You are who you come from, and sadly for these kids, the harsh beginnings would rarely have a happy ending.
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"I knew a mother who was poor and in her 30s. She lived in section 8 housing collecting welfare and she had one 8-year-old and two babies, all born of different fathers. The oldest one's dad is in jail for murder, and the other two high tailed it out of there.
When the babies would cry, she would yell at them to 'shut up' instead of comforting them. The oldest one was also yelled at repeatedly. She was physically abusive as well. The children were cared for strictly when they absolutely had to be or were being too annoying, mostly by her mother.
She spent all day smoking pot and chain-smoking Newports and playing video games or watching Netflix. She would contain this behavior to a bedroom while the oldest kid slept in what was supposed to be the living room. Eventually, she moved her TV and Xbox to the living room and put the oldest in her former smoke room.
The kid was not allowed in the living room anymore because of the smoke.
The worst part? The house. Trash was piled up everywhere and nobody ever cleaned. Cockroaches made up 70% of the total biomass. There would be hundreds crawling on her TV and Xbox. If you left a bag of chips open for even one minute, the cockroaches owned it. They would also crawl into your drinking glass and drown if you didn't pay attention.
And I was a stupid 18-year-old kid from a middle-class family that would come over every few days or so to smoke with their mother."
"I worked with a guy who's about 5 years older than me. I was 20 at the time so he'd have been about 25. He still lived at home with his parents because his mom wasn't ready to 'let him go.' He had a 9 pm curfew and ALWAYS had to have permission to go over to a friend's house.
I was nice to him because I felt bad for him and I guess in his mind, that meant we were friends so I got to know him slightly better than you would a standard coworker. He did have a learning disability (so helicopter mom's got a valid concern) but he wasn't incapable or slow. He was a fully capable adult.
The first time I met his mom, I KNEW there was no hope for this guy. She CONSTANTLY controlled his every move. He couldn't eat certain foods because they'd 'give you gas' or 'I don't think you'd like that anyway,' and he wasn't allowed to do ANYTHING without her permission. He had his license, but she drove him to and from work. She even ended up getting a job in the same building, through a different department, and I suspect it had nothing to do with 'carpooling to save gas money.'
Last I heard, he FINALLY was able to get his own apartment, but I still see them around town together. I NEVER see him on his own. She'll even go with him to the bathroom at the county fair... And I'm 27 now so he's gotta be around 32ish.
Helicopter mom ruined that guy and he's gonna be so messed up when she kicks it and leaves him behind."
"My aunt and uncle are terrible parents. They're such awful people that we've cut almost all contact with them.
Aside from their terrible parenting of their first child, they've completely destroyed their second child's chance at a life.
He was born with water on the brain (Congenital hydrocephalus). The doctors wanted to put a shunt in to drain the water and avoid damage. The parents refused for some reason, so the kid ended up with some slight brain damage. It probably wouldn't have been too bad at that. He'd always be behind his peers and he'd be delayed but he had a good chance of being somewhat independent one day and living an overall happy life.
Of course, in order to achieve this, his parents would have to work diligently with him to catch up on his delayed development, and likely have him in some sort of developmental therapy and the likes (which they could easily afford). Instead, his parents decided to ignore his problems completely. They never spoke to the family about it and we're all pretty sure they think we don't notice that the kid is a bit different.
Anyway, he just turned 10 and isn't potty trained, which he absolutely has the ability for, they just never bothered teaching him. He can't read at all, which again he is technically capable of, just nobody has taught him. He can't speak clearly at all, I can't understand him although I know he is trying to say valuable and competent things. He's been removed from countless schools because his parents refuse to put him in the special ed classes or get him any extra help. His parents are also super cold. They never hug or praise their kids. He is extremely violent and never receives any discipline. I can see him becoming a serial killer or something in the future because he loves torture, weapons, and dead animals. It's probably from the lack of affection his parents gave him but I know whatever happens to him in the future isn't really his fault. He was never taught anything in life and it's so sad."
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"These former friends of ours were terrible examples of parenting. The girlfriend intentionally got pregnant immediately after my SO and I announced that we were having a baby. She stopped taking her birth control and lied, and then let it slip shortly thereafter. Apparently, she didn't like the attention of our friend group being taken off her and onto us. So that's a great reason to bring a child into the world, right?
