Deemed unfit.

I spend a lot of time reflecting. As any parent does, I go over the day and critique myself. Some days I am really proud of how I handled a tantrum. Other days I spend an hour calling myself a terrible parent in my mind.

I think, when it comes down to it, you HAVE to be that way. Parenting is the single most important thing there is in the world. There is nothing above it, as you are literally shaping the world. The future relies on parents to raise it right.

How do we do that? Well, you look to the figures who raised you.

Anyone else remember thinking or saying, “When I have kids Yadda Yadda Yadda!”? Now that we have the chance, we realize dessert for dinner was a great concept but after a long day we really would rather ply a kid with cough medicine, not sugar.

There are things the past generation did that we REALLY hated. Look at how it is now- If your kid is outside alone, expect a visit from the cops. If you leave your kid in the car unattended for any amount of time, expect a visit from the cops. If you discipline your child physically, expect a visit from the cops. Kid has an imagination and draws or writes something even remotely similar to weapons or violence? Who is that at the door? The cops.

Parenting is scary on so many levels without the added fear of someone ripping your child from your arms. It seems to me, in a time where everyone seems broke or barely surviving that we waste a ton of taxpayer money wrongly getting between parent and child.

It is absolutely ridiculous and serves no purpose.

You think taking a child from their parent is in the best interest of the child? I couldn’t imagine being taken from my parent(s) as a child and thrust into an unfamiliar environment. Oh wait, I can.

Even if the child ISN’T taken, they have to go through the motions of living with a parent living on edge. You know what the fear of losing your child does to you? I do.

This is where one self-righteous person will chime in and cite abuse and deaths as the reason all parents should be so heavily scrutinized and policed. I have news for you, this mentality that plagues us is also ridiculous and serves no purpose. Let’s zoom out on this for a second and see where this mentality has gotten us.

A muslim man devises an attack that kills scores of innocent people. All muslims are terrorists.

A cop shoots an unarmed man. All cops are bad cops

A black person steals something from a store. All blacks are thugs.

The mentality that you can class whole groups based on one individuals actions.

This mentality has sent the world reeling backwards. I am not interested in talking about the broken ways of the world.

There is a very real fear that someone may deem you unfit. You do something they disagree with and have no choice but to sit down with child services or the cops before spending the next weeks and months of your life unable to sleep because you fear someone coming between you and your child.

I know it. I lived it.

Out of all the things that can get you in trouble, I never thought a post on my blog would be one of the. The piece, From Partying to Parenting, humorously (in my opinion at least) connected the two opposites. From pee soaked clothes to handing off bottles to stop crying, all I tried to do was draw far-fetched similarities and make people laugh at the thought of it. Somewhere someone misread it and misinterpreted it. The person in question (and if that person is reading this, I still say Fuck You!) was actually a family member of my wife.

So, I was told to pull the post, which you can find here. My response was simple. No.

Why would I censor myself? Why would anyone? You should be yourself and never ashamed to be that person.

Well, child services was called and an investigation was opened up. All because of a post drawing similarities between taking care of party goers and raising children. When the case worker called and wanted to set up a “visit” the following week, I demanded an immediate visit. As my children’s guardian, if they are in trouble I am the first person that wants them to be safe. If you are going to say you need to look into my children’s welfare, you better do it immediately because they are my number one priority. He came, to find a clean house and sleeping children. An hour is all he spent here, most of it talking about fantasy football. I spent weeks unable to sleep and ready for someone to knock on my door and remove my children, even though I was told nothing was found to raise suspicion. I was warned about what to post on my site and that it could cause problems.

Side note here- I have spent so far around $1,800 on my site, I will post whatever I fucking please and I will post with absolute honesty my views as I deem fit. If there are people out there who think it inappropriate then they can start their own site and move on. There is plenty of internet out there for everyone, here I write free, motherfucker. 

After a  series of voicemails and no return calls I had enough. A very strongly worded message was left for the case worker that said something about calling supervisors until I reached the president if need be to get information on my investigation. A flustered case worker told me my case was closed and I told him next time I had to talk with him or child services it would be through a lawyer.

I dedicate an unbelievable amount of time to Punk Rock Papa, a page and site I created out of the love for my children and wanting to share with other parents. I would think my love for my kids shines through, as does their importance to me.

