Discipining Children Today and Child Protective Service
Getting our kids to tow the line, do as they are told respect their elders, and doing their homework, is not the same when it comes to getting those results as it was when I was a kid. A generation ago, there was no fear of having your kids removed from the home, put into foster care, or anything like that unless you were caging them in the basement without food and got caught.
Everything has changed these days, and if your kids have had any teaching about being hit, abuse, or punishment from school or anyplace else, you have to be very careful about how you teach them right from wrong, or instill your values as you see fit if your child boldly defies you and your wishes. For most families things run fairly smooth as long as there are rules, and nobody in the family, parents or kids have any out of the ordinary behaviors that everyone has to deal with within the family unit.
When problems can and do rear their heads is when a child, perhaps bordering puberty or older decides that he or she is going to take over with a rebelliousness, or figures out that it is not too hard to blackmail mom or dad if they do not want to follow the rules of the household. Things can also get ugly if mom or dad believes that a good old fashion over the lap spanking is what is needed for the child that just refuses to obey the rules.
In some of these kinds of situations, it is not too hard for an outside influence to become involved if a child decides he is able to have a parent arrested, a child does not have the ability to think things through to a logical ending sometimes and feels that the parent needs to be taught a lesson, or in a fit of temper decides that he or she would be better off someplace else where mom or dad does not have the authority to handle things the way they see fit.
It only takes one quick minute of a child feeling sorry for himself, or seeking the aid of an outside person to avoid something he knows he has messed up and does not want to face to change the whole family and their future for good. Sometimes the 8 to 10 year old mind does not comprehend the difference between discipline that is needed as opposed to a child who is being beaten or abused for no reason, and in the panic of a single moment call out for the help of authorities with a simple 911 call to cause irreperable damage to a young family who become part of the system, changing the course of their future, and those children in it. There are kids who know when they can take advantage of this system and their parents cannot do anything about it.
One day my oldest son, who then was in about the second or third grade had come home from school, while I was cleaning the kitchen. He came in and said hi, and I returned the greeting. He asked to go outside to play, and I asked him to put away about 6 or 8 assorted clean dishes for me so I could wash the rest. He did not want to and whined about it, stamping his foot at me saying that he didn't want to. I in turn picked up a wooden spoon from the sink and waved it in his general direction telling him to do as he was told.
I know that he was not afraid of me, and I don't know what caused him to react as he did, except that he thought that he could get away with it. He ran out of the back door, onto our patio, screaming loudly, "Mom, don't hit me, please don't hit me again."
I was totally suprised at this outbreak for I had not hit him at all and had no intention of doing anything more than threatening him, and he knew that I was not going to hit him with it, as I made no move in his direction, and had never hit him with anything like that before. I believe that he had heard something in school about this sort of thing and decided to try it out. Well, as it turned out, a neighbor heard him and called the police. When I answered the door, he smiled at me like he was trying to say "Yeah, what are you gonna do now?" and threw his head up in the air like he had showed me, standing there with his hands on his hips.
I was a single parent at this time, and I believe he was trying me to the fullest. I was extremely fortunate that when I explained the incident to the officers, and after they had examined his body, having him remove his shirt. He was very quick to tell the officers that I hit him all the time and even in the face, which was an outright lie. I did have a moment while the officers were talking to lean over and tell my son that even if I went to jail over this, I would be returning. His eyes grew very wide with that thought.
After discussing this incident between themselves, they turned to me and my son and said to us, "Well mom, it looks to us as though this is nothing more than a family problem, carry on." and left.
This is when my son and I sat down and had a heart to heart discussion about what he had done, what he had tried to do, and what could have happened if we had not been so lucky as to see his little plan. I explained to him that he could have been taken out of our home and taken to foster care, which he had no idea what that was or what would have happened to him then. This whole incident scared both of us. I was very glad to have the second chance to talk to my son about what he did. It could have turned out so differently.