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What happened to Parental Responsibility?

Updated on May 9, 2011

We hear of many examples of poor parenting in the media these days. Virtually every week there are stories about children left in hot cars by absentminded or drugged parents. Kids that are not watched who wander off and get in trouble.

Parents who leave their small children at home while they go out and work or socialize.I guess with today's economy we have families who are stressed trying to make ends meet, or are people just ignoring what parenting is all about?

I understand that things have changed since I was a child. My friend and I used to leave the house in the morning, and we often would not come home till dinner time. We would get on our bikes and go all over town, We had no limits. As long as we were home by curfew, we were in no trouble.

In today's world, that would likely be seen as insane. Are there more reports of bad parenting because there the media and internet gives these situations more exposure?

My Neighbor

I see people doing things that make me think they would be bad parents in any generation. I have neighbors who make me a little crazy. They have a girl, 16, a boy 15, a boy 7 and a daughter who is 3.

The mother works a good job, and the dad stays home to take care of the kids as he is currently out of work. If he actually did so, things might work out.

I know there are fathers who take care of their sons and daughters and do a fine job. This guy is not one of them. He aspires to be an MMA fighter, he spends a few hours a day training. I understand it is good to stay in shape, but he is past his prime, and he should be parenting his kids instead of dreaming to be the next Tito Ortiz or Chuck Liddell. He has taken steroids to build up his body, and he has anger issues because of that, and also says he has trouble sleeping, so at night he sits on the front porch drinking beer and smoking pot to relax. It is not unusual to see him and the 15 year old drinking beer on the steps.

The mother leaves for work at 7am. The youngest daughter gets up when the mother leaves, and usually is outside playing somewhere in the neighborhood until 10-11 am when the father wakes up.

I don't know if any place is safe for a lone 3 year old without supervision. We live one block from the busiest street in town. For the most part, she stays away from it, but more than once, my wife or myself have seen her chasing her cat on that block. We find ourselves taking our dogs outside, or doing outside chores in the morning so we can watch out for her.

Sometimes the youngest son will get up, and he comes outside and watches her or plays with her. This could be a good thing, except 7 year olds do not have great judgement, and this morning I smelled smoke about 7:30, so I went out and found that the 7 year old had started a fire in the charcoal grill so he could cook breakfast for himself and his sister. I know his intentions were good, but he used a whole bottle of charcoal iighter on a few briquettes, and there were huge flames both in the grill and on the porch beneath where the excess charcoal lighter had run out of the vents on the grill. I helped him make sure that the fire was out, and we got them something to eat.

The father usually drags himself out of the house by 11am. He comes out on the front porch in his pajama pants, yells at the younger kids to pick up their toys as he picks up all his beer cans from the previous night. The teenagers usually get up about the same time, and they complain that they are hungry, and he tells them they can wait till dinner time.

The afternoon is full of yelling because the kids interrupt his workouts. The teens usually sneak out to the backyard and smoke while he does his weightlifting etc, or like last week, they snuck out of one of the bedroom windows and got on the roof.

Around 4pm, the mom comes home from work, and she often gets upset because no one in the house is doing any housework while she is gone. In some ways I feel badly for her, because she seems to be the only thing keeping a roof over their heads and gets no credit for doing so.The husband seems to use his size and strength to intimidate her. If she says a cross word to him, he blows up, and hits the wall of the house and tells her next time it will be her head. I have never seen him strike her, but there are plenty of threats.

The teens just seem to be mostly angry, and without guidance. They argue whenever one of the parents ask them to do something. The 16 year old girl seems to have very little self esteem, and tries to throw herself at any male that shows any interest in her. I took out the trash the other night, and she was in the alley with 3 guys who appeared to be groping her. I asked if she was okay, and she responded that she was having fun and I should mind my own business. Fine, but I just wanted to make sure she was okay and not being forced. 16 is the age of consent in this state, so I guess that is fine

Call the Authorities?

I know some folks might ask if we had thought of calling the authorities. Here, our state child protective services are horribly underfunded, and they themselves say they do not have funds to investigate claims of child neglect unless the child has actually been physically harmed.

I know of a child that was severely beaten by her stepfather a year ago, and they just now have issued notice to the parents that they will investigate this claim of abuse sometime in the next six months,

The sad thing is, if it was an animal being abused, there would be an investigator out within 4 hours of being notified.Our government fully funds the group that investigates animal abuse, but the child protective services has been cut so deeply they can barely function.

I don't think animals should be abused, but I think that CPS should be funded fully just as animal protective services are.


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    • puter_dr profile image

      Mike Bouska 5 years ago from Midwest USA

      Suzanne, Thank you for the comment, and have a great day!

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

      Thank goodness you and your wife were there to provide some help! It takes a village to raise a child! These days, people who want to be responsible for any other living thing should take classes and be licensed. Voted up and interesting!

    • puter_dr profile image

      Mike Bouska 7 years ago from Midwest USA

      Update on this story. Last Thursday I had early appointments so I was not around, but when I got back, I was talking to a neighbor down the street, and the father in question came out of the house and was very upset.

      He started pacing and then started running down the next block. It turned out he got up and his 3 year old daughter was gone. He started going door to door looking for her. She was found 3 blocks away. In the mean time, the neighbor called the police. They got here just as he got home with the daughter, after verifying she was home ok, they talked to the Dad and then made a referral to CPS.

      Someone in a state vehicle came to visit them on Friday, and at 3:00am Saturday morning the family was moving out. By this morning, they were gone, with nothing left but trash and beer cans.

    • Lillee McLoflin profile image

      Lillee McLoflin 7 years ago from Texas

      I have a friend who used to work with CPS and she said this is unreasonable. If a child, especially one so small, is being neglected it warrants at least a home visit. Whoever you are speaking to should be held responsible if something happens to those kids. Such a sad world we live in when things like this don't matter.

    • days leaper profile image

      days leaper 7 years ago from england

      That is a horrible situation to be in. It sounds like the authority people need investigating because they simply don't seem to have much sympathy for children... Being English in UK., I don't know the system but isn't there also national rules that can be investigated by FBI. or somebody?

    • puter_dr profile image

      Mike Bouska 7 years ago from Midwest USA

      My wife called the child protective services, and they said they were sorry, but unless the child was physically injured, they did not have manpower to investigate. They suggested if we saw the child get injured, to call the police, and then the police could engage them.

    • Lillee McLoflin profile image

      Lillee McLoflin 7 years ago from Texas

      Wow, I can't imagine a 3 year old outside by themselves in a fenced yard much less playing somewhere outside near a busy street! I say call the authorities until someone does something. Those kids shouldn't have to pay for poor parenting.