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  • Mom Problems

    My niece has been a lot of trouble because of her mother. Her mother has been a very abusive parent for years..not just to the youngest but the oldest as well. There are constant physical altercations because the youngest won't take it anymore and she has been sent to detention several times and never let her tell her side and when she is arrested. They automatically assume it my niece's fault. They say she is unruly. But the truth is she is trying to defend herself. Her mom has been reported many times but nothing has ever been done. Now this weekend her mom gave her permission to come to my home and spend the weekend. She was supposed to be picked up Sunday by her sister(the older niece)..but that didn't happen. Here it is Monday, people are at work and don't get off until after 6pm. I can't drive because I am disabled and don't have a car anymore. Bottom line is ..mom said she better be home in the next few hours or she is reporting her as a runaway. It is over 20 miles between here and there and she even told her to walk in the rain if she had to. What do we do?

  • #2
    Re: Mom Problems

    Hello,

    Thank you for contacting the National Runaway Switchboard and we are pleased to have you write to us to help you figure out the situation with your niece. It is obvious by reading what you wrote to us that you care for your niece a lot and want the best for her. It seems that a lot of the frustration and confusion within the youth stems from the lack of stability on behalf of the mother. It is like the mother says one thing today but means another tomorrow and that can be very confusing for a child. It leads that child to act out in order to gain attention from the very parent that's making it difficult for the child in the first place.

    It is very difficult to say for sure why it is that the mother was reported as an abuser and nothing has come of it. Child Protective Services tends to have thousands of cases stocked up and as a result requires that any person filing is going to need evidence of abuse and witnesses. It also requires for that child to lend their voice to the issues. Although it is obvious that this child is going through many levels of emotional and verbal abuse, we are not able to define abuse but CPS/DCFS. However, we are here to lend a hand in reporting it directly in order to empower that child to have a voice. It probably has a better chance for an investigation if the eldest child were to come together with the youngest against the mother. Do you know if that is possible? It sounds like the youngest wants to make sure that the abuse ends but with many voiceless children falling by the way side because age plays a major factor in whose voice is going to be loudest, there are no denying that she needs someone like you in her corner. That is why adults automatically assume it's the child's fault although she is just trying to defend herself. We imagine that it is hard for any child to have to live with labels day in day out as they watch life past by and nothing is done to keep them safe.

    If her mother is constantly reported and nothing is done, it doesn't necessarily mean that this cannot change later on in life. We are mandated reporters ourselves and are responsible for reporting abuse if the child were to offer us names, addresses and numbers but it is crucial to have witnesses who are willing to come forth to state the facts. It also doesn't mean that the mother is always going to be held to pay even if they realize she is in the wrong. It is likely that the child could be removed from the home or the family can be required to have counseling to work out some of the issues. Child Protective Services have the final say in what happens and they tend to come at it as trying to preserve the family with the hopes of the family working out their issues domestically.

    If the mother gave her permission to come to your home and now threatens to call the police, is it possible for you to call the local police where the child resides to inform them of the situation? It is never certain how they are going to react but if you are disabled, the child is way out from where she needs to be and the mother obviously neglected doing her part to fetch the child, it is probably going to reflect better on you when it shows that you have done everything to make sure the mother is not having the last say and that the cops are aware that she just wanted to make it difficult for the child. It seems that the mother is more concerned with making the child look bad before she even act out herself. Do you think it is the mother's way of controlling the situation in order to maintain the upper hand? The child has the right to be in school and it is something that is frowned among if the child was supposed to get home to attend school and did not. Are you able to call the school to make them aware of what's going on in order for school personnel to have a full view of the situation? The mother needs to give a story that is accurate when she calls the police to give the report. If the story reflects badly later it is likely that the tables could turn on her.

    It is not a crime to runaway and that means that the child is only going to get picked up if she is found and brought back home. We are not sure where that leaves her going to detention again but at least you are not going to look like you are harboring the child if you took the first steps to cooperate with the police. The mother's decision to have the child walk twenty miles in the rain is strangely borderline abuse and neglect. Are you able to document such situations if it meant bringing it to the proper authorities later? The question about what to do is a necessary one but cannot be summed up easily. The issue of knowing what to do comes from having those resources to act in accordance with the proper laws. However, what are you able to do right now to get the child home if that is what is required? Are you able to fund a taxi ride even if it's not necessarily your responsibility? Maybe the mother can reimburse you later if that is possible? It could mean ending an immediate conflict even if it leaves the permanent ones open. If the child wants to talk more about the issues she is having with mom we are here for her 24 hours a day at our 1800runaway number to talk about ways to overcome some of what she is made to live through. We are confidential and never judge anyone. We want to be a listening ear or find ways to empower her for what to do about her situation. In the mean time, we hope that you continue to assist her and keep on trying to be there for her. We commend you for taking the time to act and that shows greatly on your part. Good luck.

    -NRS
    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

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