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Reporting a friend...
September 22, 2006
9:09 pm
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taj64
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Hi Shaney I think I agree with you. Only LTC would have all the facts. But as a reader of this, Im questioning. On the surface I see VERY good intentions, a big heart and concern for the kids but on the other hand I see not a whole story. For me is not a matter of hiding the parents, but what really happened in that kitchen with the high chair. It depends on your friend, how she described what happened and also how you took it to be. Based on having another situation with this family I do have to question so sorry if it is seems harsh. I always look out for children. But I happen to date a man who adopted a child who just happened to have one of the worse recorded child abuse history cases in the US. It was on dateline magazine show about 8 years ago. I do have questions. I feel for children who are abused. And my friend's child was abused terribly. And believe it or not he still visits his father who permitted this abuse to happen by an ex girlfriend.

September 22, 2006
9:21 pm
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taj64
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Well gee, I have to go. I would like to hear about the outcome. Im darn worried about this child. I wish I could know the facts. My friends' child is ok. This happened when he was 5 years old. I think about him and so grateful this child was adopted by my friend and leading a good life. He was reported by neighbors. so it was good outcome. But this boy suffered nothing like sitting in a chair(not to compare or anything) but he was tied to a bed, not given food, or go to school, burned with cigarettes and this went on for a long time. The ex girlfriend went to jail for this. I think about this and glad he escaped and is ok. He still has problems but ok. This is why you have to be careful. Some children need to leave a home but some also get mistaken for abuse. I wish I knew. I hope this has a good outcome. I pray for the right answer.

September 22, 2006
9:35 pm
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LTC,

Here's what you wrote: "I let her know I thought this was overly harsh and if anyone should be grounded it's her husband for not supervising the boy. She sees nothing wrong with what they're doing and argued that she "has to stand by" her husband because he's the one who came up with this. She mentioned her pediatrician told them you should only do a two minute time out, but she criticized his advice as being too soft and said that's the reason why kids have no respect today."

Here's what I see:

1) You expressed your concern to your friend.

2) She feels she has to back up her husband no matter what, although she agrees with him in this case because

3) She thinks her pediatrician's advice is "too soft"

OK, so how hard do you have to be on a 2 year old because "kids have no respect today"?

All depends what the purpose is. Are you trying to teach your child what is right, with methods appropriate to his developmental stage, as advised by your pediatrician? Or are you trying to dominate your child so he will learn to behave according to your standards... whenever you can see him?

I still say the husband's "temper" is a red flag, and your friend's unquesioning willingness to back him up because "kids have no respect" is another red flag.

That little boy is entering, or is in, the "terrible two's'. Developmentally, he's going to push envelopes all over the place. He needs *appropriate* boundaries and *appropriate* consequences. Two hours is a lot longer than two minutes, whether it was all at once or "on and off". How did they pick 2 hours anyway?

I feel for you LTC, if you've been friends with this woman for 25 years. You're in a tough spot and you want to do what is right. I think they need information they clearly don't have at the moment. Good for you for pursuing avenues to improve the situation.

September 22, 2006
11:23 pm
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lovetocrochet
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Kroika, you've picked up on the very things that have me concerned. Their inital goal was to have their son in the chair all day. Yes that was her exact words.

The only reason they didn't go that far was because they had to be in and out of the house due to errands, doctor appts., etc. What if they hadn't had anything scheduled?

I think (hope) that hearing the doctor's feedback got them thinking towards a more reasonable mindset. I also hope hearing from someone who has a son the same age and who has an extra 13 years of parenting experience on top of it (me) got through as well.

She kept going on about how horrible the couch looked and how their friends agreed, but what's a piece of furniture? Ten years from now it'll be gone and meanwhile they can repair it. Ten years from now their son will still be around, couch or not, and he may not be so easy to repair if they keep going too far.

Maybe I should also clarify, I do NOT want them to get "busted" or see their kids get taken away. I agree something non-punitive would be more in order, but who? Where do you go for that?

I just want someone to talk to them, someone they'll listen to. Hearing suggestions to attend parenting classes or anger management for Daddy simply won't have as much impact if I say it because out of my mouth, it's just another opinion.

