Did you watch 20/20 Friday night?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by lovemysons, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    husband and I did...boy did it spark a debate between us.

    husband is not surprised that parents were dropping their mostly teen off in Nebraska because of their recent "Safe Haven" law.

    A couple of the kids featured who were "dropped off" had bipolar or mood disorders not otherwise specified. The parents...a mother and a grandmother featured just felt they had no other choice than to drop them off at the hospital and leave.

    To back up a min...the safe haven law was apparently designed for infants to be dropped off without fear of the law for abandonment. However, the lawmakers in Nebraska could not decide on an "up to" age so they did not write in an age limit...this is what has caused parents in Nebraska to drop off their troubled children...even folks from surrounding states came to drop off their children.

    I was very disappointed with husband's point of view. He suggested if this was 50 yrs ago people would just take "that rebellious child out back and wear them out." He said it's because even spanking a child these days can lead to child abuse accusations that people feel they have no other choice than to "drop off their children anywhere they can or medicate them into submission."

    I can't believe after all husband knows about emotional struggles from our sons perspective as well as mine growing up that he thinks regualar spankings would straighten a child out. He's learned very little over the years. He also thinks society is "overmedicated". He said the only time he thinks medicine should be involved is if someone truly is psychotic. He thinks internal pressure and resistance to pain...emotional pain, makes you stronger just like a physical workout. He said it's "all a choice".
    Now, I'm not saying these are MY thoughts cause they aren't. I personally think it cruel now to let a child stay in a state of deep emotional pain, turmoil, conflict with no help. I also do NOT think that "wearing a child out" will deliver a positive outcome.

    Anyway, just wondered if others saw the 20/20 program last night and what are your thoughts? Any debates in your home about this?

  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I agree with you. I didn't see the show, but I was on cnn's website the other day and read their "question" for the daily poll. It was something like "do you think people who no longer want their kids due to mental illness or disruption from the kid should be allowed to abandon them?" That really got under my skin- this was cnn and I really thought they should be intelligent enough to figure out that this isn't a result of parents' not wanting their kids who have problems. Are people in our society deaf? Almost all the parents who dropped kids off said they couldn't find help, they felt they had no other choice, they were simply desparate and thought this would give their kid some opportunity to get what they (the kid) needed.

    Sorry- I'm getting off topic....
  3. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I didn't watch the show last night as I wasn't home but I live in Nebraska so the debate has been in the news a lot here lately. There were several lawmakers and others here who did say that they thought the way the law was written was not such a bad thing; ALL kids could benefit from this. However, that was not really the purpose of them passing this particular law and they did amend it to make it for babies up to 30 days. They appointed a committee/task force/whatever (I forget the exact term they used) to study what needs to be done for older kids when the legislature reconvenes. This was a special session of our legislature, called just to deal with only this issue. At first, they were going to let it go till the regular session but with so many out-of-state kids being left here, it became apparent that something needed to be done. It was interesting that one of the TV stations here had a poll (very unscientific) about whether they should make some provision for older kids and almost 70% of the people voted "yes."

    As the parent of a kid who had severe emotional and behavioral issues when he was a teen, and somebody who tried to deal within the system, I know the frustration we feel. Would I have dropped my older difficult child off if this law had been available then? I like to think not but, honestly, it might have been an option. There were times when I went to bed at night that I was afraid he'd come in and kill me in the middle of the night. What options does that leave?

    I think a lot of the misunderstanding from the general public comes because, unless you've dealt with a child like this, you have no idea what the problems are. For a "normal" child some of what your husband says may be valid. I am of the generation who got taken behind the woodshed and I believe it was good for me (I'm definitely not talking about beating your kids; I'm talking about a swat on the bottom once in a blue moon) but if I had done that with my kid, who had a chemical imbalance in his brain, it would have done nothing but make him worse. And for "normal" kids, dealing with pressures and frustrations probably did make us stronger, but if you have problems to begin with, it can send you completely over the edge, never to return. As somebody who taught in our public schools, I think he's right about kids being overmedicated. There is a tendency right now to push a pill at any kids who seems outside the norm in any way and I find that a tragedy. But for the kids who need it, it is a godsend. Our society wants easy answers that are black and white. They don't seem to be able to understand that one size does not fit all, or even most, and that a lot of these issues are more complicated than they can imagine.

    I hope our legislature comes back into session and does something brilliant, but, after all, they are politicians so what can we expect.
  4. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    That is the whole thing.
    How easy it is to play armchair Quarterback. To sit and judge. To say, "I would never do that"
    Well most of us would never do that! Most of us could never consider it, until you either have Mental Illness or have a family member who has Mental Illness.
    Then maybe you could comprehend what these families or single parents are going through.

    My Mother abandoned my 2 brothers and I, left us with a jerk, he adopted us though. She was Mentally Ill.
    How can anyone say they wouldn't have done the same thing? She felt like she had not other options. If he wasn't there it would have been somewhere else... considering she killed herself, I think it was the smart thing to do by getting us out of the picture first.

