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Some people! and their kids! (Warning: Rant Ahead)

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I am finding it increasingly difficult to bite my tongue on this subject, so i thought I would vent here, and perhaps get some ideas for coping with this better.
My long-time friend, "June" (names changed to protect the offending parties) is having some difficulties with her son, "Bubba," 12 1/2. I have known this boy, off and on, since he was but hours old, and consider him a nephew. She and dad have been divorced since Bubba was 18mos, and co-parenting w/him and stepmom has been challenging to say the least. Thus, June and stepdad blame ALL the difficulties on Bubba's not wanting to visit dad, how dad and stepmom treat him like a dog, etc, etc, etc.

Trouble is, when I see her with Bubba (and stepdad), I RARELY see either showing the child ANY affection - and I really believe this is the root of the problem. He is a good kid, bright but unfocused (probably due in large part to his home life) and really adrift at this point. He has been evaluated for ADHD in the past (he does not have it) and was recently put on anti-depressants, and after what I've seen in the last week at his home, I am really truly worried for him, but I have no idea how to broach the subject with his mama without her being offended.

See, I have no kids of my own, so I almost feel unqualified to speak to this issue, but I observe FAR more discipline than affection, and much more unreasonable discipline than I believe is warranted for his offenses.

He is in the doghouse this week because a letter that was sent to the family court judge some months ago, which they assumed had been trumped up by one of stepmom's boys, was determined to have actually been written by Bubba himself. It stated that he no longer wished to live with his mom and stepdad, among other things. Rather than talking to the child about WHY he felt this way, or IF he truly felt this way, they have punished him MOST severely for lying about the letter to begin with - he was initially asked and denied it.

Soooo, for lying about the letter, he has had every last toy removed from his room, he was required to look up words such as truth, honesty, integrity and accountability (which, incidentally, I DO agree with - good words to know no matter what) and if he fails to complete his chores, he is required to do various calisthenics as punishment - which he usually fails at miserably because he is a puny thing.

Add to that the fact that he was required to clean his 4y/o brother's room as a chore, while said brother, "Dougie" beat him about the back and shoulders with an empty soda bottle, screaming "hurry up Bubba!!" (at stepdad's urging ) and I've reached my absolute limit. I know I can avoid visiting the family as a whole and turn a blind eye, but as I said, I am concerned for the boy, esp as he enters his teenage years, which are rough even in a stable home.

Any suggestions??????????
post #2 of 24
I think a call from you to Social Services is warranted. While it sounds as if they may already be involved due to the boy's letter to the family court, they need to hear from an objective outsider as well. Are you able to contact the boy's biological father? If it were me, I would not hesitate to make the call and I would let both sets of parents know that I was doing it.

I know that will put a serious strain on your personal relationship with the mother, but Bubba's welfare has to come first.
post #3 of 24
I agree that last paragraph is something that Social Services would want to investigate. That is clearly wrong.
post #4 of 24

Call Social Services. If the step-dad was allowing and encouraging the brother (I assume this is a half-brother, the step-dad's child?) to beat the boy, who knows what else is going on....

What a sad situation.
You shouldn't let your lack of parental experience make you feel "unqualified" to speak on the issue. You still have a sense of what's right and wrong and that's all that matters.
post #5 of 24
Do you have access to the kid without her around.
Maybe you could become some sort of advocate for him.

I would at least call Family & Childrens Services and explain the situation.
You can do it anonymously.
But PLEASE do something soon!

If this kid is that miserable that he would write his own letter and mail it or however it got to the right party, there is a real need for help.

I wanna take him in myself after hearing all that.

Is his Dad really the louse she says or is she exagerating?

post #6 of 24
You may lose a friend by reporting this, but you could save a child and that has to be worth more. This boy needs someone to help him since he is unable to do it himself without making his life more miserable. Please step up to the plate and help him.
post #7 of 24
Social services...
post #8 of 24
I agree that you should call Social Services. It sounds like some sort of investigation needs to be done.

