When a child is not being neglected enough - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 08-04-2010, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What do you do when the child is not being neglected enough to warrant calling CPS?

How do you cope when there is nothing you can/should do?

I just want to mind my own business, but find myself thinking of this child.

I am so far removed from the situation. The child is my first cousin once removed. She is exactly the same age as my little girl. Maybe that is why this is hard for me.

I am not friends with the mother. She is nuts (IMO). She is a hypochondriac, addicted to strong pain pills, and has a really hard time keeping jobs.

I know with a lot of authority that the little girl is given nothing but kool-aid and eats mainly frozen pancakes and is just accross the board ignored in her home. She does go to daycare. I think that must be keeping her alive. This is the same little girl that has always been FTT and still has no bangs.

I am just pissed off at everyone who is actually close to this situation and just lets all this slide. My aunt (the grandma) is a hippy and is all live and let live. They live in a podunk town in the midwest (a lot of meth). No one cares. Not even the doctors?

I really believe the mom is transferring her hypochondria onto her child and purposfully keeping her daughter sickly for the attention. I mean she really feeds off it. I won't go as far as to say Munchhausen by proxy. I mean we are talking kool-aid and frozen pancakes. She is not poisening her.

I can't call CPS for koolaid and frozen pancakes!

Does anyone else have these situations come up. How do you cope?
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#2 of 15 Old 08-04-2010, 06:25 PM
 
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I see this all the time in my work. Lots of parents who do not have the skills to parent a child in a way that develops the child, socially, emotionally and in this case her physical health as well.

Do you ever see this child? Or do you just hear updates? If you see her, you can reach out to her. Kids that are able to rise above challenging family life situations usually have a positive adult involved in their life (teachers, neighbors, loving family member who believed in them and supported them) and this assists them in being resilient. Or could you reach out to the mom? It does sound like a painful situation. If you were able to see that the little one was under-developed (not walking, playing, talking as she should at her age) maybe mom would be open to an early intervention program where they come to the home for kids under 3 and teach the parents skills and work directly with the child.

If the mom is leaving her strong pain pills laying around the house that could be a potential CPS call. If the child is wondering around without supervision (how old is she?) that could be a call for inadequate supervision especially if she lives in a neighborhood where there is a higher level of risk. If the mom is doing the basics: roof over her head, enough food (*just not good food) and provides her with age appropriate supervision, you may be right and nothing to base a call on.

Best of luck to this little girl. And thank you for being concerned.
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#3 of 15 Old 08-05-2010, 11:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ellemenope View Post
I am not friends with the mother. She is nuts (IMO). She is a hypochondriac, addicted to strong pain pills, and has a really hard time keeping jobs.
You can call CPS for this. You should call CPS for this.
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#4 of 15 Old 08-06-2010, 01:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You can call CPS for this. You should call CPS for this.
She is addicted to pills, but if you talk to her, this is result of of her doctors' poor management. She has been on patches to help her wean, but then she is always claiming a new ailment and on more pills. I am thinking she shops around. She does have an 'in' in the medical community.

Like I said before, I am far removed. I am in this situation where I hear and see enough to know something is really wrong, but I am in no position to know all the facts and call CPS.

I remember when the girls were a little older than 12 months old. She claimed her little girl had a milk allergy and that all she could drink was Kool-aid. I was shocked, but no one would hear my concerns.

But, what really made me upset, was that on several occasions they gave the little girl ice cream and she was fine. When I brought that up, the mom said, almost caught off guard, "Oh, well she will have a belly ache tonight, ha ha."

It is like this mother just makes things up. I truly feel like I can't believe anything she says. I wish I could say that about everything else, but it keeps coming up and smacking me in the face.

I only see them maybe twice a year. The grandma vents to my mom who lets me know things I guess because the girls are the same age. The little girl is 25 months old.
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#5 of 15 Old 08-06-2010, 02:36 PM
 
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Me? I would get involved. I would befriend the mother and encourage her to be an honest, kind and open mother. I would send her care packages - magazines and herbal tea for the mom and a safe toy and/or outfit for the child. I would keep the cousins connected by sending pictures of your child. And when you do see her set up playdates and get to know the mom while the kids are playing. Take some organic juice boxes with you and healthy snacks. Help the mom to be able to help the daughter.

That is just me. I have done this approach several times. It has been really hard but fruitful. Some of the mother's have turned on me later when they basically refused to see their own selfishness... but the kids have been loved better and I have helped them to get better care in one way or another.

What should YOU do? Follow your heart and do what you can. Please do not rush to judgment. I have witnessed women being really ruthless and dishonest about another woman's mothering before. I encourage you to get to know the mom yourself rather than listening to second hand info.

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#6 of 15 Old 08-06-2010, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Me? I would get involved. I would befriend the mother and encourage her to be an honest, kind and open mother. I would send her care packages - magazines and herbal tea for the mom and a safe toy and/or outfit for the child. I would keep the cousins connected by sending pictures of your child. And when you do see her set up playdates and get to know the mom while the kids are playing. Take some organic juice boxes with you and healthy snacks. Help the mom to be able to help the daughter.
We live five states away at the moment but are trying to move back to the family soon. Even then they will be over 3 hours away, but at least we wont have to wait for the stars to align to actually see eachother.