    I hate this topic, people are so judgmental of Mental Illness and narrow minded.

    Whether or not it even is a Special Needs kid, if a parent *NEEDS* help, don't we as a society are it to them and ourselves to help them? They feel they have no other options at times other than to abandon their own child.

    And yes some of it is the parent, but that is also a sad state of affairs. Everyone needs help at times.
  5. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Tammy, I didn't see the show either, but I've been reading about it avidly in the paper and online.

    I think your H and mine would see eye to eye on this topic. I don't think your H or mine are completely wrong, but they are also not completely correct either.

    I can only speak for myself and say that before I learned of difficult child's issues and disorders, she did receive an occasional spanking. When I realized that it wasn't helping (at all) and neither were the time outs and groundings and taking away of privileges...that is when I finally sought help.

    That said, I will also say that then the opposite happened. I tended to go easier on her in my effort to be more patient and understanding - thus, creating a monster who learned how to play every adult she came in contact with. After a time, I finally found my balance, but the problems were slightly larger because she was slightly older - the dreaded pre-teen!

    I think that some form of heavy handedness in an unruly child is called for, yes. There are certain behaviors that need to be nipped in the bud and mental disorder or not, they need to know that certain behaviors are unacceptable. However, It is up to the parent to discern when a child is simply 'playing' you or when there is truly a mental 'something' going on. THAT is where the fine line lay and that is where H and my opinions differ and that is when we begin to debate the issue and I end up being appalled because in his zeal to make his point, he says similar things to your H, such as giving the kid a good spanking, etc.

    What exactly is a 'good' spanking? I think I received a couple of those in my youth, but they never felt very good.

    So while I see your H's point of view, I agree more so with you. It's a very delicate balance in my opinion.

    As to the safe haven law, I believe it's been set up across the country with the best of intentions, but as I said in another post...what if the infancy is the easiest part of your child's life? Then what? If you try to find a way out you are arrested for abandonment, which helps no one and the kid ends up in foster care anyway. I don't know the answer, but I can't say whether it's a good law or not. I head it was amended to only 30 days. Is that so?
  6. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Most of our family believes in the corporal punishment... husband's real Dad. He truly believes that would help K.
    You should have seen that child the one time I spanked her. husband spanked her once as well... she is not capable of dealing with it.
    They think we are crazy, so we just don't talk about it.
    It is such huge split for most of society.

    The spankings and hitting didn't do a thing for me. Even sent me to the Hospital. Still didn't fix my head! I wish that would have been a cure! LOL
  7. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Re: corporal punishment, I think that like so many things, it all depends on the situation and the child involved.

    I know that for me, spanking made me more defiant. When my difficult child-mom came at me with the belt, buckle end swinging, I looked her in the eye and said "That didn't hurt! Do it again, I dare you."

    Little easy child is so much like me in temperament that I never considered corporal punishment for him. I just didn't think it would work.

    I've never tried it with difficult child either. He is hyper-tactile, and I have no idea what kind of pain response he would have, and don't want to cause him agony when I'm just trying to get his attention and sort out his behaviour. I also think that for him, it teaches that the biggest fist wins, NOT a lesson that he needs to learn. husband has spanked him occasionally, but I have strongly discouraged it.

    Step-D was way too old for me to even try disciplining her when I came into their lives. With only 9 years' difference in our ages, it just didn't seem to be my place.

    I am glad to hear that Nebraska has struck a task force/committee/whatever to look at the broader issue of services for mentally ill children and teens. Praying that they find and implement a solution.

  8. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    I saw it. The mother with 2 boys ages 11, and 12 - was a kindergarten teacher????? It made me cry. When they showed the video of her trying to get the boy out of bed? When they showed the "weapon" he made? -It made me flash back to the times we had to deal with Dude like that and it made me cry to know THAT type of desperation -(I had to show the video of Dude shooting an arrow at me with a bow and screaming for 30 minutes at the top of his head cursing and swearing to the psychiatrist to get help because no one believed what we were going through) - I started to take pictures of busted and broken things after that and video the rages. NO PARENT wants to "get rid" of their child but even for us who have made it here and KNOW what we should/can get - can't get good services. And then when you DO get services - you have to watch them like gangbusters because they get notice of budget cuts and your kid is the first to get railroaded BECAUSE after all the years that YOU were told by "Experts" that this is a condition that will NEVER go away - all of a sudden - "IT CAN" when money is tight and it's "the child who isn't trying"..........yeah HORSE APPLES.