That's yet another reason I hesitate on the CPS thing and haven't called them back. I know they can be very UNhelpful and Lord help you if you get the wrong agency in the wrong place with some cranky social worker on a bad day. Someone I know won a lawsuit against her county because they took her son away for two months with the accusation she was beating him when in reality he was slamming himself on the floor because he's autistic. So I know the horror stories.

Anyway I have to go for now, it's bedtime. Thank you all for your suggestions, I mean that, it's good to hear both sides.

September 23, 2006
3:21 am
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Hi LTC

The more detail you have added, the worse it sounds. I don't know what resources are in your area in terms of parenting hotlines. And as other posters have noted, it's tricky to criticize people on their parenting. But I think there are some dangerous elements here which are not likely to get better on their own.

In the 25 years you've known this woman, what kind of relationship have you evolved? Do you have the kind of close friendship where you can confront each other and be open to hearing uncomfortable truths that are offered in a helping spirit?

How long has she beem married to Mr. Temper, and how rigidly do you think she is locked into backing him up? What do you know about her background -- why would she think it would be OK to set a goal of putting a 2 year old in a chair for a whole day as a punishment for some transgression?

Does she respect your parenting and your added experience? Maybe you could share a parenting book with her, like one of Barbara Coloroso's.

I wish you luck and success in finding some kind of resource that she might accept. Please let us know how it goes.

take care, kroika

September 23, 2006
9:28 am
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lovetocrochet
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Hi Kroika, I only have a few minutes to spare but I'll try and answer your questions as best as I can...

"But I think there are some dangerous elements here which are not likely to get better on their own."

Yes, this is my gut feeling too...

"In the 25 years you've known this woman, what kind of relationship have you evolved? Do you have the kind of close friendship where you can confront each other and be open to hearing uncomfortable truths that are offered in a helping spirit?"

We were best friends in junior high then she and I attended different high schools and developed different friendships. We didn't speak to each other for four years when my mother convinced me she'd wanted me to abort my daughter (long story). After a friend committed suicide we patched up when she had the chance to tell me after the funeral that it was all a lie. Since then we've both been able to turn to each other for various things in our lives, even as I've moved to a different state, and normally up until now she was level headed and gave good advice. It also seemed like when her husband was asked to contribute his two cents once in a while, he had good things to say too. So you can imagine I was pretty shocked when she told me this, I thought she would have known better...

"How long has she beem married to Mr. Temper, and how rigidly do you think she is locked into backing him up? What do you know about her background -- why would she think it would be OK to set a goal of putting a 2 year old in a chair for a whole day as a punishment for some transgression?"

She's been married to him for four years. Lived with him for a few years prior to that. It's hard to say how locked in she is to backing him up - she was really embarrassed over the movie theater incident and said he was in the doghouse for it, but maybe she's become more passive? I think part of the reason she thinks this was all okay for her boy is because she grew up in a very abusive household herself so she's thinking well if it's not as bad as what happened to me, then it's better and therefore okay. That's the best I can come up with.

"Does she respect your parenting and your added experience? Maybe you could share a parenting book with her, like one of Barbara Coloroso's."

So far she hasn't put my suggestions down directly or criticizes me as a parent, just disagrees. Never heard of Coloroso, I'll have to check that out...

I've been so steeped in the world of special needs parenting for so long with my daughter that parenting a normally developing child is new to me too. I'm always having to ask if stuff my son's doing is normal for his age after looking at everything through a different filter for so long. It's also interesting to draw parallels between some of his behaviors and hers and realize how delayed she was at certain points of her life. Of course there's also the factor that you discipline a disabled child differently in many situations too.

"I wish you luck and success in finding some kind of resource that she might accept. Please let us know how it goes."

Thanks Kroika. I'll let you know what transpires as it comes...

September 23, 2006
5:22 pm
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LTC,

Your friend doesn't know how lucky she is to have you.

In your hint about the 'long story' I'm interpolating that you knew in your first pregnancy that the child you were carrying would be born with special needs, and your mother drove a wedge between you and your friend by telling you that your friend thought you should terminate that pregnancy.

