DailyDirt: Bad Parental Judgment

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Parents have a lot of decisions to make that they may be encountering for the first time — choosing between formula or breastmilk, letting a kid have more than 2 hours of screen time per day, determining when a kid is mature enough to be left alone, and the list goes on. Decades ago, some of these decisions didn’t even exist, but recently, it seems debatable parental choices can be criminal offenses under exactly the wrong circumstances. Here are just some examples of the increasing societal judgment of bad parenting.

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Comments on “DailyDirt: Bad Parental Judgment”

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Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Social Engineering

The issues with social engineering include, but are not limited to, not knowing or looking for the unintended consequences of legislation, differences in opinion on the ‘correct’ way, religion (think the Buddhist version verses the variety of christian versions verses, the Shinto version, etc.), and a fervent need to create legislation, for the purpose of creating legislation that creates the aura of the legislator being busy. In your name of course.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Leaving the kid unattended when you know
> it’ll only be a few minutes and conditions
> nearby are safe? Not bad parenting.

There was another recent case that wasn’t included here where a mother was arrested/fined/cited/whatever for leaving her 13-year-old kid in the car while she went in shopping– at the kid’s request. Girl didn’t want to be dragged around the store and probably thought sitting in the car snapchatting or tweeting would be more enjoyable.

Some busybody shopper reported a child alone in a car to the cops, next thing you know, mom is in criminal trouble.

We’re talking about a kid who has the ability to OPEN THE DOOR AND GET OUT if she gets to hot. Or likely had the keys and could have turned on the AC.

What’s next? Are we gonna arrest parents for letting their 17-year-old kid spend time alone in a car that they’re old enough to drive because they’re still technically a minor?

When the hell did sanity and common sense go out the window when it comes to this kind of thing? It’s like I woke up one day and everyone– from the schoolteachers, to the cops, to the D.A.s, to the average citizen– has just lost their minds when it comes to stuff like this.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

We’re talking about a kid who has the ability to OPEN THE DOOR AND GET OUT if she gets to hot.

That’s the thing that gets me about all these stories. You don’t have to be 13 for that; I was capable of doing that as far back as I can remember. It doesn’t take much intelligence to figure out a car door handle, or much brute strength to push one open. (Unless it’s the sliding door of a van, but even vans have normal car doors up front.) It literally is “so easy, even a child could do it.” So how does this ever end up causing trouble for any kid big enough to be out of carseats?

Vic says:

Re: Re:

Yep, same thing here. I was 7-9 yo and always went out alone (or with friends but no parents) to play outside. Went to the railway, the bridge above it, went to the park (about 2 miles away) with a river in it and lots of other dangerous things, went just to the streets. We used to go to an old factory buildings and some old fenced abandoned industrial yards. Lived on the edge!

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Latchkey, but not the same way. Dad traveled for work, mom stayed home and felt sorry. My brothers and I…at the earliest opportunity, escaped with an admonition to be back for dinner. It was often better if you got out of the house before the ‘rents arose. In-between was not a consideration, unless blood and/or broken bones were involved.

Of course we grew up. Then, the leaving part was interdicted with ‘are your chores done?’. The fight for the only vacuum cleaner on Saturday morning sometimes got physical.

Then there were the dinners that everyone actually attended. Father at the head of the table (he was a journalist) with the latest Scientific American puzzle open and pointing questions at all present. Sometimes, we actually solved them.

I could, and you all could, go on about how ‘well’ you were raised, and how that should be a model for every one else.

But, one thing my mother told me, after my father was gone, and as her memory was deteriorating, when some older things become more important, she told me that the biggest mistake my father had made…was treating us (my brothers and myself) the same. The mistake was not identifying us as individuals, and then acting according to individual needs. Instead, a blanket policy.

Social engineering treats everyone the same.

