Monday, March 05, 2007

To Parents: A Nickel Bag a Day Keeps the Tantrums Away

Attention parents: there’s a new way to handle your cranky toddler! Teach him how to smoke weed! Don’t waste your money on parenting books, spend your hard earned cash on ganja!

In all seriousness, needless to say,
I was appalled by this recent story out of Fort Worth, Texas. Of course my knee-jerk reaction was, where’s the parents? According to the story, the mother is sleeping in a back bedroom, while her brother, the boys’ uncle, and his friend, encourage the kids to smoke pot. By the video, and according to the police report, it’s not the first time these kids have experimented with wacky weed.

At this point, I could go on by writing an enormously long post about child abuse and neglect. I could shout out from my soapbox about how the mom needs to get out of bed in the middle of the day and watch her kids. I could also write about how a story like this validates all the negative assumptions we make about a certain class of people.

But I won’t. Me? Moi? The most opinionated person my friends know? No, today I’m hesitating on shouting out from my ivory tower. Not because I can tolerate people giving marijuana to kids, but because I have no idea what the whole story is. So many people write posts about how “shocking” and “unbelievable” a recent news story was. But honestly, what I have to say is: Believe it. This goes on in our country. This is the reality of child neglect that is happening even as I write this post. So am I mad about this story? Hell yes I am. But here’s the real question I’d like to pose: how did the mother get into the situation of having to nap in the back bedroom while she left her small children in the care of their uncle and stoner friend, while apparently there seems to be no father in the picture. I can only hope she’s not sleeping in the back bedroom in the middle of the day because she, too, is stoned. She might be sleeping because she has to work third shift to provide for her kids. I have no idea. All I know is that this shit goes on everyday under our noses. Kids are smacked, punched, stabbed, shot, smothered, shaken, neglected and sexually abused everyday. The interesting thing about this story, is that it only came to the attention of the police because they were searching the house for stolen goods and came across the video equipment which was used to tape this incident, on a stolen camera. Had they not been raiding the house for other reasons, none of us would be aware of it today.

The kids are now in foster care. My bet is, in a few weeks, they’ll be back at home. This time, I’m sure the cameras will be turned off, where it will be up to the “system” to keep an eye on them from now on. I can only hope that smoking pot is the worst of what they are experiencing, but something tells me there's more.


Blogger Kathy McC said...

Every time I feel like a bad mother, I'll just remember that. Sad...and I didn't watch the video because that would have made me sick.

4:41 PM

Blogger Christina said...

Stories like that just make me sick, and occasionally make me wish for the ability to require a license to have a child. But sadly it does go on, every day. The best I can do is raise my daughters to the best of my ability, and remind them of how thankful they should be that they have parents who care for them.

5:36 PM

Blogger soccer mom in denial said...

Thank you so much for noting that perhaps the mother, while not blameless, is dealing with huge problems like working the 2nd shift, dealing with crippling depression or a myriad of other things. It doesn't take away the blame, just gives the chance for context.

7:06 PM

Blogger MamaLee said...

What a sad story. Unbelievable.

9:36 PM

Blogger Alex Elliot said...

That's a horrible story. Your compassion for the mother is very admirable. You're absolutely right that she may have huge problems as well.

10:07 PM

Blogger Amber said...

I read crap like that and it absolutely BREAKS my heart. I often look at teens or adults who are making horrendously stupid choice and can't help but wonder how much of it came from a poor upbringing where morals just weren't taught.

7:04 AM

Blogger Laura said...

So glad someone else is blogging about this. My husband and I saw this on TV yesterday and both freaked out. I just couldn't bear to watch the kids coughing and then repeatedly trying to do it right.
Can't even imagine what my views would be if it were my own children. My daughter has asthma and I freak out if someone in a 9 mile area has a cigarette!!

1:10 PM

Blogger creative-type dad said...

What's wrong with people!!

I just can't believe that...

2:11 AM

Blogger PunditMom said...

And here I've been trying to reason with R. to calm her down! What was I thinking?

10:38 AM

Anonymous Izzy said...

Did you see the response of the uncle? It was so sad. He's like (and I paraphrase) "They're going to grow up and do it anyway. Everyone does."

8:04 AM

Blogger Kate said...

Izzy - yeah I heard that atrocious comment from the uncle. Such hope, right?

1:57 PM

Blogger Mitch McDad said...

Is that wrong? Ahh...crap.

6:56 PM

Blogger cape buffalo said...

yeah... that was 100 levels of messed up. Poor kids.

8:01 AM


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