It only gets worse from there, as both of their main concerns seemed to be 'How are we going to get rid of this kid as much as possible?' before the poor thing even arrived. And the father would sit around laughing out loud at all of the abusive things he was going to subject the child to, like how he 'wasn't going to let him grow up to be some wuss' and would slap him around and refuse to hold him when he cried to 'toughen him up.'
The baby arrived a few months after ours and as far as I know, they mostly leave him with the mother's parents and do their own thing. Before I cut them out of my life for being total jerks in general, they were constantly posting pictures on Facebook of things like them force-feeding him thick rice cereal off a spoon when he was SIX WEEKS OLD. There were frequent photos of the two of them in some distant vacation spot with no sign of the baby, pictures of them stuffing him into a duffel bag for some unknown reason, and the father basically saying that if the government came to take his weapons, he'd rather they take the kid first."
"I try not to think that any child is a lost hope because I work in child protective services, which means I have to find every possible way I can to reach parents to change behaviors, lifestyles, etc that threaten the safety or well-being of their children.
With that being said, the most frustrating case for me was a mother who was emotionally and mentally abusive to a daughter who has mental health issues.
The mom, daughter, and brother were all survivors of an extremely physically abusive father (mom's ex), the children at a very young age were very clearly suffering from immense trauma that manifested as or exacerbated existing mental health issues (violent outbursts, inability to regulate emotions, several other things all piled together).
Their mom spent the entire time I was involved with the family essentially blaming everything on the daughter's outbursts and said with her daughter present (and old enough to understand): 'She was forced on me when he took off his protection' with regards to whether the daughter was planned or an accident. I spent several days working with this family and not once did I hear the mother say anything resembling love, affection, caring, kindness, or understanding towards her daughter. The vast majority of the time the mother was trying to elicit sympathy from other adults in terms of how difficult the kid was to manage. She made multiple disparaging comments about her daughter as if she wasn't present in the room, coldly ignored her for large periods of time while sitting right next to her, etc. She very obviously still had her own trauma from the abusive ex and seemed to transplant all of her negativity towards him into her behavior towards her daughter. We had statements by police officers involved after one of the violent outbursts by the daughter that the mother told them (in front of daughter) 'take her away, take her anywhere, I don't care where she goes, just get her the heck out of my house.'
The daughter wasn't even a teenager.
I have no idea what happened following my involvement (I'm mostly investigative) but yeah...that kid's got a rough future ahead no matter which of several possible scenarios plays out."
"I was reffing a local youth fencing tournament and this boy and girl were going at it and the girl begins to lose. She doesn't panic but she starts trying new things to get the lead again, and it's not working.
Her mother starts yelling at her and tries to 'coach' her, and this goes on for like 5 minutes.
Eventually, the girl stops and says. 'Mom... Please...! Just be quiet.' The poor thing is on the verge of tears, and there is no way she can get 8 points in like 10 seconds. I know this, she knows this, and her opponent knows this. They dance around for a bit and I call for time. Before she can even take her helmet off, her mother teleports near her and starts 'whisper' yelling at her once more. She tries to speak but every time her mother does something to force her to turn around or yank her. The girl goes quiet and looks at the ground, her mother spins her around and snaps at her to go shake my hand. She comes over and does it without looking at me. I tell her she did a good job and before I could say anything else her mother snatches her away from me and drags her to a corner to continue screaming at her.
She said a bunch of different things like 'How dare you talk to me like that!'
Another mother comes up to me (this had been going on for close to another 5 minutes), and asks if there was anything I could do for the little girl. As much as I wanted to, the girl wasn't in any physical harm nor was she in a dangerous situation.
I still think about that poor girl, because the skill gap between those two wasn't that large. The boy got an easy win once his opponent's mother started to tilt her daughter. That match could have been much closer had the mother kept her mouth shut. Heck her daughter could have came back and won. I honestly hope she didn't lose her love for fencing because of her mother."
"My ex-girlfriend and I had been dating for 3 years at the time this story takes place (let's call her Caitlin).
Now, Caitlin and I's relationship was on the rocks. We were on again off again and the relationship was clearly doomed, but we were still a couple and were planning an out of state vacation. We thought it would be a great idea to invite her friends Timmy and Crystal, who were dating. God bless Timmy, he tried to warn us. He told us that they were having problems in their relationship. He told us Crystal was going a bit zany. We had no idea. We thought it was just normal couple fights. We were not prepared.
