Need CPS help in Canada - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 33 Old 10-22-2007, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My brother and his girlfriend just had their kids apprehended. They were taken from school and put in foster care. His ds is 16 and hers are 8 and 4. They were removed for domestic violence (he has a record for dv from fights between him and his ex and there are allegations that him and girlfriend had a few big fights, I don't know if it was physical or just yelling and such).

I know there will be opinions on their situation, I have a few strong ones myself. I won't go into all the details, as it isn't my life story to share. I just want my nephew to come through this okay and I want them to know their rights while they fight to get their kids back.

Please spam me with any and all resources to help them when dealing with the system. I already gave them the number for legal aid.

Thanks!


 

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#2 of 33 Old 10-22-2007, 09:30 PM
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I know there will be opinions on their situation, I have a few strong ones myself. I won't go into all the details, as it isn't my life story to share. I just want my nephew to come through this okay and I want them to know their rights while they fight to get their kids back.
(emphasis mine) Fighting would seem to be what got them into the situation. Can you offer a safe space for the kids while the case proceeds?
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#3 of 33 Old 10-22-2007, 09:42 PM
 
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sorry to hear that.. i can't offer you anything but good thoughts that things will turn out ok.

Kristin- Wife to J, Mommy to B (11), M-S (8), and little J (4) and J&J (7 months)
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#4 of 33 Old 10-22-2007, 10:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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(emphasis mine) Fighting would seem to be what got them into the situation. Can you offer a safe space for the kids while the case proceeds?

I am not clear on all the issues that have led them to this place, but they are here now. They love their kids and they want to do what they need to do to get them back. In the meantime they need to know their rights and the best way to protect their children. Foster care is not necessarily the best option, and being taken from school with no warning is so traumatic for them.

I am not in the same city as they are. I am considering taking my nephew if he wants to come though. I have only known her and her kids for less than a year, hopefully there is someone in her life that can take in her kids (I don't know her well enough to know if that is the case).


 

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#5 of 33 Old 10-22-2007, 11:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#6 of 33 Old 10-22-2007, 11:57 PM
 
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I don't know the specifics on cases in Canada...even here in the U.S., things can vary greatly between states.

A lot hinges on why exactly the kids were taken. I believe that there was a case in New York that found that simply having DV in the home was proven not to be a reason to take kids away, but again, that's in NY, and not Canada. Has a service plan already been brought up? Court date set? They need to be in touch with CPS to get some documentation on why exactly the kids were taken away.

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#7 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 12:01 AM
 
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I'm sorry they're going through all that. I hope those kids find peace soon.

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#8 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 12:03 AM
 
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What province are they in?
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#9 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 12:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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They are in Alberta.

They had a visit about a week ago, then this. There was no warning. I don't know that there was DV in the home, from my understanding they just had loud arguments. Of course people aren't necessarily open and honest about these things so who knows for sure. The record my bro has for that stemmed from his first marriage which has a long and complicated history. He has not been in trouble with the law since then and I don't know the details of this relationship other than he has been living with his girlfriend since last year. She seems nice.

I think this progressed so quickly because of his record, and because his kids have been in the system before. My nephew's mom used to leave him and his sister alone for days at a time, then eventually abandoned them. My brother was in jail at the time and didn't know. He found out when CPS apprehended them. That was 8 years ago, he regained custody of his 16 yo ds last year.
I don't know about her kids or her history.

I don't know what is going on in the home but I can understand why CPS may have felt the need to investigate. They reacted way over the top though. The kids were not in danger, they were taken care of and loved, and they were in a stable home. Any issues could have been resolved before coming to this. The parents were cooperating. My bros gf is devastated. She feels her dad may have called because he disapproves of her choices in life. I just want to help them know what to do next. The kids were taken this afternoon and they are in shock. I gave them the # for legal aid. I just need an idea of what to do next. They want to move quickly to minimize the trauma the kids are going through.

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#10 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 12:38 AM
 
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No advice, but I hope that this resolves quickly.