Someone deemed me unfit. It crashed my whole world for a while.

Here is what I think should happen. As parents we should respect each other. We should acknowledge there are simply different ideas people have when it comes to this. If you are worried about a child left in a car, don’t call the police and pat yourself on the back as you drive off. Stay around, tell the parent that with the news of children dying inside cars has you nervous anytime you see a kid in a car alone. Don’t judge, don’t deem unfit. Go along your way with a  “Have a nice day!”

It has reached a point where publishing a post about my kids has me sitting by the door with my phone on loud waiting for cops or child services. Don’t you think this has become a bit much? Don’t answer that, someone may deem you unfit.

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14 comments on “Deemed unfit.
  1. I cannot agree more!!! Society has become overly vigilant. Many times parents are reported out of spite. (you piss me off and I will make your world fall apart… And they will).
    There is no greater fear and anger then feeling your kid in danger. In anyway, shape or form.
    Great post my friend.

  2. Good God, Briton! This is why I love you. You just say it and say with balls. (Can I say ‘balls’ here?) Good for you for standing up for what you believe in. Some people do take things to a whole other level of stupid. I don’t know you personally but I see your posts about your kids, your wife…your sweet family. You are a rock star dad. I would vouch for you any day of the week.

    Keep doin’ what you’re doin’, buddy. It’s working.
    Sandy recently posted…What Lies Behind the FilterMy Profile

  3. For the most part, I agree with you. Sometimes people are too quick to judge, but there are some situations that require immediate action. My former neighbors used to have knock down,drag out, screaming fights that would last for HOURS, they would do this in front of their children, which was bad enough. But then there were times, I could hear them screaming at their kids, 2 twin girls around 8, and then the girls sheriking in pain. Damn right, I called the cops. If I can hear you “disciplining” your children from my home, you’re doing it wrong. (I should point out, we live in the burbs, in a home. There is a good amount of distance between our houses).

    If I see a young child, and by young, I mean under 5, in a car, by themselves; the parents have about 5 minutes before I’m calling the police. Less if it’s a baby and it’s hot out. Because you never know! You don’t know how long the kid was in the car before you got there and you certainly have no way of knowing when the parent or caregiver is coming back. What if it was one of those situations where the parent “forgot” their kid was in the car? Wouldn’t you want someone to call and get the kid out? In that type of situation, minutes can be the difference between life and death. I won’t just sit there and “babysit” while waiting to see where the hell the parent or caregiver is.

    The thing is, while I’ll agree that are people who use child services as a weapon, there are far too many kids who need to have child services intervene. If abuse is suspected, it is better to call, than to just ignore it.

    A lot of people say that CPS is “too” involved, and that they dig too deep into what’s going on within family structures, that they need to leave parents alone. This wasn’t always the case though, back in the day, when they didn’t spend loads of time investigating, kids died. They died because CPS wasn’t doing their job.
    My Aumt had a foster kid, Freddie, he lived with her for YEARS. His parents were deemed unfit and the state stepped in and took him away. Eventually the parents managed to convince CPS to give them their kid back, they took Freddie from my Aunt, and let him go home with his parents. He was dead in 2 weeks.

    My point is, while I agree that what happened to you was complete bullshit, and a waste of time, resources and money. I also understand your anger at the situation, I understand that it caused unnecessary stress to your family. I understand your anger at the person who called, and I agree, they were WRONG to call. All I’m saying is that CPS doesn’t set out to disrupt your and your families lives, they have your kids best interest at heart too. They have to take every call seriously, because the one call they don’t, could be another Freddie.

    • (Here by way of Kitt O’Malley.)

      Jenny, I think I understand what you’re saying, and Briton too– well, if I may quickly share my experience.

      Some time over 30 years ago, my maternal grandmother reported my father. I had revealed to her that he beat me, sometimes with a belt. When the social worker came to talk to me, however, I tried in vain to explain the abuse from my mother, which I felt was much worse, as it was emotional and at times sexual. (I came out with a lot of pain and cPTSD in the years to come.) I wasn’t believed and nothing was done.

      Fast forward to recent times– my wife and I have been dealing with CPS for the past 8 years (still on-going), partly because of reports of my son, on his behavior we learned was indicative of autism. No doubt, we needed help. But to be honest, the city police department treated us with a lot more respect, a lot more dignity, and with a lot better understanding of the situation than the state workers. We dealt with a lot of workers that were ham-fisted, incompetent, and sometimes plain clueless; many times they kept forcing programs that were simply not appropriate for our situation. Of course we had to explain our kids could NOT stay with my parents, as they demonstrated abuse towards them as well.