The night before we're supposed to leave, we're getting our stuff together and Timmy and Crystal get into one of the worst screaming matches I've ever heard. It's loud, it's angry, objects have gone airborne. Crystal is screaming/crying and we go in to make sure they aren't hitting each other. Timmy has her in a chokehold. He's got a huge knot on his head because it turns out she threw something at his head. 'Don't worry, I know how to restrain her when she gets like this. She'll be fine.'
The drive there is just as bad. I'm navigating and Crystal is driving (since it's her car). She threatens to veer us off the road a few times and when we finally arrive in the city, she's so distracted yelling at Timmy that she turns onto a one-way street. Here we are, on a collision course with a semi, when my impulse takes over and I pull the bottom of the steering wheel towards us to veer left. I guess this was just an everyday thing because Crystal turns back around, gets us back on track, all while continuing this horrible screaming match without missing a beat.
Caitlin and I are trying to have fun, ignoring the abuse happening in the room (per their request). I talked to Timmy about it and he told me just how bad things were. They hadn't fooled around in 6 months. He was being physically abused by Crystal, she was freaking out HARD over some mental illness related problems but refused to see a therapist or submit to a facility. She was bulimic and had gotten so bad her toenails were falling out. Timmy knew the end of their relationship was inevitable and planned on dropping her off at a facility after the vacation. He knew she wouldn't forgive him, so he figured it would be best for both of them if he just didn't see her after that. OK, whatever, sounds like a plan. He's got this handled.
After a stressful night, having our lives threatened, having her threaten to call the cops screaming HELP before saying she would kill herself, threatening to drive back by herself leaving us stranded, etc, we finally made it home. The first thing I did was cut contact with Crystal. Timmy said he'd take her to a facility within the week. Sounds like a plan.
But that's not what happened. Oh no. What happened was 5 months later, we find out that Crystal is pregnant. I guess during one of the hotel screaming matches they'd fooled around bareback because they hadn't been intimate before or after the trip. Timmy was absolutely sure she would make a terrific mom because having a kid will 'mellow you out.' Holy crap, that poor, poor child is absolutely DOOMED."
"My son's daycare class has a kid in it who's missing an eye. He has an eyelid/lashes/etc, just was born without the tissue used to see with. He's a completely normal looking kid, it just looks like one eye is always closed and instead of the roundness of an eyeball behind is flat since it's missing. There's nothing scary, or weird, or gross about him.
I once watched a mother scream and throw a tantrum at pick up time because the teachers insisted he wouldn't be moved from the class as there's nothing wrong with him being there. She swore up and down that this kid was scaring her child and the daycare teachers should do more to 'protect her baby from people like that' and her child shouldn't have to be around 'freaks' and he should have to go with the special education kids.
Her kid seemed fine with this other kid, but his mother was horrified by him interacting with someone who wasn't her idea of normal and she lost it when the teachers refused to give into her weird demands about it. I can only imagine what messed up prejudices this kid is going to have thanks to that vile woman."
"A mom had an autistic daughter who was nonverbal and was infant-like at age 3. I would spend hours a day training and teaching the girl to look at me, turn pages of a book, and tap something, honestly pretty basic stuff. I painstakingly trained her how to eat with a spoon, and she was doing it independently. HUGE progress! Well, when I get back to work on Monday, she was back to eating with her hands. Her mother said she tried to have her use the spoon but the girl 'wouldn't let her.' The mom would basically undo all the training every weekend despite me showing her how to do it and having her do it in front of me, and explaining why it was important.
The mom also babysat her niece who just ran wild. I caught her in a cabinet once eating sugar out of a bag with a spoon. I told on her and the mom just goes, 'If I take it away, she cries.' Oh...okay...
I once caught the little autistic girl giggling with her mouth full of something. This was a bad sign with this child. It could have been anything. I pried her little jaws open and saw that her mouth was full of landscaping rocks from outside, like, sharp uneven ones. I got her mom to help me fish them out, and I asked how the rocks had gotten into the house. Turns out the niece had brought them inside for some reason. The mother couldn't get her to relinquish them, so she just let her keep them on the floor inside. Then, my little disabled girl just puts them in her mouth. I made an official rule after that, no small objects on the floor. Kind of a pre-I'm calling CPS measure, as we were documenting this family carefully.