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#11 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 01:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been googling all evening, but haven't found much. Does anyone know where I can find some sort of guide to dealing with the system specific to Canada/Alberta?


 

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#12 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 02:42 AM
 
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This is the Alberta website for the Canadian equivalency of CPS
http://www.child.gov.ab.ca/cfsa/page.cfm?pg=index
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#13 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 03:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks.

I found some useful info. According to the "Enhancement Policy Act" they should have offered them the opportunity to rectify whatever problems they felt needed to be addressed. They should have had more time. They should NOT have removed them so suddenly, if at all (the family unit is to preserved if at all possible). And they should not have removed the 16 yo (children over the age of 12 have to consent to the plan of action). There are more questionable actions on the part of Family Services that I won't even go into (I don't want to violate the family's privacy as much as possible).

I sent them all the info I could find. I hope they can get this worked out. The mom is so distraught. Her kids are really sweet, and regardless of what else may or may not be going on they love her and she loves them. Even if the situation isn't ideal they need to be at home and not with strangers in foster care. They are not at risk of being harmed or neglected.

I just don't get why they would remove the kids from parents who are willing to cooperate. I don't know if the reasons for investigation are valid, but it seems as though the removal was not done in accordance with their own rules. And these are parents who are willing to do what they need to do, but they haven't even been given the time or opportunity to do so. There surely are kids who are actually being harmed, adults who fight may not be a good thing for children to witness, but removal from their home just seems so harsh. They could have offered so many other options that could have kept these kids in their home. I can't imagine how scared and alone they must feel.

Any other links or tips are gratefully appreciated.


 

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#14 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 11:31 AM
 
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The mom is so distraught. Her kids are really sweet, and regardless of what else may or may not be going on they love her and she loves them. Even if the situation isn't ideal they need to be at home and not with strangers in foster care. They are not at risk of being harmed or neglected.

..........

There surely are kids who are actually being harmed, adults who fight may not be a good thing for children to witness, but removal from their home just seems so harsh. They could have offered so many other options that could have kept these kids in their home. I can't imagine how scared and alone they must feel.

Mama, I am so sorry your family is going through this. It must be hard to be so far away. And I think it's important that this stay a support thread with info so I'm going to offer my tips. Please, for the sake of the kids and your brother and his partner, do not minimize the harm, instability, fear, terror etc fighting can have on children in the home. I know I'm not the only survivor of a home with a lot of big fights on the boards and I know I'm not the only one who could tell stories of how much growing up in that environment, despite the complete absence of physical violence, greatly effected myself and my siblings all the way into adulthood. It's taken a lot of work to recover from that environment and none of us are there yet.

There was never any physical violence and none of the extreme fighting was ever directed at any of us - but it was devastating. Terrorizing. Growing up my siblings and I used to lock ourselves in a closet and hold our ears and each other and cry for hours. And I'm not exaggerating. To this day I have a duck and cover reflex around loud noises or any kind of loud voices - even voices shouting out in triumph or joy. Most days now I can talk my way down from it and steady my heart and breathing but it's taken a whack of years to get there. Growing up in a household like that wasn't safe or comfortable. We were always waiting for a fight and the four of us took on the inappropriate responsibility of peace keeping to try to prevent fights. It's also taken a lot of work and some very patient partners to reach a point where I can work through relationship challenges without fighting. Or running away. Or being disrespectful and name calling etc.

I think the best way to help your family now is to encourage your brother and his partner to seek couples therapy right away. Maybe someone who specializes in nonviolent communication (words can be so violent and they can escalate disputes to really loud fights quick - they need to learn to communicate and deal with issues in another way.) They also need to speak with a qualified counselor in order to understand just how damaging the environment at home is for the kids and what they've taught the kids about love and how to handle disagreements etc. When they do get the kids back the kids aren't going to trust any work they've done on themselves and are going to need a lot of reassurance and honesty when it comes to what the adults are doing to ensure the same stuff doesn't keep happening again. They'll also want to hear from the adults that their terror is understood and acknowledged.

