CPS showed up at my door today. - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-11-2007, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Around 3-3:30 Michiagn Social workers or CPS whatever they are call here came to my door with a complaint of child neglect, unsupervised children, and "uneducated" children due to homeschooling. They stated that my children (ages 8, 7, 5, 3, 2, and 1 BTW) could not read or write, or write their name. I was really pissed at the homeschooling allegation the most. My 5 yo can write his name is starting to learn how to read. My older 2 know how to read, my 7yo better than my 8yo but hey all kids are different and I even had my 7yo read out of the solar system book we were learning from earlier.

While it's beside the point I am just really unnerved and scared.

Thankfully through other's experiences I knew better than to let them into my house, which was kind of dissheveled because, well I have 6 kids! I tolod them not without a warrant. They said it'd be a court order, and I said ok then get a court order then, I know my rights. Then they tried to use a little scare tactic and said I was just making it harder on myself. I of course didn't care. My worst fear just knocked on my door and I was not about to let them in unprepared!

I have called church friends, family, HSDLA, lawyer friends, and feel somewhat prepared when and IF they come back.

I am really really needing some links and help in what to do next to prepare myself as best as possible.

The thing that really started this was and is my 2 youngest boys who are 2 and 3(almost 4). They are escape artists and when they see an opportunity they will leave the house and go into the front yard and the 2yo heads into the street. It scares me SH-less and we've taken precautions with triple locking the doors but with older kids they sometimes forget to lock the doors. I try my best but it's not always perfect you know? I've had neighbors complain to me and understandably so, but I'm not neglecting them or not watching them. I usually get them, back into the house ASAP or as soon as I realise they are out there.

What I seriously don't get is how ANYONE can assess my children's academic status based on not even knowing me or the kids?! How would they know whether or not my children can read or write? It pisses me off! I have letters from my girls even from today that they wrote themselves. They e-mail their Abuela, and write her letters. My 5yo son's Sunday school teacher knows that he can write his name and she said he can do it well. My 7yo can read at about a 3 grade level in my opinion, and I know my 8yo is a little behind but that's the way she is and I don't worry about it. She does her best and we work with her. She prefers math over words.

I am just so distraught. I need anything you guys can give me. Links or books or advice, anything.

TIA

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Old 06-11-2007, 10:18 PM
 
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All I have are the links I've bookmarked from seeing them on CPS threads so many times. Good luck! Sorry this is happening to you!

http://www.fightcpspackets.info/Pare...TheSystem.html

http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwi...arch/index.cfm

http://www.falseallegation.org/index.shtml

http://www.fightcps.com/

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Old 06-11-2007, 10:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you I only had 1 or 2 right now and just want as many as I can get.

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Old 06-11-2007, 10:30 PM
 
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No real advice just keep your head and have faith in yourself, yeah how can they assess your dc's reading comprehension from a vindictive phonecall? Breath deeply and don't let em make you doubt homeschooling and your lifestyle, yourself or your dc, your ideals and goals. Thats persecution and monitoring your dc's academic/developmental progress or family 'hygiene/'health' is often used as an excuse to nosy into peoples lives that are often not ordered and mainstream or clean enough lol as 'they' would like us to be. Many, many children who attend schools are being failed badly by the system but no real interest there from cps or education authorities huh?

I feel there can be a strong element of cps and plenty others trying to 'rehabilitate' people into what is more 'acceptable' to them and much of society. Often it is a judging exercise ( judging women really)and not all cps work to this method but many do, and it can be a powertrip for those whereas another may be inclined and/capable to assist families who require it and ask for it.Judging homeschooling is just another tactic, I mean just cos some cps person personally disagrees with the idea of hs, they likely will know zero about the subject as well of course, or care, it's no good reason. Much muck can be spread with the right mouthpiece, many cps imo should quit the day job and 'report' for tabloids, the especially nasty ones. It's revolting they want in homes to see whats going on in your personal space cos that is invasive. parent police and it's controlling, hopefully you will deal with someone who doesn't have a personal vendetta against everything they don't understand, u'know just sheer narrow-mindedness, nothing to do with helping kids stay safe within the family. Much of what is learned in schools imo is irrelevant and stifling, boring for a lot of children but somehow it's the acceptable method.
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Old 06-11-2007, 10:34 PM
 