I gave this mother lots of encouragement and strategies for dealing with the kids, but she just looked at me like I was just magical and the kids magically obeyed me and there was nothing she could do.
We also had to purchase a belted chair for the disabled child to eat in --- she had previously allowed the child to grab a handful of food from the table --- then run back and forth across the house like a spaz. I saw her nearly choke a few times!
All my kids were going to have it rough, but this one has always haunted me. She was my longest client, I made the least progress with her, her family was the most uneducated and unhelpful, and she just didn't seem to be responding to treatment at all. She was completely unable to communicate. When I left, attempts were being made to help her communicate with pictures. I hope that worked, but all my other kids made some progress talking, made some friends, their parents were implementing our programs at home, and they had something going for them. They're going to be okay. My little rock-eating girl? I just don't see it going well."
"There were two kids I taught who I knew definitely had terrible parents.
Kid A: 8th-grade girl. She was in honors English but missed almost every day of school due to a 'medical issue.' Mom got a doctor to sign off that she had some sort of injury that makes her incapable of attending school. Meanwhile, the kid is posting all over her social media about all these Ju Jitsu tournaments she competes in.
The kid eventually was switched to my class after the last teacher refused to accept homework which was clearly done by her mom (in mom's handwriting and everything). She has missed every single day of school since being switched to my class. I have never met this kid and she's been enrolled in my class for several months.
The best part? The school and district can't/won't do anything about it because her mom sued the school over her son and somehow has the district paying for him to attend a private school. She's threatened to sue over the daughter too, but I don't really see how. The mom also works for my school district and gets a stipend to teach her 'sickly' daughter from home.
Kid B: 8th-grade boy. The mom has accused every teacher this kid has ever had of being 'out to get her son' since kindergarten. I was warned about her and her kid before school began. I was told to never call home without an administrator present and basically that there are no consequences for this kid because he is 'special needs' and his mom has threatened to sue.
This kid does nothing other than disrupt class. On the few occasions I've gotten him to work, he's been completely competent and fully capable, but there's no punishment for doing nothing, so he chooses to mess around instead. The kid will ask to go to the bathroom and instead spends 20-30 minutes just wandering campus, peeking into classrooms, whatever. I've had to have campus supervisors find him and bring him back more times than I can count. Sometimes he wanders out of the room without permission, but legally I can't stop him due to his 'needs.'
The kid peed all over the boy's bathroom once. No consequences. He took another kid's phone and chucked it outside on the concrete in the middle of class, smashing it to pieces. I sent him to the office and they sent him right back. He's been in multiple fights. The school actually suspended him for once. Now, his mom is saying that due to his 'needs,' he should be exempt from suspensions."
"I used to work at a rec center for at-risk teenagers where we would provide things like tutoring and other services to keep kids out of trouble. I will always remember this kid --- I will call him Jon. Now, Jon was about 13 when I met him and my supervisor gave me the heads up about his terrible home situation since we had to contact CPS on a number of occasions. Apparently, Jon's mother was fond of any type of illegal substance she could get her hands on and that being the case, often lived a very transient lifestyle. She often disappeared for days or weeks at a time leaving Jon and his siblings to fend for themselves. Jon was a very sweet kid who would often volunteer to help with anything we needed around the center and, for his efforts, staff would buy him McDonald's or snacks.
One day Jon comes into the center and appears to be slightly off. He was very short-tempered to the point that we made note of it but decided to give him a couple of days to cool down. Time goes by and one night he is helping us clean up and Jon breaks down into a weeping pile. According to Jon, his mom called and was in county lockup across the state and would not be home for what seemed like an extended period of time leaving he and his siblings to figure out the bills and the several months' worth of rent that they owed to their landlord. Not knowing how to move forward, since it appears he and siblings are going to be homeless in the near future, I call my boss who contacts CPS who sends an emergency worker to the center to speak to Jon one on one. I leave for the night and don't see Jon again.
To end this story on a happy note, Jon found me on Facebook not too long ago and we caught up via messenger. Jon told me that he and his siblings were put in emergency foster care together where they stayed for close to two years as he finished high school. He left high school and immediately joined the military where he finished basic training and was waiting to get his orders to move again. I am glad it sounded like things were looking up for him since this kid was behind the 8 ball from the beginning."