I think the only way they can turn this around is if the people around them don't minimize the situation by supporting them in a way that minimizes what was going on in the home. Help them take it seriously and seek proper counsel. And help them fight to get their kids into counseling. I can't imagine how scary being removed from school was for them but I can imagine the home life and they'll need help healing from both.

Talk to your brother and his partner about how serious the situation is for the kids. Support them in their search for help. be there. But don't minimize the harm that's been inflicted on the kids in the home. That runs the risk of hindering the life changes they need to make.
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#15 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 11:44 AM
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I'm naive when it comes to CPS, can your brother call them and ask what steps he could be taking to help get the kids back? I don't know if anger management, couples counselling, parenting courses would help their situation but certainly they would look good to a judge.
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#16 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There was never any physical violence and none of the extreme fighting was ever directed at any of us - but it was devastating. Terrorizing. Growing up my siblings and I used to lock ourselves in a closet and hold our ears and each other and cry for hours. And I'm not exaggerating. To this day I have a duck and cover reflex around loud noises or any kind of loud voices - even voices shouting out in triumph or joy.
I am sorry this was your experience, I imagine it was a hard way to live. But would you have rather had a bunch of strangers show up at your school and never let you go home again? To have your home taken away from you is so terrifying for a child. Would you rather have lived with their parents while they got help, or have been taken away for an indefinite period of time. Which is LESS damaging for the children?

This isn't about whether my brother is right or wrong. Or about whether his relationship with his girlfriend is healthy or not. Those answers are pretty clear. This IS about how family services violated their own procedures and removed children from their home without giving the family the opportunity to rectify the situation.

You can't take people's children unless they are at risk of serious harm or neglect. Hearing the parents fight 4 times over the course of the year is not sufficient grounds for removal, especially since they only had their first visitation a week ago. How is that even time for therapy, classes, or whatever?

The family may need intervention, but the kids should NOT have been removed.


 

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#17 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 12:11 PM
 
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Having been taken by children's services in Alberta myself, I can tell you one thing right up. The foster system is pretty good. And they don't take kids lightly.

As in, your brother is probably being FAR from open and honest about the situation.

They both need to proactively sign up for domestic violence groups, and a therapist. They need to be SEEN doing the right things to clean up their acts. Addiction counselling, anger management, parenting courses, cleaning up their house, etc. They need to behave themselves into getting their kids back.
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#18 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 12:21 PM
 
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I am sorry this was your experience, I imagine it was a hard way to live. But would you have rather had a bunch of strangers show up at your school and never let you go home again? To have your home taken away from you is so terrifying for a child. Would you rather have lived with their parents while they got help, or have been taken away for an indefinite period of time. Which is LESS damaging for the children?

Honestly, yes. All four of us would rather have been removed. It might have shaken their lives up that they came to the decision to separate way earlier than they did. In fact, one of the things we all had to work through was the extreme anger we felt at the people surrounding our family at not stepping in and forcing a change. We've all had very frank discussions with family friends and neighbours and relatives about this as we've grown.

The day they separated (way too late) we all finally breathed and then cried tears of relief.

The thing is it can't be just about getting the kids back. It can't be selfish on the part of your brother and his girlfriend - selfish is what they've been doing when fighting in the house and around the kids. It's got to be about being tired of living that way and having their kids live that way. About deciding what they all deserve. And if it was so easy for them to do it with the kids in the house why hasn't it been done? Their relationship is still very young and should be good - still in the honeymoon phase. But they're fighting enough or in such a way that CAS has intervened.

They should focus on that and do what they have to while working to get the kids back. But ignoring the reality and minimizing it in order to fight to get the kids back will have them right back where they are before long. The only goal can't be getting the kids back or nothing changes. It has to be getting our crap together, doing the work, and getting our kids back. I'd talk to them about that.
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#19 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 12:26 PM
 
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Hearing the parents fight 4 times over the course of the year is not sufficient grounds for removal, especially since they only had their first visitation a week ago. How is that even time for therapy, classes, or whatever?
It's not how many times the fights occurred (if that's an accurate number), but how the fights happened. How did they fight?

