Thursday, 10 August 2006

A Letter From Your Parents

I've seen a lot of things in my 10 years of working with disadvantaged young people but I've never seen anything that best sums up how some people should never be parents.

A young lady, aged 16, walks in and in her hand she is clutching a typed letter, it is from her parents and they have addressed it to their daughter and it said that she has consistently broken house rules and that they would like her to leave the family home as soon as possible.

It was signed by both parents under the heading: "Yours sincerely" and "Wishing you all the best for future".

I don't ever want to understand how a parent could've sat down and typed that, or what they must have felt like when they signed it and worst of all, I have no comprehension of what it must feel like to be so fundamentally rejected by your parents.

This is the world we make.


  1. Say, man...

    Thanks to your countrymen for saving God-knows-how-many lives of us filthy Americans today.

    What a day!!

    Me personally, I'm sitting here giggling my ass off at all the back slapping and dick sucking going on over this whole mess.

    I'm so sick with fear that I think I might have to go home and tap into this half pound of fresh reefer I have in my freezer at home and chill.
    Oh the horrors of global terrorism!

    I'm so fantastically sarcastic today.

    Until later...

  2. I got one of those letters once. After not seeing my errant father for over a decade, I made an attempt at reconcilliation when I was 22. I spent a month of weekends with his new family and my half-sister and believed we were all getting on like a house on fire. Then the following Wednesday after my last visit I got a letter basically telling me we were strangers and had nothing in common and that I should stay away. It ended with the words: "Love, your Dad"

    Nice bloke...

    This week, I have been reconciled with my half-sister by email. (By chance, it is her 23rd birthday this very day). She promised that she will call me this weekend for our first proper chat. I am looking forward to Saturday with all my heart. I finally have a sister.

  3. But you can bet the parents break the rules all the time, considering it a privilege of authority they intend to deprive their child from ever attaining.

    Seriously, Daniel, it's time for some good, old-fashioned ass whupping.

  4. Colonel: You assume much. Too much. You do not know these people, or what their story is, yet you condescendingly condemn them.

    Perhaps they are not ideal parents. Perhaps they are, and the daughter refuses to follow fair, well-thought out rules.

    I don't know. I would never dare to presume what is an agonizing family decision.

    Have you ever had to tell your child to leave your home, Colonel? What about you, Daniel?

    I have.

    It was a decision I did not make lightly. It was one that broke my heart. But I had to do it.

    I had to ask my second oldest son to leave my house. For my sake, and for his.

    The rules were simple: Don't do drugs in my house. Get a job, or go to school.

    He broke all three of them consistently.

    So I told him goodbye. It doesn't mean I don't love him any less. I still love him, and pray that he finds a way to be a happy and productive person.

    If he stayed in my house, he would not have a chance at that. Because right now, he is a taker. He takes whatever he can, and gives nothing back.

    Right now, he's found other takers, who are putting up with him. But they he's wearing out his welcome quite rapidly.

    Perhaps one day, he'll find himself without anyone from whom to take. And on that day, maybe he'll start to live again.

    I am not holding myself up as an ideal parent. I made mistakes. Plenty of them. And I still do. But I try to be consistent. I say what I mean, and I back it up.

    I did not reject my son, Daniel. He chose not to respect my rules.

    I don't know anything about the situation this girl is going through, and really, neither do you, Daniel. Yes, it's hard. But it's not the end of the world.


  5. Yeharr. When a child is younger than 18 years of age, we are responsible for their care and conduct.

    Do they listen? Fuck no.

    I assume too little in not immediately calling for the authorities to take the parents to task for liabilities which, in Canada, are automatic when a minor leaves their parental residence.

    Canadian parents who eject their children are obligated to provide outside or foster residence, plus living expenses, and remain liable for dangerous or criminal activity their children engage in until they come of age.

    This of course does not take place in a social context the deprived American public may be familiar with. Our social security structure, which despite twenty years of assault by American corporate fuckwits, remains the strongest in the civilised world.

    Intervention help for parents and children who are in crisis is so prevalent, when the authorities step in to prevent harm to children, they are usually immediately assisted by the best-trained social workers in the world.

