Monday, July 4, 2022

Can't Watch

The people across the street are an interesting bunch. Three young boys run around naked (or close to it), and three dogs run with them. In the country, it might not seem so strange, but in a town setting, it is very bizarre. 

I fear for the puppies. Inevitably, they are going to get hit by a car. 

I watch the boys. It appears that the mother works days, and the father works nights. During the day, when the father is sleeping, the oldest boy (who just turned 11) is tasked with caring for the two younger boys. Two neighbors and I were discussing this. The woman said, "He's not doing a very good job of it." I said that I wouldn't expect him to, being just a child himself. 

The thing is that there is a playground group that meets right across the river. Since the two younger boys are too young for the program, the older boy cannot go either. It's got to be a pretty boring summer for him. 

Unfortunately, this is the sort of thing that Child Protective Service seems unwilling to handle. There's no actual abuse happening that I can see, and they are burdened with cases that do involve those awful circumstances, but I keep thinking that there is no reason that two little boys can't come over and play in our yard for the day. There is no reason that I cannot make them a sandwich at lunchtime. Make certain that they are dressed. 

Everyone is telling me that this is such a bad idea, that I should simply stay out of it.

I'm not sure that I can, though.

 I remember being a single mother, trying to sleep days, with all three kids out of school for the summer. Although my own were much older, (the youngest was 6, the oldest 14), I remember how awful I felt about it. I knew they were bored and left to their own devices too much. 

I felt like a shit parent, but there was no help. My parents had made the decision that I'd made my bed, etc. etc. It struck me as strange thinking. My then husband was in prison. No matter what they thought of me and my choices, there were three grandchildren who were blameless. 

I look at the situation across the street and I find myself thinking back to those desperate days. 



26 comments:

  1. A tough read Debby, and an honest one too. I'm sure it was very tough being a single mom. My parents weren't divorced but both worked full-time (often nights) and us 3 older kids were tasked with taking care of the younger 3, making dinner, cleaning up, checking their homework and putting them to bed, etc. My mom often said the same thing, she felt guilty but we loved her all the more for it--you have nothing to feel guilty about either. If you DO step in with those boys across the way, I hope you let us know. I'm sure they'd enjoy knowing you as well. :^)

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    1. It just seems like a big burden put on the kids. That's all.

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  2. It is kind of you to want to help them. Maybe you can speak to the parents to see if they are open to your idea and you can decide how much time you have available to help them. Good luck!

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    1. I would never get involved without speaking with the parents first.

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  3. Good for you for thinking of helping out. With the tone of your post I would think your help might be gratefully appreciated.

    While the post was a hard read, your attitude has made my day. Many people would just slag off the parents. Thank you for restoring a little bit of my faith in mankind.

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    1. It just seems like there are more helpful things to do besides passing judgement.

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  4. Here, that sort of well intentioned intervention would possibly land you in trouble with the child protection authorities. It can be difficult to offer genuine help so many just don't even try anymore.

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  5. The parents might agree...if they can get to know you and realise your fellow feeling with them..
    I brought up four by myself, working part time to fit in with their school and with help from a fellow smallholder on the next section down..swapping grazing for childcare...under dire threats from their father that I would lose them...not that he was atall capable..

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    1. Oy. We went through that with our grandson. The father hasn't seen him since William was five, but that doesn't stop him from threatening all sorts of stuff.

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  6. I think you are very good and brave to tackle the issue. As JayCee says social workers can also be difficult as well.

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    1. Believe me, I don't have a lot of confidence in social workers in my area. They don't strike me as helpful.

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  7. Please don't feel bad about having to raise kids on your own. I'm finding that most of those kids have turned out better than many others. My now 34-year-old son is very grateful for his upbringing and knows how tricky it was.
    Maybe chatting with your neighbors about your idea would be good. You could offer to watch them one day a week within your schedule. Be cautious and hide valuables though if they come inside. If all goes well, you could advance to another day, or even an overnight campout, inside, that could help the other parent. Linda in Kansas

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    1. I would never get involved with children without speaking to the parents first. That is just setting yourself up for trouble.

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  8. Gosh this is as hard decision for you - needs some thinking about or maybe involving Social Services if you have them over i n yourpart of the world.

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    1. We do have social services but the sad truth of it is that they are so involved with cases that involve violence or injury or substance abuse that simple child neglect seems to fall pretty low in their priorities.

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  9. This is a tough call. I imagine it's hard to see that going on and not want to do something about it. You might sit down and discuss some options with the parents. You can get a feel for them and the situation. If you pick up any 'not so good' vibes'....move on. It might be a blessing for them. Or they may get suspicious. With people today, I'm very cautious. The last thing you want is Children's Services knocking on your door.
    Good luck and I hope all works out well for all involved. Keep us posted.
    Paranormal John

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    1. I would never get involved without talking with the parents first.

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  10. The anon comment is from me Debby - the only wasy I can leave one. Weaver

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    1. This blogger stuff is terribly frustrating, isn't it? A couple days ago, well after the fact, I noticed that all my comments were 'anonymous'. ON MY OWN BLOG!

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  11. That's a hard one. You will open yourself up to any kind of accusation but has our society become so bad that offering a little casual child care is too risky? I'm pleased you have at least thought about it.

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    1. It is a hard choice that bears careful thinking.

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  12. Good on you for bettering yourself from a miserable situation.

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  13. It would be nice to find a way to help the kids. I hope it all works out somehow.

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  14. I admire your desire to help. Most people would simply turn away. (I would, I admit it.) On the other hand, though, there's got to be some incredible risk involved in taking on liability for those kids during the day. Maybe it would be a good idea to get to know the family better and develop a sense of what the kids are like? (I'm getting the impression that you don't know them well...)

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  15. Stray cats and stray kids, you have a good heart.
    Your parents sound like unpleasant people. You needed help. Maybe your neighbors do too.

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