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That had to be a pretty scary experience. Great job on keeping them out and preparing yourself and your family for a possible re-visit!
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Old 06-11-2007, 10:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lotusdebi View Post
All I have are the links I've bookmarked from seeing them on CPS threads so many times. Good luck! Sorry this is happening to you!

http://www.fightcpspackets.info/Pare...TheSystem.html

http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwi...arch/index.cfm

http://www.falseallegation.org/index.shtml

http://www.fightcps.com/
don't forget : canadacourtwatch.com they have links to American sites too.

My best advice document EVERYTHING!!! record ALL interactions with CPS covertly ( video is better with sound but if you can only do sound recording - DO IT!!!). After each interaction write a letter stating all that happened word for word in that meeting\interaction with them - send it registered mail that requires a signature and reply within 10 days. In the eyes of the law silence is acceptance! This also shows that they cannot "fudge" what has been said or done. DON'T SIGN ANYTHING!!! If they try to insist on it state you need to talk to your lawyer first before you sign anything and they cannot remove your children without a court order and cannot enter your home without a warrant either. If they force you to sign something, under your signature write signed under duress.

I'm not saying all CPS workers are bad but I've heard and seen too much to ever completely trust CPS\CAS ever.

Those sites tell it all.

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Old 06-12-2007, 11:37 AM
 
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I would document everything and try not to be too worried. CPS workers are required to follow-up on a complaint about your family to make sure it isn't true. Most CPS visits are closed as unsubstantiated cases. Somebody called them and said that you are not caring for your children, unfortunately sometimes CPS arrives to find children locked in bedrooms and starving. From what I understand, they are usually THRILLED to find an unsubstantiate complaint and a good home.
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Old 06-12-2007, 11:44 AM
 
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The thing that really started this was and is my 2 youngest boys who are 2 and 3(almost 4). They are escape artists and when they see an opportunity they will leave the house and go into the front yard and the 2yo heads into the street. It scares me SH-less and we've taken precautions with triple locking the doors but with older kids they sometimes forget to lock the doors. I try my best but it's not always perfect you know? I've had neighbors complain to me and understandably so, but I'm not neglecting them or not watching them. I usually get them, back into the house ASAP or as soon as I realise they are out there.
Either you're watching them go out the door and run out into the street, or you're not watching them. I don't mean to be harsh, because I know you have a lot on your plate with six kids, but trying your best is not good enough. You need to do whatever you need to do to keep your toddlers from playing in the street. This is one area where there is no room for error.
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Old 06-12-2007, 11:54 AM
 
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Since I am currently dealing with CPS right now (our almost 2 year old is in temp. foster care pending the autopsy of our 7 week old daughter that died over two months ago...it's been trying, to say the least), I want to stress the importance of doing everything IN WRITING. Document, document, document. So many things in our case have become he said, she said, and we just didn't know any better in the beginning.

Start by making a document of this visit, and what you remember was said, the exact time, etc. When they return, follow them around with a pen and paper if you can't with a video camera, and document everything that is said. Don't say anything TO them, because your words may get twisted awfully quickly. Don't let the kids say anything to them, because THEIR words may get twisted as well. If something IS said, put it in writing, and as a previous poster mentioned, mail it off requiring a signature for acceptance. And make a note of when you mailed it, and keep a copy, so that if you do not get a signature in return, you will be able to use it in court, if need be.

As an example, from our case, we were treating our 7-week old's diaper rash with Desitin. I even pinpointed WHERE the Desitin was in my bedroom when I was questioned outside of my home after she died. That has now turned into "possible child neglect", because they noted the diaper rash, but managed to leave out the part about US treating it. (And apparently, our child is the only baby to ever have diaper rash, so that means we were neglecting her! Nice, huh?)

I will be praying that CPS backs off from you...trust me when I tell you, if they don't, it is a long, tough road ahead, and even worse when you KNOW you did nothing wrong. I'm living a nightmare every single day, and my social worker even knows we didn't do anything, and wanted to give us our daughter back from the start, but was overruled! There are so many hands in the pot, it is unreal.

