Sunday, October 4, 2009

Kids and Life

Yes I am qualified to blog about this topic – I have two wonderful children and have had many pass through my front door in their times of need. (I am not a foster parent), but when a child needs somewhere to retreat from the world for 2-3 days – they seem to find my place and my children!

Anyway, back on topic. In the almost 18 years that I have been a parent to my own children and the various strays that I have picked up. There has been a common thread in all the problems. That problem is a dysfunctional family unit. It is common for people to blame the dysfunctional family unit on divorce. This is not always the case. There are often other factors causing the problems that I see.

Case 1 – A grandparent of a child approaches me at day care and aks if I wouldn’t mind picking up grandchild because she is unable to make it there before closing. NO problems, I am not going to leave the child because the parent/grandparent/carer is busy. This child becomes one of the family and often would inadvertently refer to either myself or my husband as mum or dad.

It turns out that the grandmother was not in a happy relationship with her partner, instead of addressing this issue and moving on, she persists and had many boyfriends, whilst her daughter is growing up. The daughter in turn can’t resolve personal problems/issues and turns to drugs to cope. When it was requested that we care for this child, the natural mother AND father were both in jail for drug offences.

Moving forward some years, the grandmother, who was once the main carer of the grandchild has dumped the child, the natural mother is once again in jail after having a further 3 children to different fathers. The child is now residing with the stepmother and natural father, the alternate was state care. We still see this child after 15 years of being involved as her carer. I only hope that one day if something goes bad, she remembers her ‘other family’ in her time of need.

Case 2 – Once again a grandparent approaches me from my street and acknowledges that both the children are of the same age and perhaps they would like to become playmates. I have no objections, the grandparents concerned are wonderful giving people, who would give the shirt off their own back if they had. Once again this child integrates into our family unit and would spend every weekend and school holidays at our place.

One more mouth, one more child is not an issue for us.

It turns out that the natural mother in her teenage/young adult years smoked marijuana. Which everyone claims is safe. Unfortunately I don’t believe this is the case, as the mother now has psychotic episodes that affect her ability to care for her child and subsequent children.

Moving forward, the child concerned was labeled a ‘problem child’ because the mother insisted she was, is now often so high on legal drugs that she is unable to communicate effectively and because of issues at home can no longer look a person in the face.

It is sad to see a child so down trodden and unhappy. She still comes to our place, but would rather sit secluded in the bedroom away from daily family life as she finds it too hard to deal with normal family issues. I have trouble seeing what future lays ahead for this child.

In case 1 – I believe that due to the nurturing of the stepmother, she will be fine and should be able to get ahead in life as long as she stays away from other dysfunctional children and families.

In case 2 – It makes me cry - because I saw the child that was, and I see the child that is. I believe that in this instance, care should have been granted to the grandparents as was requested, but denied. The reason for the defense? Because the mother needed the family payments to survive. Yet to gain custody from the natural father – she claimed that she was staying with the grandparents, which she moved out as soon as custody was awarded.

My two children in seeing these children are very aware of how lucky they are, very aware that they have it pretty good, very aware that we are strict but at the same time reasonable. There have been other cases, but these are the two that we as a family have been involved in the longest. I would like to believe that both my children are well adjusted and know right from wrong. Only time will tell.

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