Single mothers are always to blame

I putting this in the based based mostly on my anger quotient. It may not spark controversey, but my rarely-roused ire is too great to put it anyplace else right now.

Yesterday the 12-yr. old son of a friend–a single, working mom–fell off his bike and broke his arm (badly) in two places. It was the first day off school; he was in a supervised group in a public park, and the accident was unavoidable: he swerved to avoid someone darting across his path and went over the handlebars.

The brave kid never shed a tear and joked in the ambulance that the moms looked like a commercial for cell phones; they called for help, got out first aid kits, etc.

The cops tried to call his mom, who was at work. She wasn’t right at a phone, being away helping a customer. She got the news w/in a few minutes and took off for the hospital.

When she got there, one of the other moms told her that the cop had been ranting about “neglectful mothers”; when she asked about her son, he said, “oh, you mean the 10 yr.old?” And then he proceeded to dress her down about neglecting her son and “dumping” him at a tender age.

Okay, I’m ranting. This was one individual. The other “park mom” blistered his ears that the boy was supervised and well old enough to ride his bike on the first day off school.

But my friend is a shaken mess. The boy will be operated on tomorrow, mom and son are in anguish, and she’s worried that she’ll be reported to Protective Services. She wasn’t hanging around a bar; she was working. He’s an active 12 yr old boy, and responsible adults were around.

But she was instantly cast as The Villain. Forget the fact that she pays the bills, earns the medical benefits and does it with no help. She rearing a delightful, polite, grounded kid. But somehow she’s still The Villain.

This makes me soooo angry. Each situation is unique, but when the HELL did we get so ugly toward decent, working people who do their damndest to raise kids?


Veb, I hear that kind of stuff frequently out of the mouths of co workers. Whenever a teacher cant get hold of a parent, they immediately think they are neglectful, never mind the fact that they are probably working thinking their child is safe and sound at school.

Its too bad this kind of criticism is wasted on good parents rather than on the parents who truly are neglectful of their kids.

The cop sounds like an absolute jerk. I wonder if he’s got kids, and how often he climbs down off his soapbox to visit with them?

I think Officer Moron’s tirade was directed as much at Working-Outside-the-Home Moms as it was at Single Moms. This kind of thing pisses me off to no end. Would he prefer it she had no income? Then he could complain about how she’s living off of his tax dollars. Idiot.

(On a less Pit-worthy note-- best wishes to your friend’s son, not to mention your friend, and I hope he mends well and quickly!)

Wow, they can actually report you for that in the US? That’s just plain wrong. I mean, I can understand the existence of an organisation that watches out for children of neglectful parents. But a 12 year old boy falling off his bike in a park? With appointed supervision, no less?

Neglectful my ass. Jesus, if I had a nickel for every time I fell off my bike when I was 12… I could have easily broken something, and there would have been nothing that my mother could have done about it. Assuming she was there, which was never the case. You see, 12 year old boys tend to ride their bikes OUTSIDE of houses, whereas mothers tend to be INSIDE, for household purposes, or work away from home. Do these people expect parents to follow their kids around 24/7 untill they’re 18 years old or something?


I don’t think any court would have called that neglect. But once an accusation is made against you, it stays in the system.

My father bailed on his family when I was 6. My single-mother worked 2 jobs to raise 3 kids with no help from dad or from the state. And mom would have boxed this cops ears for such a bone-headed statement.

Would this woman consider reporting the policeman for his behavior? This really is an outrage, and I can feel for her - I’m a single mother, been there, done that, have the t-shirt.

Sad to say this is the reaction many people have. I’ve been there too, and received the worst accusations from the ex. Not that he had the time nor money to spend with his son, it was just easier to blame me for anything and everything bad that happened.

Tell your friend she did nothing wrong and I wish her son a speedy recovery.

Coldfire: Yeah, unfortunately in the U.S. nowadays, it’s possible to touch off an all-stops-out old-fashioned witch hunt by merely mentioning to Child and Family Services that a parent MIGHT have been neglectful or abusive. They immediately start an investigation, social workers start coming over to your house, talking to all your neighbors, and an appallingly high percentage of the time, your kids are taken away and put into emergency foster care UNTIL THE INVESTIGATION IS OVER, which can take months.

I know a family here in my town, whose 2 kids set the house on fire by playing with one of those BBQ lighter things. Dad was asleep on the couch, next thing you know the house burns to the ground, nobody was hurt, however. But DCFS feels a need to start an investigation, and hey, they discover that the dad has a little drinking problem, so of course they assume that he wasn’t “asleep”, he was “passed out”. The kids were taken away for a while, it dragged on and on. This was about 8 years ago and the family is STILL subject to periodic review by a social worker.

And this kind of thing, once it gets into the computers, geez, it follows you around FOREVER. And the local newspaper digs it up every year, “where are they now?” etc.

Plus, if there’s any kind of tension concerning custody, something like this will break it open like a half-healed scab. I have a friend who works as a letter carrier, a single mom with custody of a fifth-grade girl, and she lives in a state of constant anxiety that her ex-husband, who lives in the same town and who has the kid on weekends, will accuse her of being a Bad Mom and will go to court to get “Ashley” back. This kid’s hair is always perfectly clean, her clothes are perfect, she gets taken to the dentist like clockwork. If she ever had the kind of accident that Veb’s friend’s kid did, you can bet that M’s ex would be down there at the emergency room, looking over the doctor’s shoulder, and he’d be in court the next week. “How was this allowed to happen? Where was the mother?” etc.

He’s a real sleaze, too, but he owns a business (a bar) so he looks real respectable on paper. The custody thing is just a power thing between him and M, it’s nothing to do with “how much he loves his little girl”. Yeah, right.