    In almost every case, the only people who fail to take advantage of the enormous social resources we have to prevent the breakdown of the family are those who are abusing their children.

    Let me make clear that I am no friend to any child abuser. The only thing preventing me from calling for their death is the negative impact that would have on the children.

    Handing a 16-year-old a letter which politely says "Get the fuck out," is wrong. The evidence presented depicts people who have washed their hands of their parental responsibility, in spite of whatever kind of personal hell the 16 year old may have dragged them through.

    The question remains as to who that wrong is attributed: If there were social resources available to prevent the family breakdown, it can be said that the parents did not tap all their options before severing relations.

    If there were legal restraints the parents failed to take advantage of, they failed to do all they could to prevent this situation.

    If there were no social or legal resources to assist the parents--and the 16 year old--then the fault can be squarely put on the governing authorities in whose jurisdiction this tragedy occurred.

    If it is the fault of the governing authorities that there were no social or legal resources to assist the parents in preserving their family, and ONE RED CENT was spent on the illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, then it can be said that the governments who have jurisdiction over this family are remiss in their sworn duties, and no longer have moral authority over their realms.

    This is particularly damning of those areas ruled by self-proclaimed "Christian" movement leaders, who yap on and on and on about family values.

    Mr. Balloon Pirate, I didn't judge those people, I just applied the law of probability and factored in for their humanity. It would be stupid to assume that these people will now enter some kind of sainted, sin-free existence, morosely wandering about in search of souls to save.

    It may well be that their hands have been tied, but in the case of the Anglo-American middle class, I have seen too many cases where the parents simply have found a way out of their parental responsibilities.

    Few people have the guts or the strength of character to admit the mistakes they've made while raising their children, and please, Pirate, don't think I'm pointing any finger at you.

    I have also seen untenable situations in which the absolute refusal to obey the house rules has resulted in young people being ejected. There is a growing trend toward homeless youth in Canada's large urban centres, although this was never above the normal "runaway" levels before Corporate America began its full scale invasion.

    I also do not judge your situation at all, or your decisions. For the record, I myself was severely abused as a youth, and was both ejected and "ran away" multiple times.

    I have seen prodigal children (who usually don't believe their parent will actually follow through), but I have also witnessed the righteous anger of parents who have "had enough" of a child, and who, shortly after the dramatic scene, return to doing the things they kicked their child out for.

    The complexity of a child-parent relationship is too great to simply say it's this, or it's that. But it is very simple to say it is wrong.

    Whose wrong it is, or who is wrong in which areas are difficult to say. But nobody can seriously say the ejection of a 16 year old into the kind of world we allowed the imperialists create is a good thing.

    The fact that nothing is being done, coupled with the unending fact that almost a trillion dollars has been spent raping Iraq is the real concern. This is where people should be getting shot, and The People should be taking the world the murderers created and making it safe for our youth.

  6. BP: you know how much respect I have for you and if in any way I offended you then I apologise, I certainly do not want to alienate you from my blog.

    I appreciate you offering the parent's perspective and that is what I am missing, I do know the background to the situation but I do not want to disclose it for confidentiality reasons, needless to say I think, in my professional opinion as a youth worker, that the lady on question has been treated unfairly.

    This discussion has been really interesting and stimulating.

    Peace to you all!

  7. I'm trying to imagine the resolve she must have not to tear up the letter. I'm sure it's crossed her mind more than once. Instead, to carry it with her, full of its irony and bitterness--like I said, I can't imagine it. I hope everything gets straightened out, one way or another. No one likes to see a kid left without a significant adult in her life.

  8. Kids can really fucking piss you off. I hope I never have to face these decisions. I really don't know what I would do with my children.

    12 years and 3 kids later...None of it has gone as I had imagined. The kids have actually been better than I imagined. I have not been as good as I had imagined. All I can do is try my best and love them unconditionally.

  9. Teaching in Philly I saw a lot worse. I'm against government intrusion in our lives, but some people should just npot be alllowed to have children.


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