Some parents really suck. First, let me just say that my clients come from all sorts of families--nuclear, step, single-parent, grandparent, foster, adopted, and group homes. Some of the parents I meet are truly wonderful. And, in some cases, no matter what the parents do, the children can't seem to get it together. But, then there are the ones where the kids are good kids, but their parents just plain suck. They're drunks or drug addicts. They're always moving because they can't hold a job long enough to pay the rent anywhere. They beat them or molest them or let their live-in boyfriend do it. They don't ever have any food in the house or they let their junkie friends steal their kids' stuff. I've had cases where the police report describes my client as being his parents' "designated driver;" where the parents kicked the kid out of the home with no place to live, then had him charged with burglary when he broke into the house when they were away so we could have a place to sleep; where the mother told the police officer that her son was at fault for his father beating him because the kid intentionally got his dad drunk; where the mom left the state for a week-long trip to see an old boyfriend, and ended up having such a fun time that she didn't come back for two months, leaving her teenage kid home alone the whole time. And the worst part is that there is almost nothing I can do about it. I can talk to the kid about how to stay safe. I can call CPS, and report it myself. I can tell his probation officer to do something about it. But, in the end, I have virtually no power. I can't get the kids better parents. And so many of these kids, I'm telling you, I truly believe would never set foot in juvenile court if they had even one halfway decent parent. Just someone who loves them unconditionally, and teaches them about responsibility and empathy and consequences, and what it means to be a decent human being. What they don't need is a prosecutor talking about how they're "on the wrong track," and a judge telling them it's time to "get with it," and a lawyer telling them that she's doing everything she can when she knows it's not nearly enough.
Labels: juvenile, my cases, parents