It's a sad story to read, but I've seen this happen time and time again when a mother gets a boyfriend and the family unit goes to hell in a handbasket. I don't think mothers are getting the message that their children come first. Their boyfriends come second, a far second. If they can't live with that reality and take care of their children, then someone else should be caring for them and we wouldn't have tragic incidents like the death of Harmony. It's not just Native children that this is happening to, it's all across America. Due to children being on reservations, which are harder for social workers to get out to, they are similar to areas of our country that are equally hard for social workers to get out to as well. One of the most common causes of death of children in our country is the mother's boyfriends, either by directly killing the child or driving them to risky behavior that ends in their death. The cycle needs to stop everywhere, but where do we begin? How do we convince young and lonely women that their children are first? I ended up medically retired after working as a social worker for a county children's services unit, closely working with parents after 14 years. It really took a toll on my health because I really cared about the children and their families and had a hard time putting work aside when I went home. I don't know what the answer is other than Parent Education being required before graduation in high school and parent education being required before a child is born and at different stages in a child's life. Perhaps we need certificates before parents can become parents, indicating that they are worthy and capable of taking care of children. I am an example of a Mom who was a foster child, orphaned and then adopted, who put us kids first and boyfriends second. Then she found a boyfriend who really wanted to be our Dad and was the best Dad we could ever have asked for. We didn't know until a few days before my Mom died that our maternal grandparents we'd known were actually her adoptive parents. Thank God for people like them. If not for them, I really wonder how our lives would have turned out. My Mom did what she needed to do to take care of us on her own after my birth father left her for another woman. She was a secretary, got no child support, even though it was ordered by the court, and put food on the table and took great care of us kids. I never knew till later in life all the sacrifices she'd made before she met and married my "Dad". We were really lucky kids and lucky to have been so close to our parents throughout our adult lives. They are gone now and we miss them dearly. At one point, as an infant, I was a failure to thrive and children's services nearly took me away from my Mom until they found out I was an organic failure to thrive and gave her some help in getting special formula and medicines that would keep formula down since I was found to have an immature digestive system by a very noteworthy children's hospital still very busy today. Another answer would be by example. I never had children, having found out I was in menopause when I was 24 and had not found Mr. Right. I didn't find Mr. Right till I was 29 and was 30 when we got married. My brother had no children because his wife had a hysterectomy like I'd had because of such severe endometriosis. Even though I never got to parent my own children, I had been given a great example of how to parent by my parents. I used this to help the parents I worked with. Even a few small changes can work forward to others. At least I'm hoping some of them will be successful and pass their knowledge on to others that they have learned.
Sunday, February 10, 2013 - 02:12