We are not.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re:

oh, hell yeah…
we kids ran around outside ALL THE TIME unattended, unsupervised, unadulted in any way, shape or form, from the time we could walk… especially during summer…
and when we got bikes, forget about it, we were gone baby gone… we went ALL OVER the place, down by the railroad tracks, over to the university, down to the candy store, whenever, wherever we wanted…
my mom was not lax in any manner of speaking (for example, we had to learn our times tables by heart up to 12×12 before we could get a bike, she taught us to read before we started school, etc), but she didn’t give our ‘dangerous freedom’ a second thought, just wasn’t an issue, either privately or publicly…
precious snowflakes now ? shit, they can barely tie their own shoes without an adult; never made (much less eaten) a mud pie; couldn’t fix their own bike if you spotted them a bike shop; and couldn’t find their way across the street without a GPS…
i’m pissed i go by a yuppie school on my commute every morning, and if that school has 500 students, it takes 600 fat SUV’s to get them there from the yuppie neighborhood next door… even kids out in the country get the precious snowflake treatment: moms wait in their SUV’s with their kids at the bus stop…
r u effing kidding me ? let the useless crybabies wait in the rain and heat instead of coddling in the car…
that’s the other thing -not just kids- but adults have lost the ability to dress appropriately for the weather; if they aren’t in their air-conditioned shiny metal boxes, or in the a-c’ed office, etc; they suffer, because they don’t know how to dress for heat, or cold, or rain…
hot house flowers who couldn’t -and wouldn’t want to!- survive a day without their modern conveniences…

Zonker says:

When I was a child, every kid I knew but one was allowed to roam freely within the 1 square mile neighborhood unsupervised from the age of 6. There were no cell phones for us to carry. The kindergarten teachers even sent me to walk 1/2 mile home with one of the other kids as my only “supervision” daily at age 5. We all were routinely left in the car or at the coin-op arcade games in the front of the store while our parents shopped for about 10 minutes at a time. I frequently went by myself to the corner 7/11 or Plaid Pantry to play arcade games or buy candy. We just had to be home by dusk. By the time I was 12, I was able to be left all day at the city museum to entertain myself while my parents were at work.

Nothing bad ever happened to any of us despite a Blood gang hangout on the north border of the neighborhood and a Crip gang hangout outside the Super Kmart on the northwest corner. We just knew to avoid them.

I am a normal, healthy, very successful adult today. I somehow avoided being the victim of someone like the pedophile asshole in the third link who took pictures of that lady’s child in the car while she took two minutes to buy him some headphones and, instead of him being arrested, somehow got a warrant out for the mom’s arrest. If that had happened to me when I was a kid, I guarantee that the abuse caused by his false report would have destroyed my life. I would not be normal. I would suffer severe mental and emotional trauma from the loss or threat of losing my loving parents. I would not have had the means to have become successful in a career path that was largely the result of my parents guidance.

I just don’t see how any kid could grow up normal in an environment where bad people could have them taken away from their safe homes and loving families because their parent isn’t two feet away from them at all times.

The guy who deliberately left his 4 year old son to die in the hot car all day however deserves to burn in hell. That was no accident nor is it reasonable when the car was parked right outside the on-site daycare at his workplace.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Making mistakes is the way of learning. You don’t know 10,000 mistakes, you know 10,000 ways not to do it. Ask Edison.

When one takes the ability to make mistakes (physically (think coordination (bongo board anyone?)) or otherwise) out of the equation, it is going to have an adverse impact on future results.

Without mistakes, how does one learn?

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

EXACTLY! voted insightful…

one thing i learned from reading some otherwise boring bidness bullshit in the series of books ‘passion for excellence’, etc, was that in order ‘to succeed’, YOU MUST FAIL, MANY times…
there is NO SUCH THING as ‘perfect innovation’ with no mistakes: you WILL FAIL a LOT before you get to just the right combination which works…
smart companies EMBRACE ‘failure’, in that they realize you WILL have to fail before you succeed, and so ‘allow’ for failure IS an option…

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“When I was a child, every kid I knew but one was allowed to roam freely within the 1 square mile neighborhood unsupervised from the age of 6.”