Since you were able to rescue the friendship, you now are probably in a very good position to influence her. First of all, she's got to have some admiration for you for all the years you have parented a child with special needs. Now that you have a "normal" child the same age as hers, and you are learning a new set of parenting skills, you have a basis to relate to her on.

It might work very well for you to get hold of one of Barbara Coloroso's books (she has a beautiful yet pragmatic, humanitarian approach to child-raising) and share tidbits from it with your friend. You could tell her about some parenting challenge you faced and how Coloroso's info helped you find a good way to deal with it. Since you would be approaching as a peer who is on the same learning curve, she might be open to trying things out that you are trying.

Your good intentions are very clear, LTC, and I wish you the best with looking after that little boy's interests. Twenty years from now he will be out searching for a mate.... and what kind of baggage he's carrying by then will make a big difference to how a lot of people's lives go.

all the best to you, kroika

September 23, 2006
6:21 pm
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lovetocrochet
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Hi Kroika,

Actually my friend NEVER said anything about an abortion. We also didn't even know my daughter was disabled until she was four.

What had happened was my friend wanted to talk me out of marrying my ex. She knew he was bad news. When she told my brother this he went to my mother, and what *they* decided what she REALLY wanted me to do was abort, when that never crossed her mind.

My mother then told me this on my wedding day... nice huh? As it was they never liked my friend, always bashing her. No reason. They just decided one day she was beneath them. Looking back I can see where they'd have no shame making up a lie to hurt me and get rid of her.

After a friend of my brother's warned me a few years later that my brother tends to "editorialize" (Translation: Lie his butt off), I finally gave my friend a chance to explain. That's when I learned she simply wanted the best for me.

I'm surprised she forgave me at all. She even later became my star witness when the Church annulled my former marriage. So in some ways I'm very lucky to have her too after what she put up with from me... I just hope I can repay it by helping her through this.

September 23, 2006
7:27 pm
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LTC,

Wow. Haven't I just given a great demonstration of how to connect a few dots to create a picture very different from the one the dots were actually taken from??!!

So, it sounds like you and your friend go back a long way and have been through a lot together. Seems like you have a solid base to connect from.

I hope that with appropriate resources you can make a positive difference in this situation in an ongoing way.

Thanks for clarifying those details!

September 23, 2006
8:01 pm
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cpt1212
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love to crochet,

if i were you i would definately be concerned. your gut and your past experience with this couple tells you that the husband has an anger issue and the wife is rather passive. i have tried previously to contact dss for a physical abuse and neglect case that would make you sick but it was not followed up on, i also know that dss is overwhelmed and underfunded. i don't think that they will take the time to check out this incidence because neglect, emotional abuse is very difficult to prove. However, the punishment is certainly not age appropriate and i would think a red flag. my advice would be to remain a good friend, because i am sure that some part of her knows that this is not right, and also be vigilant in looking for signs of abuse so you can continue to be an advocate for the child.

you are in my prayers and i think the world needs more people like you

September 23, 2006
8:08 pm
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Oh, to clarify

I still see the same red flags that cpt1212 refers to. And I also think the world needs more peopel like you!

I just meant that I made up a whole story about how you knew that there were anomalies with your first pregnancy, and your friend advised you to abort. When in fact what actually happened was quite different.

I'd be interested to hear if you find Barbara Coloroso helpful. She is one of my heroes!

take care, kroika

September 23, 2006
9:21 pm
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ScaredinMichigan
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LTC-