Couples fight/argue/whatever. And they don't lose their kids. But this couple did. What's the difference between how they fight and how other couple fight?

Again, circling the wagons isn't going to help this couple get the help they need to regain their kids. Separating might. Counseling might. Honesty. But not blind support. They don't need that right now.
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#20 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 12:28 PM
 
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I wish I had information to help you, but I know nothing about the Canadian system.
You have my thoughts and support, though.

Good luck!

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#21 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Honestly, yes. All four of us would rather have been removed. It might have shaken their lives up that they came to the decision to separate way earlier than they did. In fact, one of the things we all had to work through was the extreme anger we felt at the people surrounding our family at not stepping in and forcing a change. We've all had very frank discussions with family friends and neighbours and relatives about this as we've grown.
I think that is an easy thing to say, but the reality of a child being ripped from their home is a frightening and permanently damaging thing. I am not questioning their involvement. I AM questioning the removal. It didn't need to come to this.


 

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#22 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 12:57 PM
 
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I'll bow out now because I don't think you're able to hear me. I will respond to this first though:

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I think that is an easy thing to say, but the reality of a child being ripped from their home is a frightening and permanently damaging thing. I am not questioning their involvement. I AM questioning the removal. It didn't need to come to this.
As is staying in a house with big fights. It really is. Maybe you could do some research and present it to your brother? My parents fought maybe 4-5 times a year. Have you ever fought, BIG and LOUD, in front of your DC? My guess is no, but if you've ever did you notice how they reacted? Did you look at their expressions? It's frightening and if it happens more than once it can be no less damaging than being removed (some of the kids I've worked with found their removals a relief). I won't say permanently damaging though cause kids removed and those kids not can grow and heal if they're supported in their journeys.

You can love your brother and support him while being frank with him and his girlfriend. You can help them take it seriously and do what they need to with love. Whether CAS was right or wrong and fueling their anger won't change that it is now what it is and they have to deal with it.

I hope it all works out for the best for everyone.
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#23 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 12:58 PM
 
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I am sorry this was your experience, I imagine it was a hard way to live. But would you have rather had a bunch of strangers show up at your school and never let you go home again? To have your home taken away from you is so terrifying for a child. Would you rather have lived with their parents while they got help, or have been taken away for an indefinite period of time. Which is LESS damaging for the children?
well.. my husband did have this happen. cps show up one day & remove him & his 2 sisters & they went to a foster home.

none were sad about it. they where glad to be outta there & sad when they where returned.
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#24 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Having been taken by children's services in Alberta myself, I can tell you one thing right up. The foster system is pretty good. And they don't take kids lightly.

As in, your brother is probably being FAR from open and honest about the situation.
I actually know a few kids who were taken as well, and you are lucky if your situation was a good one. A good childhood friend was beaten regularly in her foster home, and there have been more than a few stories in the news about suspicious deaths in foster homes in this province. Not all of them are good experiences. I know at least one FORMER foster family (former for a reason) and I know a foster family that treated their foster kids wonderfully. And I know at least one person who is leaving social work because it is too difficult to have to watch the children who need help slip through the cracks while families who don't face unnecessary harassment and involvement. There is good and bad in every organization.

That is besides the point right now though, I am interested in helping these kids come through the experience the best they can. I did some research last night, and they actually CAN'T take the 16 yo without his consent. A child over the age of 12 is allowed to give informed consent in regards to their situation. And how things were done doesn't follow the priorities laid out in the Enhancement Act or other documentation I have found online.

And of course there is more going on here, I am not going to share all the details as I don't want to violate their privacy. But, my uncle is a live-in nanny for them and my nephew is 16, both of them actually live in the home and CAN say what has been going on. I am not particularly close to my brother, but my parents and another one of my brothers are very close, spending nights there frequently. The situation wasn't great (clearly), But staements like this
Quote:
As in, your brother is probably being FAR from open and honest about the situation.
are just not accurate. Nor do they help the 3 children who were taken from school yesterday.

From what he was told it was because of his record. The bias against him because of his record is strong even though he owned up to what happened and served his time. He never violated his parole, and he regained custody of his ds. I am surprised I haven't received a lot more negative posts about this really.