I llve your ideas. I know this works becasue I have seen my own parenting beliefs rub off on others.

I doubt she would be that receptive, but I still just want to be close to the situation so that I can see things first hand and speak up.

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Originally Posted by hotmamacita View Post
What should YOU do? Follow your heart and do what you can. Please do not rush to judgment. I have witnessed women being really ruthless and dishonest about another woman's mothering before. I encourage you to get to know the mom yourself rather than listening to second hand info.

That is wonderful life advice. Thank you. right back at you.

I have seen enough first-hand to believe the stuff I hear from the MIL (my aunt), but i do try to remind myself to give her the benifit...
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#7 of 15 Old 08-06-2010, 03:11 PM
 
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I hear you and you really have to do what feel right for you.

I do imagine that several simple care package with thoughtful items and a note of encouragement in her mothering will impact her over time.

Also...I just thought of this... since she grabs kool-aid (probably for its convenience)... hibiscus tea is herbal, needs no sweetener (although a little honey and/or sugar won't hurt) and is red in color. Looks like kool-aid. You could brew that and take in along on playdates. I mix it with chamomile tea to add the calming affect for my kids. Bring it to a playdate and if and when she asks about it, share the recipe with her and the benefits of using it. Gently explain how dyes and artificial ingredient can make mothering even harder by altering kids attention span, hyperactivity, etc.

I know how hard that type of situation can be but you seem to have a wonderful, honest and caring heart. Trust it.
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#8 of 15 Old 08-06-2010, 07:22 PM
 
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I would check to see what CPS is like in her state. Some states are better helpers than others, in terms of getting everyone help. You might be able to get her help without calling CPS, some states have info lines you can call to get help and resources without turning the parent in.

I would consider worst case scenario, if the child was removed where would she go?

If Mom gets help with her addictions would you want the child to stay in the home?

Just something to think about before you call. In most states anyone can call for any reason.

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#9 of 15 Old 08-07-2010, 11:55 AM
 
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I do think it's enough to involve cps, but if you live so far away and don't have day to day knowledge, it won't get taken seriously. When you are closer and can document more, it might. If she has an in with a doctor, then here she is legally allowed to take the meds. Another horriblly sneaky invasive thing to do is find out the name of the kids' pediatrician and teacher and ask them to be on the lookout for the kid- they are mandatory reporters to cps.
We lived next door to a similar situation, I didn't call cps, it got much worse, but when cps was involved they were ready for it and got their house cleaned and shaped up their act. And these people drank morning, noon, and night, but weren't completely hammered until 7 or 8 pm. CPS only ever visited between 5-6:30pm, never when they might have observed morning drinking or totally hammered. Sorry.
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#10 of 15 Old 08-08-2010, 01:33 AM
 
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I would check to see what CPS is like in her state. Some states are better helpers than others, in terms of getting everyone help. You might be able to get her help without calling CPS, some states have info lines you can call to get help and resources without turning the parent in.

I would consider worst case scenario, if the child was removed where would she go?

If Mom gets help with her addictions would you want the child to stay in the home?

Just something to think about before you call. In most states anyone can call for any reason.
I think this is wise advice. I've called before to ask "is this something to report?", found out it's not enough to build a case on, but been given some leads on resources and ways to support a struggling family. All anonymously, all without 'turning anyone in'. CPS does have problems, but I would wager that the vast majority of case workers want to help families help themselves, and are more than happy to give resources in hopes of not having to get involved.

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#11 of 15 Old 08-09-2010, 08:37 AM
 
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She is addicted to pills, but if you talk to her, this is result of of her doctors' poor management. She has been on patches to help her wean, but then she is always claiming a new ailment and on more pills. I am thinking she shops around. She does have an 'in' in the medical community.

An addict is an addict is an addict.

The source of her addiction doesn't matter. She is neglecting her child and has an addiction. Explain it to CPS and if they can see the neglect, they will intervene. I worked in a position that made me a mandated reporter in MN for 4 years. I would have called on this in a heartbeat.

Once you call, it's up to CPS.

Your only alternative is talk to the child's mother. Tell her gently, but firmly that she is an addict and she is neglecting her child. Hook her up with recovery resources in your community -- treatment center and/or NA. Offer to take her child while she goes to treatment.

If you can't talk to mom, all you can do is call CPS. Alternatively, you can stand around and say "Ain't it awful..." and let that child suffer.
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#12 of 15 Old 08-13-2010, 10:20 AM
 
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No way would I call CPS for this. Lets not pretend CPS involvement doesn't often make things worse for the kid. Daycare will make up for some of the nutrition and so will school when she's old enough. I agree with sending care packages and developing a relationship with them though, it's a great idea.