This. Not just allowed, but from the age of 9 or so, it was generally required during the summer. Most parents would kick their kids out of the house in the morning and only allowed them back in when dinner time rolled around.

Helicopter parenting is a bad enough trend. But now it’s becoming legally required??

David says:

Well, it is preconditioning

There are various things at work here. One is that there is literally no justice system here. If someone reports you to the authorities, you have lost. You have the choice between a “plea deal” and a hefty fraction of wildly made-up charges with ridiculous penalties.

So Americans are educated to cower in fear (both before the authorities and against the uncountable evils that the authorities protect against, earning the servitude to be brought to them), and to creep before authorities in order to not excite their unjust ire.

This is an important prerequisite to building a fascist society where individual rights are kicked into the curb.

If you want to screw your citizens over in the name of protecting them from “terrorists” or other things, making them deadly afraid of walking the street alone and unsupervised is an important achievement.

Stoking fear and cowardice to irrational levels is the basis for fascism, like stoking greed to irrational levels is the basis for capitalism.

The U.S. educates current and coming generations to respond to “bend over” with “how deep?”. Quite successfully, one might say.

The “Home” of the “Free” and the “Brave” has been rounded up and secured.

hegemon13 says:

At the park?

Seriously? When I was 9, I not only played at the park alone, I rode there on my bike, crossing busy streets. The pool, too. Sometimes, I’d ride several miles to go to the “rocket park,” where they had a 3-story rocket-shaped climbing structure with a ridiculously long, dangerous slide. I played there by myself, too. I rode to the libraries to check out and carry home books myself. I’d leave in the morning, and as long as I was home for lunch, all was well.

I guess my parents should be in prison.

Jason Baldus (profile) says:

Too quick to admit bad judgement

One thing that struck me in reading the Salon article about Kim Brooks leaving her son in the car is how quickly even the people defending her jump to her having “made a bad decision” or having a “lapse of judgement”. The only way it makes sense to think of her choice of leaving her 4 year old in the car with the doors locked and child-locked with the window cracked on a cool day in a safe suburban parking lot in a parking spot close to the store as a bad decision or lapse of judgement is that she did not consider that other people would report this safe and innocuous action to the police. As she herself reports in the article, 300 kids are killed every day in car accidents, so her son was at more risk in getting to the store than in sitting in the parking log. Yet she still thinks she made a lapse of judgement!

The truth is that the lapse of judgement was made by the police officer when he decided to pursue the matter. She was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, which she definitely didn’t do. Her lawyer gets her to cop a deal, implying that the stakes involved with fighting this ridiculous charge is losing her children. The police officer should have taken one look at the video and been able to discern that Brooks’ actions are not cause to suspect child abuse or neglect, and left it at that.

Sometimes we forget that we have brains in our heads.

LduN (profile) says:

what makes me laugh

What makes me laugh and chuckle (more like shake my head in disappointment) is all the legislation and rules on what you can and cannot do with your own children. I understand the concepts, trying to stop child abuse, but disciplining a child (reasonably) for acting out should not be a one way ticket to court/jail.

If the law/policy makers are/were so screwed up by the way they were raised (in the good ole days) then why the hell are they being trusted to make these laws/policies?

Rekrul says:

The world has become too paranoid. People now believe that you have to watch your kids 24/7. If a child so much as goes out in the yard alone, it’s a reason to call the cops.

I live in the suburbs and there is very little crime here. The family who lives behind me have several kids and grandchildren. As far as I can tell, the grandchildren range from toddlers to maybe 12-13. They are never allowed in the back yard alone. There is always at least one adult out there at all times. Even though it’s a fenced in yard!