Hopefully, all it will take is showing them the three locks on the door, and that should be enough for them to leave you alone. Good luck!!

ETA: I agree that toddlers should not be playing in the street unsupervised. If the neighbors had already mentioned it to you, unfortunately, this is a normal next step. However, I don't agree that they should attack any homeschooling in addition to whatever they think the problem is. It's very hard for me to be objective, since I know how much it hurts to be dealing with CPS at all.

All that being said, even if they do back off, it takes one more report of the kids being in the street, or even someone from CPS seeing them in the street (yes, we feel as though we have been followed more than once) and you could find yourself dealing with CPS via the court system...

Single WAHM to 5yo DD, 2yo DS, and forever 7 week old angel DD.
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Old 06-12-2007, 11:54 AM
 
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Either you're watching them go out the door and run out into the street, or you're not watching them. I don't mean to be harsh, because I know you have a lot on your plate with six kids, but trying your best is not good enough. You need to do whatever you need to do to keep your toddlers from playing in the street. This is one area where there is no room for error.
Perhaps she should lock them in closets and let them out to eat and pee. Oh, but that would substantiate child abuse... D@MN! .

I agree with the others. DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT!

These threads always make me twitchy. I'm going to go clean now myself!

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Old 06-12-2007, 12:02 PM
 
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Perhaps she should lock them in closets and let them out to eat and pee. Oh, but that would substantiate child abuse... D@MN! .
I manage to keep my kids out of the street without locking them in the closet. I only have two and one of them isn't walking yet, so it's a lot easier for me. But still. Toddlers in the street is not okay, period.
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Old 06-12-2007, 12:07 PM
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I manage to keep my kids out of the street without locking them in the closet. I only have two and one of them isn't walking yet, so it's a lot easier for me. But still. Toddlers in the street is not okay, period.
I agree. You could get an "alarm" system that alerts you (with a chime, etc.) when the door opens..........that way, even if the door is accidentally unlocked, you'd still know when they are headed out there.

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Old 06-12-2007, 12:28 PM
 
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I don't see that anyone is saying that's a great thing. The OP isn't.

In truth when you have older kids, they aren't as vigilant as the parents are. She has 3 locks on the doors to keep the toddlers in. I have 4 kids. If the 7 or 8 year old go outside and I don't know it, or the come back in and don't get the door shut all the way the 3 year old can and has gotten out with no one out there.

It happens. Having someone with no experience with a larger family give advice when they have a toddler and an infant isn't helpful at all. You might want to watch out for all the Karma which is BOUND to bite you in the backside some day.

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Old 06-12-2007, 12:37 PM
 
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I don't see that anyone is saying that's a great thing. The OP isn't.

In truth when you have older kids, they aren't as vigilant as the parents are. She has 3 locks on the doors to keep the toddlers in. I have 4 kids. If the 7 or 8 year old go outside and I don't know it, or the come back in and don't get the door shut all the way the 3 year old can and has gotten out with no one out there.

It happens. Having someone with no experience with a larger family give advice when they have a toddler and an infant isn't helpful at all. You might want to watch out for all the Karma which is BOUND to bite you in the backside some day.
:

I am going to guess that you also don't have any experience with a true escape artist/climber. I have a climber who would stack things to doomsday to reach what he wanted......thank God he wasn't an escape artist as well.

Noone thinks that toddlers in the street are a good idea. I would watch throwing judgments out when you appear to have no experience with a large family and/or an escape artist.

It is amazing how many things I spouted off about when I only had a toddler and an infant. I ate a lot of crow once I had three under the age of four. It's amazing what can happen when you are doing things with the baby and the others are not right next to you the whole time. We joked a lot with Zachary that he got more milkshakes than anything else from me chasing after the others.

I know my brother has five under the age of six and they have two escape artists. They work as a team to break through security measures that are in place. It is amazing what a four year old and three year old can do when they set their minds to it. Thankfully, he lives out in the boonies and the kids typically are just working to go play on the playset.