Well, I have an opinion, and that is what it is. I think it is sad that as a site, on a whole, people here discuss red flags on a regular basis. I don't think that it needs to be further discussed with your friend. You made your point to her, and she is comfortable with her husbands reaction to her son. Not me, and as many have said, I am glad that he sat him in a high chair as opposed to a lot of other things that he could have done. But, that doesn't make it ok. You don't teach a child by excessive punishment. At that young of an age, they don't even remember for two hours what they are being punished for. Children learn by example, and that should have been a conversation, and being watched. I believe that all children will do things that go unnoticed by their parents, because they can accomplish a lot of mischief in a short amount of time. But, that doesn't make it their fault. Should they not be doing "naughty" things, absolutely. Do I think that there has to be consequences for naughty behavior, absolutely. But I think that it needs to be age appropriate, and the parent needs to take their fair share of responsibility. Especially at such a young age, I think that a childs behavior severely reflects that of how they are raised. But the punishment should fit the crime so to speak. You know this family, and you will not say enough to make any of us here completely understand the nature of the situation, but if you would feel more comfortable reporting it then more power to you. I don't think that you are being deceiptful to your friend, I think that you are concerned about the safety of this child. And that is wonderful. You should. Your friends are adults, and can defend themselves, this child needs someone to advovate for them. If CPS feels there is not a legitimate concern, then they won't even address the family. If they address the family, the liklihood is good that nothing will happen the first time. But hopefully it will be a wake up call to the parents. To treat their child appropriately. It may stop something more major from happening in the future. You are not putting your nose in where it does not belong, you are being an advocate for a child. Bless you for that. Part of me wishes that someone would do that so my husband would get a clue. If your friend is a true friend and figures out that it was you that called, hopfully she will figure out that her childs safety was a concern to you, and she will overcome what hurt she may feel. I am on your side, and a little disappointed to see that more of us are not.

Scared

September 24, 2006
9:01 am
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taj64
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Im reluctant to say anything on the thread. I think I am on your side but I needed more information. YOu gave it and I think a lot of good advice was give. I would definatley have a very seriuos talk with your friend and let her know that you stand by her side and you will help her to parent her child. Maybe they are just clueless to it all. I think it is great for her to have such a caring friend. Thanks for sharing more information as that is important to know.

September 24, 2006
10:42 am
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lovetocrochet
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Scared, you said a lot of the same things as another friend of mine did when I discussed the situation with her. She was a foster Mom for over 30 years and named one of the best in her state along with her husband. This woman was born to be a mother, I swear. She's about 60 years old and is still caring for two children (the rest have flown the nest with families of their own).

She's taken a lot of courses on relating to children as part of what she does and she said the same thing you did: It's one thing to let a child that age know what they did was naughty, it's another to go overboard on the punishment. She said what my friend and her husband did was a "very poor choice" and she was really worried for their son. She also added that a two year old is going to see spilling milk and punching holes in the couch with the same level of severity, they just don't know any different. Basically she confirmed what I felt.

I just know usually when I sense something in my gut it turns out to be true. I'm more than happy to be proven wrong, especially on something like this, I actually pray for it. But when I'm right I feel so helpless and sick inside. So at this point I'm hoping I'm wrong but praying I can do something for my friend and her kids (unfortunately we live rather far apart now) if it turns out I'm right.

September 24, 2006
6:40 pm
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sleepless in uk
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Love to Crochet

Like I said earlier, I really think you need to trust your instinct. Trust your gut.

If there is nothing amiss investigations will confirm it. But everything you say worries me and truly that child is too young to undersatnd fully what he has done wrong.

Hell even if he understood in the first, place by the time the day was over and he was in and out of his chair and being told off all day he sure would have forgotten the original misdemeanor.

Your friend does need some help and thank goodness that little fella has you to look out for him

wish you well...let us know how it goes

September 25, 2006
2:54 pm
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ScaredinMichigan
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ltc-

Have you decided what you are going to do with this situation yet? Thinking about you, and this boy, and hoping for the best for both of you in this situation. Hope all is well.

Take care-
Scared

September 25, 2006
3:04 pm
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lovetocrochet
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I'm still working on it. Like I'd said earlier I want to make sure something is done for the boy but I don't want to end up having the system completely bust up the family either. I don't entirely trust the CPS folks out where she lives to do the right thing. At this point I am going to have to put it in God's hands and ask for guidance/discernment on where to go from here...

September 25, 2006
3:06 pm
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ScaredinMichigan
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I can understand that. I wasn't trying to sound pushy, or anyhting else. I was just thinking about you and the boy. Hope all goes well. Trust God.

September 25, 2006
3:54 pm
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caraway
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lovetocrochet,

What you are describing isn't going to get the attention of any agency and really isn't abusive as much as poor parenting. If this is the worst this child has to endure he is goig to be fine.

You will most likely regret it if you call anyone and some action is forced. Maybe just keep a watchful eye and call someone if this becomes physical or truly abusive.

Cary

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