Keep us posted.
post #9 of 24
I'm a social worker--- please call social services! Even if they can't do much they could probably force the parents into much needed parenting classes and therapy. They have made this kid a scapgoat for their own issues and he will suffer the effects the rest of his life if it doesn't stop soon.
post #10 of 24
Good lord! I can't believe how some people treat their kids! Makes me really sorry for the boy...I hope you can be of some help to get him out of that horrible situation!
post #11 of 24
Holy crap! Beating the boy while cleaning SOMEONE ELSE's room?!
That poor kid.

My BF use to work in Foster Care, he's had all sorts of stories and this one reminds me of some similar cases he had.

Also was your friend like this before marrying the stepdad? Or does she initiate some of the punishments? If not, she could be getting abused too. If she initiative also, I would have a difficult time calling her a friend for the way she treats her kids.

My vote, call social services. You may not feel its your place/judgement since you don't have kids, but really the kid may thank you one day for it.
post #12 of 24
steal the child.
I presume the mother has turned out this way because of her husband.
I would infact report it, but if you have a video camera, record what she does and then replay it to her later, she will feel horrible and realise that she is wrong and a bitttttttttttttttdog
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
I knew I could count on you guys. Thanks so much. I just can't stand being the bad guy in all this, but I know if I don't, it may be that no one else will.

I think I will begin by talking it over with the boy's grandmother (June's mom), who is also a good friend of mine, and who usually is a better advocate for the boy. I know she may try to exclude her daughter from any wrongdoing, but I will press on. If that goes nowhere, then I'll put in to Family Services.

I doubt Bubba's biological father is half the monster they have made him out to be in their minds - perhaps when they first divorced, yes, but he has since remarried and had two more kids, so he can't necessarily be all bad. But there is ZERO communication between the bio-parents, which I believe creates more conflict than it prevents, since Bubba is caught in the middle.

Lunasmom - I appreciate your concern, but I know she's not being abused - there is certainly a lot of dysfunctional communication, but that goes both ways. Stepdad (yes, Dougie's bio-dad) is simply ignorant of ANY effective parenting methods, but too da*ned stubborn to think therapy is a good thing. (He yells at the 4y/o for chattering/playing if he's trying to watch a movie - like the kid is supposed to know to be quiet, when they haven't taught him) He thought it was "cute" the way Dougie was hitting big brother w/the bottle, which is why he egged him on.
post #14 of 24
Well if you call Social Services (CPS Child Protective Services) they wont tell her who called. It's the law. I would definatly do it if I were you. My son DOES get punished i.e. video games taken away but it's only for one night and if he finishs his homework w/o argueing, he gets it back. But I think this poor baby needs intervention. I hate it when people take THIER frustration out on a child. I made it CLEAR to anyone (when I was dating) that my children come first, and they would be out the door in a hearbeat if they thought otherwise
post #15 of 24
I deffinately think someone needs to step in before it's too late. If his Grandmother isn't willing to do what is really best for him, then someone needs to! Maybe calling Social Services will even give you advice on how you should handle what you see. It's deffinately wrong, they need to know. They are there to protect kids like him. He may be 12, but he still doesn't have the 'voice' that he would have as an adult. Bless you for noticing and caring! It's not always easy to do what's right, but if it's for the best I think you'll find it worth it.
post #16 of 24
Poor kid! It's amazing how easily kids get drugged for lack of parenting.
I agree with the others, talk to the Grandmother & call social services. Keep some kind of record.
post #17 of 24
Coming from an exteremly disfunctional family myself and knowing what the later consequences can be if left untreated... PLEASE (yes I'm begging) do something and do it fast!! The longer this abuse goes on the higher the possiblity of this child getting into some real trouble later on! I would be leery of involving family in the matter simply because they tend to be a bit biased and really don't help the situation much, I would go straight to the professionals... Also, involving family in this could end up causing even more problems between "June" and her mother which would make her resent the child, if not more...

Please keep us posted on the status of this horrible situation!!
post #18 of 24
That's pretty shocking. I would certainly do what you have said and talk to the grandmother. If you get nowhere, then definitely social services. I have reported people I know before for even HINTING that they have been cruel to animals, I would have no compunction about doing the same where a child is involved. It's not necessarily just about the physical abuse, but that child is clearly growing up in an environment full of fear, shame and anxiety. He will turn out very messed up because of that alone, even if he wasn't being hit as well. It would be well worth it to have some professionals come and look at this `family'. People can physically have kids, doesn't mean they always deserve them or know how to look after them.