Rebecca wife of Megan...moms to six crazy kiddos! Seth (15), Madison (13), Zachary (12), Trevor (12), Alex (10), and Nicholas (9)
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Old 06-12-2007, 12:42 PM
 
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Either you're watching them go out the door and run out into the street, or you're not watching them. I don't mean to be harsh, because I know you have a lot on your plate with six kids, but trying your best is not good enough. You need to do whatever you need to do to keep your toddlers from playing in the street. This is one area where there is no room for error.
What you say here is laughable because it feels like you have no idea how quickly small children can escape. When I read it, I kringed at the bad karma aspect of it as well as the naive judgement that is sure to hurt the OP.

As a mom of 3...all of them walking, and one who has no idea why he, at 2 can't have the same freedoms as my 5 and 7yo, I can say that my youngest has slipped out before. It happens.

I hope that you get past this with CPS. You did the right thing, now go get a video recorder and a stand.

((hugs)) Lisa

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Old 06-12-2007, 12:46 PM
 
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Also, isn't it in Michigan where a mother lost her son because he was fat! No other reason, plus they took her newborn, white female child the day it was born and terminated her rights to it as well? Hmmm, I'd watch out for Michigan Social workers and wouldn't be helpful to them at all.

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Old 06-12-2007, 12:51 PM
 
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Wow, that really stinks!

Maybe you could cross post your post in the Homeschooing board...I'm sure they would have lots of links and tips specifically pertaining to the homeschooling/uneducated aspect of this.

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Old 06-12-2007, 12:52 PM
 
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isn't Michigan where Kindhearthabibe is ? She had all her children taken and one of them killed. I wouldn't trust MI CPS as far as I could through them.

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Old 06-12-2007, 12:53 PM
 
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Well, as for the kids getting out, you do need to fix that. One inexpensive way is to get those door chimes that let you know the little monkeys have opened a door. Then help train everybody in the house that if they hear the alarms they should go look immediately. It's hard at first, but within a few weeks, it comes natural.

I know this could be extremely expensive, but can you fence in your yard? I bet a ten foot privacy fence around your entire house sounds great right now, but maybe just a four foot fence???? I honestly have no idea what something like that would cost.

That's all I can think of to keep the kids inside. Except, maybe a tether... hooked to the back of their pants, and when they get too close to the door, they are yanked back by a bunjee.
______________

I wonder why someone would call CPS? It sounds like the homeschooling is really bothering someone. Why would other people become so concerned with your child's education? I just think it is weird that neighbors would make an assumption like that, and potentially put your whole family at risk.

I wish people would think very hard before doing these things.
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Old 06-12-2007, 02:23 PM
 
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What you say here is laughable because it feels like you have no idea how quickly small children can escape. When I read it, I kringed at the bad karma aspect of it as well as the naive judgement that is sure to hurt the OP.
Where was the naive judgment? That toddlers shouldn't play in the street? That it's possible to keep toddlers from *repeatedly* escaping into the street without locking them in a closet? If that's naive, boy howdy. I don't know what to say.

As far as my post being cringe-worthy, you know what makes me cringe? The idea of toddlers repeatedly getting out of the house and running out into the street.
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Old 06-12-2007, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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oops double post

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Old 06-12-2007, 03:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok 3 door lock, I do have door alarms on the inside doors, and yesterday when they "escaped" it wasn't through a door at all per se.

They did go out into the back yard which is fenced in. It has 2 gates which we've securely locked as well.

So how did they get out? We discovered that they've figured out how to climb over the fence!

So what now? a car battery hooked up to the fence? Or perhaps barbed wire mounted on the top of the fence? Both are kind of dangerous.

We have locks on doors, baby gates, cabinet locks, fridge and freezer locks, and if I could I'd install an invisible fence and attach a monitor to the boys so they never run out into the street again I would but it's kind of unethical don't you think?

This has happened 3 times now. Apparently the 3rd time was enough for someone to call on us even though each time it happened we stepped up our security measures.

I'm sorry you don't hink my "best" is good enough, but I do what I can with what I have at the time. How in the h#ll am I supposed to know my boys would climb over the fenced in yard? They are only 2 and 3 and I had never seen them do it before until yesterday after the fact!

After the second time it happened I went out that same day and got more locks and tearfully cried to my husband about this CPS scenario happening.