    The show made me cry - and the man in charge of CFS? OMG you AHOLE you come and live at MY house for a week - no - 3 days when Dude was out of control, and WE had training - what a dink. He shouldn't be in charge of CFS any more than I should be president of the US or.....Queen of England. OMG what a MORON. He said "All these children that were dropped off are cases of SIMPLE abandonment." RIGHT JERK -

    This isn't over by a long shot - And I applaud the reporter - He should get some award - he was FANTASTIC!!!!!
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2008
  9. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Tammy, does anyone know of a difficult child who was beaten on a regular basis to get better? Really? I don't know of anyone who actually has a difficult child to believe that. Besides, who wants to be that person who beats their kids that regularly? I wouldn't.
    If your husband believes that why didn't he do that to his children?
    Maybe he is just verbalizing his frustration of not being able to get his son's to choose differently. Maybe husband is frustrated that he couldn't find any solution to prevent the outcome.
    I must say that I'm sure that I wouldn't abandon my son but the only difference between those that do and me is that I didn't do it. Not that I wouldn't have considered it or wanted to do it.
    But by the grace--- goes me. I'm not passing judgement.
    If taking a teen to a safe place saves the parent or the teen from some serious situations it may have been an act of courage on the parents part to deal with the animosity and public embarassment to put the kids there.

    I don't understand the comments on medication. It's a broad statement so I'm not sure what it means.
    Does he think we go to the dentist too often or live in homes with too much technology? If he wants to go back to the old ways, then everything should go backwards. We can beat our dirty laundry on rocks and husband's can go hunt for dinner. Every generation has a choice to do things somewhat differently than the generation before. It's not always an improvement but it's a natural progression towards improvement.
    The best parents can do is educate themselves and find all the possibilities for help for their kids. If he thinks beating them bloody is the way for him and a cure for his son's then I doubt anything anyone tells him will change his opinion.
  10. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    I SO wish we parents of difficult child's particularly those with Bipolar who deal with rages, racing thoughts, intense emotional outbursts and outright defiance of expected social norms etc. I wish mental health agencies, state agencys could really help find solutions that work.

    husband and I were at a very desperate point years ago with young difficult child. A judge told us if "You are willing to come up with 30k a year for a boarding facility I know of...I GUARANTEE you will save your child".
    Well of course we were on board...and like one of these parents featured on 20/20 "tricked" young difficult child into going on what he thought was a business trip with husband. They flew to Seatle and then drove to Montana.

    Young difficult child lasted 9 DAYS before he was to be sent to their more "punitive program" in Jamaica. husband and I did not let this happen (through my insistence) and we drove, easy child husband I to Montanna to pick up young difficult child. He claimed abuse and had some bruising, said he was locked up in what was called "the hobbit" a log building for their more troubled "students". It was a very traumatic experience for all of us.
    Of course husband and I went and saw the judge that had "guaranteed us" would save our child, showed him the paperwork, told him what had happend etc.
    But it's THAT level of desperation that a parent will go to...we had no other choice at the time.
    And their were other times, times that young difficult child was kicking screaming cussing that I NEARLY nearly pulled into the firestation near our house and said to someone, "Please help me with my child".

    I'm VERY disappointed in husband. We did spank along the way. We did ALOT of corner time. I think easy child may have gotten one lil swat on the bottom once. But our difficult child's...they were high maintenance and particularly young difficult child with his Bipolar issues, was just off the charts difficult to deal with...
    Have no idea where husband is coming from now.
    I told him of a time in my "raging youth" where one of my mother's friends told her to leave the room when we were at her house. She was going to "get me under control". She did so by slapping me silly over and over and OVER again. This, all in the name of straightening me out and getting me under control.
    It did nothing but make me lose even more respect for my mother and adult figures. Make me distrust those who I should feel cared for me and were there to keep me safe.
    I shared this incident with husband...His response, "well it wasn't done on a consistent basis".
    Sad and angered. Thank g-d my bipolar medications work so well...take the addrenalin and steam out of the scenerio. Can't change him though.

    Fran...I DO think that it's husband copping out and blaming society for what we dealt with as a family. He just really thinks that if teachers, parents, etc had more use of physical discipline that the situations would be different.
    I just totally disagree.
    You CAN'T get through to a raging child there is no sense to be made there.

    It's so sad.
  11. charlotechai

    charlotechai New Member

    I heard the story while driving and listening to NPR a few weeks ago. I heard this little boy cry "Mommy, I promise I won't be bad anymore. I'll be good, I'll be good. . .I promise, please don't leave me. . ." I think he was around 11. So incredibly heart wrenching. And I heard about the father who flew from Florida to drop off his kid at a hospital in Nebraska.

    What is interesting about this unintended loophole is that it DOES bring to light the limited resources out there for parents who have mentally ill or disruptive children. One mother said she really DOES love her son, but she felt like she couldn't provide the care her son needed (he refused to take his medication) and dropped him off at a hospital.

    But then just think about the child. . .being abandoned is perhaps THE WORST thing to happen to a kid. If the child is already suffering from anxiety or depression or any other illness. . .this event would just markedly make the child even worse. No matter what the parent says to justify it, the scars left behind will undoubtedly be consequential and something the child must deal with his/her entire life.

    But then being a parent and having no help and resources AT ALL from the government worsens the situation. How can a parent take care of a raging child? I really hope that once the spotlight is over, this whole thing won't be swept under the rug and forgotten again.