Besides, the end will hopefully justify the means, here. You feel bad about your friend but if it makes this little boy's life happier, then you've done the right thing any way you look at it.
post #19 of 24
Originally Posted by esrgirl
I'm a social worker--- please call social services! Even if they can't do much they could probably force the parents into much needed parenting classes and therapy. They have made this kid a scapgoat for their own issues and he will suffer the effects the rest of his life if it doesn't stop soon.
I totally agree! You need to do something.
With teen sucicide on the rise...this poor boy sounds like a prime candidate.
If you do nothing now, and that happenes later, then you`ll have to wonder for the rest of your life if it would have made a difference had you done something.
post #20 of 24
Just to belatedly add my $.02-

I most certainly would call family services, and talk to the biological father, because if the child himself wants to be out of that house, there's certainly a reason. ALSO, he'd probably have asked his dad if he could/confided in him in some way, so you can know both sides yourself.
post #21 of 24
Wow I was shocked when I read how this young man is being treated. I agree with everone else, call and get some help for this young person. Not only is the Step-Father teaching the 4 year old it's okay to hit and hit with objects, but the pre-teen sounds like he is living in L.
post #22 of 24
People thought my Mother was being like this to me and I was heart broken when I found out some one rung CYPS - my mother treats me like I'm the only person on earth. I would talk to Bubba first. See how he feels.
post #23 of 24
Originally Posted by WellingtonCats
People thought my Mother was being like this to me and I was heart broken when I found out some one rung CYPS - my mother treats me like I'm the only person on earth. I would talk to Bubba first. See how he feels.
I'd agree, except for that letter he wrote. I assure you (coming from a background where I was beaten down—physically and mentally—by my father) that it takes great courage, and desperation, for a child to ask for help in that way.

It sounds like in her zeal to control the boy's behavior, his mother has gotten overly strict and is expecting way too much of him. (The stepfather, encouraging the hitting thing, just sounds like an idiot, IMNSHO.) Many parents go too far in the other direction and let their kids get away with murder. Parenting is hard, and frankly, some people are naturally better at it than others. But anyone can learn, I think, to strike that balance where even when you are disciplining your children, they never doubt that you love them. IF they want to learn, that is.

I'm not 100% sure how to go about this, but definitely your friend and her husband need some intervention from an outside agency. But I think you can do more. As I said, when I was a kid, my dad was abusive. What really helped me was being able to escape. Going to visit my older sisters or brothers was great, just because I knew while I was there I'd be treated like a human being. Maybe you could arrange to physically remove him from that situation for short periods of time. It helps, I assure you. Being there for him in a real sense will help more than you know.
post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
evnshawn, I really appreciate your perspective on this. I totally agree with your assessment of stepdad, btw - he loves his wife, I've no doubt of that, but he's too da*ned immature to communicate that constructively, or to parent either child.
One of my issues w/June for a long time now has been her complete lack of common courtesy toward her son(s) - she barks orders without any regard for "Please" or "thank you," and then wonders why he won't do as he's told. The 4y/o is very affectionate, but getting progressively more out-of-control due to the complete lack of boundaries. It's nothing for him to wrestle with his brother and resort to biting. He can go from hugging and saying "I love you" to pouting and screaming "I don't LIKE you!!" in less than 60 seconds if you tell him no.

The other big no-no, IMHO, is their "Do as I say, not as I do" lifestyle. EVERY time I go over there, they're barking at Bubba to clean his room. Problem one, he simply has too much STUFF to put away neatly. Problem two, he's never been shown how to clean his room because Problem 3 - his parents' room is a wreck- no less than four loads of dirty laundry at any one time, baskets of unfolded clean laundry not yet put away, the bird's slung seed all over the floor, papers, unused exercise equipment, dozens of dime-store novels covered in dust.

They believe that Bubba was coerced/manipulated into writing that letter, but I'm not sure if any of them (mom, stepdad or grandparents) ever asked him if he wrote it or if he really felt that way. He has trouble expressing his feelings, probably from all these years of trying not to disappoint anyone. I will try to get him out of there and let him open up on his schedule.
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