint can also never be prosecuted for false allegations.
Now, I don’t know about you, but that sends chills down my spine, especially as a mom who homeschools her children. I often worry about nosy neighbors reporting my children for playing outside in the yard during the morning hours (in Florida, this is the only tolerable time to be outside) when they “should” be in school. Now, I have to worry about someone reporting my kids for being outside PERIOD. Lovely.
On top of that, there is nothing you can do about it if a person decides to report you over and over and over again. Your neighbor doesn’t like you or your kids? Call CPS to make your life a living hell. Have an issue with your in-laws? They can call CPS just to be vindictive. Live next to an old lady who has too much time on her hands? She can call CPS because she doesn’t like how you are parenting your children.
Once CPS is called, you are guilty until you can PROVE your innocence. You and your children will now be subjected to inappropriate and invasive questioning, your home will be invaded by crooked bureaucrats, and your name will forever be listed in CPS records. All because one person picked up the phone and called you out – no proof necessary.
If this doesn’t seem wrong to you, you are living in a fantasy world.
The sad thing is, is that many times these agencies that were supposedly created to protect children, don’t catch real abuse and abusers. Rather, they make good parents fear that their children will be taken away for simply trying to do what’s right for their children.
Just last week, a Florida dad was arrested for spanking his child. The newspaper headline screamed, “Dad facing child abuse charges for hitting son with board”; however, when you actually read the story, you see that the dad spanked his 13 year old son with a paddle for not doing his homework. In fact, according to the news story, the father said he spanked his son 3 times and then left the paddle by the door to remind his son of the consequences he would face if he decided to skip his homework again.
If this is child abuse, I was a very abused child. My dad (who was/is a great dad by the way) spanked me and my brother with a paddle all the time. I was scared out of my mind of that paddle (not that it hurt any worse than any other type of spankings, it just looked REALLY scary) and there were more than a few times that my rebellious behavior was halted by the thought of “the paddle”.
Would I use a paddle on my children? No, not because I think my dad’s form of corporal punishment was abuse, but rather I understand that parenting the children of this generation is much different than it was even 15-20 years ago. However, I do know that my father using the paddle made me a better person because it made me realize that actions have consequences.
Today’s children, thanks to busybodies and leftist bureaucrats, will instead be taught that their wrong actions are only wrong if they think they’re wrong, their poor behavior is to be blamed on others, and that life should always be fair. These children will grow up not knowing how to function in society because they are the product of parents who were forced to be over-protective, helicopter parents.
Some of this may even be true of my own children, not because I am not trying to raise them right, but rather because I now live in fear of other people’s perceptions rather than what I know is right for my child.
Welcome to parenting in the 21st century, where parenting is no longer the parent’s job. Now, all parenting decisions will be at the directive of “well-meaning” busybodies and government agencies, you, as the parent, only carry out their orders.