But I guess I am just a bad mom compared to some. I love them, feed them, clothe them, house them, educate them, bathe them, monitor their health, and then when they get themselves into dangerous situations I try to rectify the problem ASAP NOT knowing the future of whether or not they'll be able to adapt to our security step ups and break out again. But like you said my best just isn't good enough I guess. Maybe they should take them away. I'm pretty sure the foster car house won't have doors or fences my boys won't figure out and escape through.

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Old 06-12-2007, 03:01 PM
 
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Where was the naive judgment? That toddlers shouldn't play in the street? That it's possible to keep toddlers from *repeatedly* escaping into the street without locking them in a closet? If that's naive, boy howdy. I don't know what to say.

As far as my post being cringe-worthy, you know what makes me cringe? The idea of toddlers repeatedly getting out of the house and running out into the street.
She does have a point. If the kids have gotten out the same way more than twice, there is a problem. Surely there is also a solution.

But, if neighbors are having to repeatedly bring pre-schoolers and toddlers back to the safety of their yard or home, there IS something going wrong here.

The OP didn't say how many times the kids have escaped though. Maybe it was only three or so times. But, maybe it was seven or ten... that means that the kids aren't being supervised properly.

In Arizona, it only takes once, to get in the backyard, and your kids are dead within five minutes after they fall into the pool. Other people judge those parents for not securing the doors. Or for not having a locked pool fence. Or for leaving the pool fence open.

But, nothing has happened to these kids, so we can say, "Oh that's O.K". But, if this same two year old wanders three blocks away, we would say "You should have known they were out of the house"

Kids DO get outside. It happens, no matter how diligent we are. Just Friday night, I found a two year old riding a trike down the middle of the road singing "Life is a highway" at 10:30 at night. I had never seen him before. So, I stopped him, and another neighbor and I tried to figure out where he came from. Turned out, he was visiting his cousins for the weekend, and wanted another turn on the trike, so he snuck into the garage, climbed on the little tykes car, opened the garage door, and stole a bike. (pretty clever)

It just happens.

I am not bashing the OP, but it is time for her to get some kind of alarm on her doors.
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:12 PM
 
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This has happened 3 times now. Apparently the 3rd time was enough for someone to call on us even though each time it happened we stepped up our security measures.

.
Now, to me, three times isn't really all that bad. I wouldn't have called CPS for three times.

The battery on the fence sounds good!!:

If they are finding new ways out, I don't know what to tell you.

My only advice then, is to take them out A LOT. Seriously, take them out, and go wherever they want (within reason) so they don't need to see what they are missing. Go to the park every day. Take all the kids, and have the biggest kids bring school work if they need to keep working.

Get some pools and water things in the backyard. I buy a blue tarp, and some painters plastic then run the hose on that, and the kids use it as a big slip n slide. Have them play in the water after the older kids have finished their lessons.

Basically, wear them out.
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:31 PM
 
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Where was the naive judgment? That toddlers shouldn't play in the street? That it's possible to keep toddlers from *repeatedly* escaping into the street without locking them in a closet? If that's naive, boy howdy. I don't know what to say.

As far as my post being cringe-worthy, you know what makes me cringe? The idea of toddlers repeatedly getting out of the house and running out into the street.
The judgment from someone who isn't experienced with multiple children was cringe-worthy.

The judgment that all you have to do is watch them at all times, which btw is impossible once you have multiple kids, is cringe-worthy.

The judgment that you can just do xyz to make certain that an escape artist/climber can just be contained easily is cringe-worthy.

The idea that you can just tell an older child to close/lock the door and they will comply every time is naive. You may have one in the bunch that never forgets (my nine year is like this), but then you will have others that remember sometimes (my 10 year old), and then there are the ones that rarely remember (my 12 year old).

What do you think would be a good idea for helping the other kids remember to close/lock the door?

Rebecca wife of Megan...moms to six crazy kiddos! Seth (15), Madison (13), Zachary (12), Trevor (12), Alex (10), and Nicholas (9)
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:33 PM
 
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I am not bashing the OP, but it is time for her to get some kind of alarm on her doors.
I do agree an alarm system of sorts is a good idea. I wonder how to help the older kids remember better to shut/lock the doors.