While it’s good that people are watching out for kids, they really need to use some common sense. In the case of the mother who sent her daughter to the park alone, she works at McDonalds and doesn’t make enough money to hire a sitter. She didn’t have anyone else that she could have left her daughter with. Before the park incident she was bringing her daughter to work where she would sit alone all day playing with her iPad. When the iPad broke and she couldn’t afford to buy a new one or get it fixed, she sent her daughter to the park as an alternative. Honestly, what else could she have done? If she brought her daughter to work and made her sit there all day with nothing to do, she’d probably be accused of child abuse for that. Was she supposed to quit her job and go on welfare so that she could watch her daughter all day long?

In the case of the mom who left her son in the car for a few minutes while she ran into a store, the person who witnessed these should have exercised a little common sense. If the mother had stayed in the store for a couple hours or if it was hot, or there were shady characters in the parking, then maybe a call to the cops would be justified. When she saw that the mother came back after just a few minutes, it should have been forgotten. I have to wonder though; If the witness was so concerned about the child, why did they wait until after the mother came back and left the parking, to call the police?

And of course, what does the state do in these types of situations? It takes the children away from their parents, traumatizing them and placing them in foster care where they’re much more likely to be abused.

In one case, police took a two year old girl, Alexandria Hill, away from her parents when it was discovered that they occasionally smoked pot at night while their daughter was asleep. She was put in foster care where she was killed by the foster mother.


Anonymous Coward says:

“They are never allowed in the back yard alone. There is always at least one adult out there at all times.”

We have a pair of home-schooler helicopter parents in our street – when the kids were about 3-7 they were allowed on the street to ride scooters, bikes, skateboards and almost every time we turned into the street one of them would ride across just in front of us or run across the street to catch a ball they’d just randomly kicked. Meanwhile the parents just stood and watched. They never said anything to the kids (like “watch out for cars”), just stood like lumps as their kids ran around the traffic. Never did figure that out.

On the other hand from the age of 5 I had to walk a half-mile to school alone and back (plus home and back for lunch). I was thrilled at being allowed to do that since the first few days of school my mother walked with me and she walked too fast – I fell over trying to keep up with her (still have the scar on my knee). Sometimes I took the “long way” scenic route through fields to get home for lunch only to get severely chastised and have to run all the way back to school without any food because I’d played in the fields too long. Oh happy days.

TimothyAWiseman (profile) says:

9 Year old alone in park, how is that bad?

How is leaving a 9 year old alone in a park with a cell phone bad parenting?

Obviously, there could be context here not mentioned, but off hand I would call that fine. Most 9 year olds are more than mature enough to handle it, real crimes against children are rare, and in this case the kid had a way to call for help if she got hurt or had trouble. This sounds fine to me and the meddling parents and authorities should probably have stayed out of it unless there were other circumstances that actually made it dangerous.

Ninja (profile) says:

Maybe leaving the kid alone in the park was a bit too much? But certainly not enough to justify what happened. At most a slap in the wrist if it’s really a problem.

My mother had to endure 2 jobs to support us. Father worked the entire day and it wasn’t enough. She tried her best to maintain us with some supervision till the point she noticed there was no other option. I was 10 when she first left us alone at home. She got everything dangerous and put in the kitchen locking the door so we’d have no access to dangerous objects and left water, juice and food in the living-room table. She gave up a few meals (yes, she went without food as in she felt hunger) to buy one of those old gadgets that allowed people to send written short messages and taught us to use it in case we needed or something was wrong. She also had some help from a neighbor that agreed to come in emergencies. But other than that we were alone. And we managed to go through. I used public transportation to come back from school daily when I hit 12 yrs old. Since I was older I was always tasked with taking care of my younger sister.

And here I am, a healthy adult. Sure children do not have all the responsibility of an adult but they aren’t all retards that can’t face reality. We are generally creating our children in a fantasy bubble where not a single second without full adult supervision is allowed. I wonder how we want them to magically become responsible adults if we are not teaching them goddamn responsibilities. We’ll see how the next gen will fare…

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