      Yes, the role of CPS is still needed and the agency is doing better than they have in times past. Yet, they have almost ZERO oversight, and so it’s difficult to redress matters if they make critical mistakes (either way). In my experience, things have gone a lot better when they stepped in with workers that were NOT burnt out, and they got out of the way when other state and local agencies got involved, to an appropriate extent. They need more boundaries.
      jaklumen recently posted…Compassion for the SurvivorsMy Profile

  4. Wow, Briton… This struck SO MANY cords. Wow. I have no words. You know what, I do… WRITE FREE MOTHERFUCKER!!!! I remember that post. It was hilarious. Whoever that family member is, they are an asshole. If they had a problem with your parenting, they should have called you, talked to you, not hid behind CPS. What a bunch of BULLSHIT. You are, from what I read, a great fucking patent. Nobody is perfect, but it is blatantly obvious that you care about your kids a great deal… I’m so sorry you had to deal with something like this. Between your story, and Samara’s, I am so furious lately… What the fuck is wrong with people!?!?! What happened to community!?! What happened to “it takes a village”!?! Wow….

  5. I too have been in this position except my children were removed for 3 months while I was forced to relocate to another state. Then during the year that I continued to live in their state, after getting my children back, child services not one time conduct any follow up visits. The system is truly corrupted n needs some serious fixing.

  6. How I wish people would ask before assuming. Really is it that are to say are you kidding? Sure everyone might not get your sense of humor but you should always feel loved and accepted by your family at least. Give people the chance at least to explain before assuming they are incompetent morons.
    Dawn from HardlyBored recently posted…Minion Monday – We are more.My Profile

  7. I can relate to this post. My sister recently recommended that I not post about my parenting challenges out of fear that my son would be taken away from me. I responded that I do not live my life in fear. I live openly and honestly, and will continue to write honestly about my challenges in parenting s sensitive child and my challenges parenting while living with a mental illness. Parenting is not easy. There are no easy answers. If we are to parent well, we must not lie and whitewash the experience.
    Kitt O’Malley recently posted…Kitt O’Malley: Featured PoetMy Profile

  8. Thank you for this! I love this! People definitely need to stop destroying families out of spite! There are real reasons to call CPS, one of those is not because you are mad at the parents. If you truly care about my kids then you would not try to have them removed from their home & taken away from their parents over petty bullshit!

  9. That really sucks that someone made something out of nothing. It seems like everyone finds themselves nit picking at others for the way they do/don’t parent or the things they do/don’t do publicly and as awful as social media is I never thought blogs would be similar.

    When my daughter was under a year old I had a very hard time coping with the parenting and post partum depression and in that time three people who claimed to be friends and one of my aunts took time to let me know how unfit they saw me. One “friend” carried it to work and began telling our coworkers that post partum isn’t real because she never had it so I was obviously trying to hide something and gain attention.

    Trust no one with any part of your parenting unless they’re your partner!

  10. What a great piece. Gripping. I was hanging on every word and can see what an amazing father you are for you family. My daughters preschool assistant teacher threatened to call cps bc i didn’t pack healthy enough lunches (she was released by 1230 most days) & basically she didn’t like me. It’s unbelievable how cps is abused and the attention is taken away from the true abusers. I weep for children who truly have no voice. Thank you. powerful piece
    laurie free recently posted…#1000 Speak. Isolation was my best friend until Connection would have none of it.My Profile

  11. What a sad commentary on our world when we forget to parent by community and judge others instead. We had a mother in our area call CPS on another mother because her kids played in the streets. She didn’t talk to the mother first. She didn’t ask the kids if they were allowed to be there. She called. I saw those kids many times playing on this very residential street. The mother had a new baby and she probably needed a bit of time to nurse while the eldest boy took care of his siblings. We used to do that all the time when we were young, now when we try to instil independence in our progenies, we are judged unfairly. I’m sorry this happened to you. Some people suck.
    Kristine @MumRevised recently posted…5 Reasons Why Christmas Decorations Should Remain Up All Year ‘RoundMy Profile

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