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#13 of 15 Old 08-13-2010, 11:35 AM
 
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I love the idea of sending the care packages and such. You mentioned that the child in question is around the same age as your child? Since you are concerned about the mom being receptive, try using that as your starting point. Pick up a little age appropriate toy and send it off with a little note talking about how your child received this as a gift and just loves it and since the children are the same age, you thought of her child and thought she might like it too. Then maybe follow that up in a few weeks with a pic of your child with said toy and ask how the other child is enjoying it. Then perhaps follow up with some clothes, with a note talking about how you got such a GREAT deal and went a little overboard, so you thought her child could use some of the excess. That way you can slowly work yourself into an influence in her life.
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#14 of 15 Old 08-13-2010, 11:52 AM
 
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I'm somewhat confused. Your main points of contention are that the child has no bangs, eats frozen pancakes, and drinks koolaid? Without knowing any of the backstory, I also gather that the child has been diagnosed with FTT?

I'm not quite sure how not having bangs plays into all of this... My daughters are 7½ and 2. They do not have bangs. I have no intention of ever having bangs cut (unless they request them later on.) Is the in-between stage somewhat awkward? Why yes, it is. We get by with hair-clippies and such. But I would hardly constitute my preference for natural, uncut hair to be neglect.

On the subject of koolaid and frozen pancakes... While I have never offered my children koolaid to drink, I am aware that there are many parents who find nothing wrong with it. One could argue that at least it's not carbonated or caffeinated... But of course it's not as healthy as plain water. However, different beverages choices do not constitute neglect. In fact, many children (for whatever reason) refuse to drink plain water at all, so I would think that providing a water-based (non-alcoholic) beverage would be the exact opposite of neglect in that case.

Frozen pancakes? My oldest daughter used to be very tiny. She gained weight painfully slow. I think the only thing that saved us from a FTT diagnosis was the fact that she never actually lost weight, and we had an ultra-supportive-BFing-advocate kinda pediatrician. Still, he told us to feed her whatever she wanted in an attempt to get calories in her. She was very particular, and never really expressed an interest in solid foods until I weaned her. At that point, I tried my best to offer only healthy (high fat/ high calorie) foods... but invariably someone else would offer her junk citing the doctor's "feed her whatever she wants" advice. This made feeding her very difficult. I couldn't afford to play stubborn mommy. She would literally starve herself rather than eat something that didn't appeal to her. She's gotten much better over the years, but at 7½ there are still days where she wants nothing but frozen burritos for every meal. I prefer not to fight with her. Do I offer healthy foods? Yes. Does she eat them? Sometimes. But if it's a choice between her eating a frozen burrito or her not eating at all, then I choose to feed her the frozen burrito. Is my child neglected? Not even in the slightest.

I guess my point is that I'm failing to see anything to worry significantly about, let alone call CPS over (though I realize that you've already acknowledged the fact that the 'neglect' isn't "enough" to warrant a CPS call.) I realize that you think she's addicted to pain pills, I've seen many people addicted to them myself and it's quite sad. But on the flip-side, there are also many people that NEED pain relief on a daily basis. Of course, I understand the small-town drug prescribing doctor mentality you're alluding to. I know that doctors don't always do the right thing in that respect, and that patients don't always provide them with the information necessary to make accurate diagnoses and prescription medication decisions. But it is entirely possibly that your first-cousin actually suffers from ailments that require pain management medications. If your only proof of her addiction is the apparent "neglect" of her child, then I really wouldn't think there would be a leg to stand on. Along those lines, I also don't think you really have much to worry about. I could be totally wrong. I don't know this woman, nor do I fully understand the situation your describing. But the concerns you're mentioning here don't seem to be dire enough to even warrant non-CPS intervention. It sounds more like you don't agree with her parenting choices and are working yourself up over nothing.

To everyone suggesting CPS... There are many children actually being severely neglected and abused. Those are the children that would benefit from being removed from their homes (as the risk of them ending up in a less-than-stellar foster home would be preferable to the risk of leaving them in their real homes.) However, because of so many BS calls from people unwilling to accept the fact that not everyone parents as they do, the system is overloaded beyond belief. Children who desperately need intervention are not receiving it. Loving parents who are simply making the best decisions for their families are being put under the microscope and suffering the stress and inconvenience of an unwarranted investigation by CPS. The problem rests heavily on the mentality that just because someone isn't making the same choices as you, then they must automatically be making the wrong ones. Seriously. Taking prescribed medication and feeding your child koolaid and frozen breakfast foods? Seriously not a CPS emergency.

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#15 of 15 Old 08-14-2010, 04:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I only have a minute. But, I want to clarify/defend myslef.

Koolaid--She has been given only this for drink. ONLY. since she turned 1 year old and stopped drinking formula. This, while being FTT. I though it odd that they did not continue formula stage 2, or whatever. But, she was and has only been givin kool-aid, because the mom claims that the child is lactose intolerant.

Bangs--I find it kind of funny that you think I mean she doesn't have bangs cut. No offense. I am just laughing at the misunderstanding. No, her bangs have never grown. For whatever reason, her hair is not growing right. It is just another sign of FTT.

Frozen pancakes--This is just stemming from the latest comment I got to hear coming form the grandmother the the little girl is given nothing but frozen pancake in that house. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She is not picky. It is just convienient. (I have the picky one. I know. It sucks.)



You all sound like the voices in my head. I go back and fourth like the directions this thread takes.
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