Thanks for the advice so far. I am passing it along. I just don't want these kids to suffer more than they already have. I want the system to HELP THE FAMILY like they are supposed to.


 

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#25 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'll bow out now because I don't think you're able to hear me. I will respond to this first though:



As is staying in a house with big fights. It really is. Maybe you could do some research and present it to your brother? My parents fought maybe 4-5 times a year. Have you ever fought, BIG and LOUD, in front of your DC? My guess is no, but if you've ever did you notice how they reacted? Did you look at their expressions? It's frightening and if it happens more than once it can be no less damaging than being removed (some of the kids I've worked with found their removals a relief). I won't say permanently damaging though cause kids removed and those kids not can grow and heal if they're supported in their journeys.

You can love your brother and support him while being frank with him and his girlfriend. You can help them take it seriously and do what they need to with love. Whether CAS was right or wrong and fueling their anger won't change that it is now what it is and they have to deal with it.

I hope it all works out for the best for everyone.
Honestly, I am not trying to fight with you. I don't question that the fighting is damaging to the kids. And if people have huge fights that kids can overhear they obviously are not in a relationship that is healthy for anyone. But my opinion on their relationship isn't helpful to their children. My advocating for their children is.

I just don't feel like removal is the best way to support THIS family. I don't know much about the past of her or her kids, but I do know my nephew and this is NOT in his best interest. And kids his age should have the right to decide for themselves (he is 16). I want to help them so their kids don't end up suffering for the mistakes of my brother's past.


 

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#26 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 01:37 PM
 
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nicole lisa~ I am sorry that you are bowing out of this thread because I was nodding and agreeing throughout most of your posts. Thank you for being so transparent and informative.
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#27 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 02:07 PM
 
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I posted and it got lost. I just wanted to mention to the poster who said that she was removed by the system in Alberta that all cases are differently. I've been fairly closely involved with two different scenarios here in BC. In one of them, the kids were seized in the middle of the night (the 8 year old was woken up and taken from his bed), based on one allegation of something having happened to his older brother 12 years prior. In another, two very young children (1.5 & 2.5) were left for months with their mom, who was addicted to heroin, didn't feed her kids unless someone else bought groceries, and often wasn't even home. I'd hate to see anyone make assumptions about the system based on either of these cases...because the way each was handled was totally different from the other.

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#28 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 03:07 PM
 
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Don't encourage your brother to fight the system. There is nothing that can come out BAD for a person who has past violence issues and anger taking help for those. Taking parenting course won't actually harm him or the children. Taking an anger managment course, and some couples counselling won't harm the children or the parents.

Essentially, proactively pursuing an agenda of self and couple improvement (anger, violence, addictions, parenting) with haste would be the quickest and most useful course of action. There is no down side to it.

Has it occured to you that the 16 year WANTED to leave? And just doesn't want Daddy to know that? I suggest that you talk with the 16 year old before babbling to your brother.
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#29 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 03:30 PM
 
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Has it occured to you that the 16 year WANTED to leave? And just doesn't want Daddy to know that? I suggest that you talk with the 16 year old before babbling to your brother.
That's what I was thinking as I was reading the thread. Glad someone finally mentioned it.
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#30 of 33 Old 10-23-2007, 04:04 PM
 
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Don't encourage your brother to fight the system. There is nothing that can come out BAD for a person who has past violence issues and anger taking help for those. Taking parenting course won't actually harm him or the children. Taking an anger managment course, and some couples counselling won't harm the children or the parents.

Essentially, proactively pursuing an agenda of self and couple improvement (anger, violence, addictions, parenting) with haste would be the quickest and most useful course of action. There is no down side to it.

Has it occured to you that the 16 year WANTED to leave? And just doesn't want Daddy to know that? I suggest that you talk with the 16 year old before babbling to your brother.
Yeah this........ Sometimes kids are scared of hurting their parents so lie instead (I used too when it came to custody issues with my parents, it was bloody horrific).
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