Rebecca wife of Megan...moms to six crazy kiddos! Seth (15), Madison (13), Zachary (12), Trevor (12), Alex (10), and Nicholas (9)
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:06 PM
 
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The judgment from someone who isn't experienced with multiple children was cringe-worthy.

The judgment that all you have to do is watch them at all times, which btw is impossible once you have multiple kids, is cringe-worthy.

The judgment that you can just do xyz to make certain that an escape artist/climber can just be contained easily is cringe-worthy.

The idea that you can just tell an older child to close/lock the door and they will comply every time is naive. You may have one in the bunch that never forgets (my nine year is like this), but then you will have others that remember sometimes (my 10 year old), and then there are the ones that rarely remember (my 12 year old).
I am about to lay a cringe-worthy judgment out there right now (this is NOT about the OP but just a general cringe-worthy judgment): if you have more children than you can keep safe, you have more children than you can handle. You (again, general you) need to either get more help or change how you're doing things.

If you think that's a cringe-worthy judgment you are more than welcome to cringe away. I'm sticking with it. I'm not too far away from where Tristan White and Avery Stately died (they were the 2- and 4-year-old brothers who went out to play and never came back, because they drowned in a lake about a half mile from their house). I am also in the same state as a little girl named Leanna Warner was when she wandered away from home and never came back, and four years later she still hasn't been found. Very bad things can happen to kids, and it makes me sick to think about them.

I am not one of those people who believes that everything will be okay and the kids will be fine. Some things don't turn out okay, and sometimes the kids end up hurt or worse.
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:12 PM
 
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Six months ago my two youngest left the house hand in hand to cross the street to where my eldest dd was visiting a friend. I was frantic, & thats an understatement. All that I could imagine was that someone drove by and took them. But they were across the street at the friends house. I couldn't breath right for at least three hourse, though they were pretty proud of them selves. After that we made it imposssible for them to leave the hours without an adult. However this morning my ds left the house to fetch a shirt from the car. I thought he had meant my car in the driveway, only he actually meant his dads car which was in front of the house and across the street. I went out yelling for him and a lady answered, she had driven by and saw him standing on the street! I felt awful, thinking about what "could have happend", anyway my point is that with small children, one must be repetative, with everything. the OP didn't say that her kids ran out three times, three days in a row, or weeks or months apart. I agree that toddlers do not belong in the road, but who would disagree with that? WHO? However, I think that the OP was asking, that is, the clear point of her thread, was for help with CPS, not a repremand on her parenting skills, she's already got CPS on her back.

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Old 06-12-2007, 04:20 PM
 
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The idea that you can just tell an older child to close/lock the door and they will comply every time is naive. You may have one in the bunch that never forgets (my nine year is like this), but then you will have others that remember sometimes (my 10 year old), and then there are the ones that rarely remember (my 12 year old).
Or, you can have one who never forgets...ever...except once. DS1 left the patio gate unlocked when he went out with a buddy - ONCE. That happened to be the evening that dd decided to go after him. Fortunately, we checked on her quickly enough that she hadn't gone that far when we realized she was missing...but it still took almost 10 minutes to find her.

My nephew was the master climber/escape artist. I don't know how my sister coped with it at all. She had CPS called on her by someone who saw him get out once. He had woken up from a nap, shoved a chair to the door, unlocked it and left...straight down the apartment stairs and into the street. My sister was running water for dishes, and didn't hear a thing. The first she knew was when a woman yelled in her door, after chasing my nephew back into the building. This all took no more than a few minutes, as my sister hadn't finished running the water yet. Her son was sound asleep in his room when she went into the kitchen. He was 2. She had to take down the baby gate in his room, because he kept climbing it and knocking it over and hurting himself.

Some kids really are nearly impossible to contain.

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Old 06-12-2007, 04:21 PM
 
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However, I think that the OP was asking, that is, the clear point of her thread, was for help with CPS, not a repremand on her parenting skills, she's already got CPS on her back.
I was specifically responding to her statement she tried but wasn't "perfect". It sounded awfully cavalier to me. Since then she has added more detail and it's clear that she's taken a lot of measures, but if they're not working, they need to try something else. That's all I'm saying.
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