No wonder Veb’s friend broke out into a cold sweat at the thought of being reported to Protective Services. I would have, too.

To respond to Coldfire, yes, you CAN be reported in most states for that, and in some jurisdictions, actually be tried and convicted.

Most states take reports of child neglect very seriously, and if it’s from a cop, just that much more seriously. Of course, it’s up to the actual social worker to make a decision on if or how to proceed. If the report is “unfounded”, that is, no evidence to support a charge, that parent (and in some states, parents) will still be in the system, but be in the “unfounded” list.

It sounds to me, however, that the cop was ranting about his own prejudices against working parents. Veb, I hope your friend and your friend’s son don’t experience Child Welfare Hell, and the kid’s arm heals nicely :slight_smile:

In Arkansas, when ever suspected abuse or neglect is reported, DCFS starts a file on you. Even if the abuse is unsubstantiated a file remains with your name on it. There was talk a few years ago of changing that, but I don’t know if it came to fruition. I haven’t been involved in auditing CPS in a few years.

This works in reverse too. When I was 11 I caught a rock in the face and lost sight in my left eye. (BTW - I’m “Blind” in that eye. Not “Sight Impaired” like everyone else likes to say it!) It was my fault plain and simple. My father had custody of me because my mother left him with my sib’s and left me with him. During the divorce, my mother’s attorney entered into evidence my blindness as “Proof” of my father’s abuse of all of his kids. My mother stated, under oath, that she “Knew” that my father had hit me and that’s why I’m blind. Even though I was put on the stand to explain what happened, my father still has a file with Family Services. The record shows that he was “Accused” of abuse. It is strangely silent about the nature of the complaint or the resolution. If you think this is a new problem, I should add that this happened in 1974.

An interesting sidenote.

In some states, even though one parent may be guilty of abuse or neglect, BOTH parents can be placed on the state’s registry. This tends to screw things up for the non-offending parent.

For example, if a wife leaves an abusive husband, and the husband has a file, then she, in turn, may find it difficult to get certain kinds of employment, such as daycare or nursing care, even though she wasn’t the abusive party. Sucks, I know :expressionless:


An update, and an apology:

First off, you folks are quite right that the “attack syndrome” isn’t gender-specific. I should have written that single parents etc. The only extenuating circumstance I can offer is that I was pretty tied up with my friend’s immediate problem. That’ll teach me to vent when I’m really upset; the brain short-circuits.

The update: the surgery went well. At least now he’s on the road to healing. (Being a kid, he’d refused pain shots because he’s afraid of needles. Breaks your heart, doesn’t it?)

His mom is doing okay. She’s been running on nerves and adreneline for 2 days, but she’ll crash tonight. She’s dreading the call to tell the father. Note: this is NOT male-bashing; this particular, individual man is the one who owns a Corvette but does not make support payments. When the boy needed a new bed, the father said, “the old one is good enough for him”.

Anyway, things will be okay. Poor kid, it’s turned really hot and humid here, so the cast will be a misery. A bunch of us are buying his most-desired computer games, etc. to help with the heat/boredom/hurting phase. We’re also arranging turns to take him to favorite movies.

And we’re buying his frazzled mom the best damned wine we can afford.


An unrelated side note to all parents: Don’t forget to update your “emergency contact” number list to schools, etc., should you change jobs mid-year.

At my daughters’ pre-school, a child fell and broke her arm. The mother was out shopping and the father was “no longer employed” with the first number they called. Luckily they knew that I was friends with the family and they called me. I remembered the name of the father’s new employer and they were able to reach him.

They had signed the form to take the child to the hospital, but the hospital would not have done anything, including given pain medication, until the parents arrived, since it was non-life threatening. And the child was in a LOT of pain. Not to mention the fact that the parents would want be there to comfort their children.

So don’t take these forms casually.

I remember seeing a deal on 20/20 or some show like that about a couple who were accused of child abuse by a neighbor who hated them. The complaint said that they refused to clothe the child; the kid was often seen outside stark naked, wearing nothing but a mask. They only fed the kid table scraps. They wouldn’t put the kid in school. When they allowed the kid outside, they always had him on a leash.

The accused couple had no children, but they did have a pet raccoon. They were subjected to a thorough investigation. Now, years and years later, they have a permanent record on file because they were accused of child abuse.

But, Holly, you didn’t tell us if the pet raccoon was allowed to run around nekkid…

Veb what a great friend you are. I’m sure both the young man and his mom are really glad you have been there for them. There arent enough people like you in the world.


Did I miss something? Why no support payments? Or, alternatively, why isn’t he in trouble about the lack of support? He is obviously a scum, but most states these days work hard to get support from fathers.

IMHO, it was in the early 90’s. Rush Limburger came in, talk radio soared, and what better target than single moms. Today it is epidemic; talk radio thrives on single moms, among others. They are desparately courting the young(21-45) MALE market. That’s how a total scum-sucking no-talent mysogynistic (did I say no talent?) buffoon like Tom Leykis can be on so many radio stations, spewing forth hate towards women and single mothers in particular.

My best wishes for you friend. Hopefully, she won’t need it.

Boys recovery quickly! Trust me on that. Tell mom, even though I know it doesn’t do any good, to take five minutes for herself. Don’t need mom stroking out too. Been there done that.
Not male bashing here, but does dad have to know? Is he a part of the regular routine? Just a question. If it helps her nerves any, and he isn’t going to be the supportive type anyway.
Sending some positive energy her way. Let me know if you guys need anything!

As for the way she was treated, that is just wrong. When Josh was hit, I got questioned very rudely by one nurse about where I was when it happened. I have been a single parent, but I am not now. I think the reason I was treated the way I was is because I am a young parent. Could that also be the case here on top of the other?
While I was up at the hospital with my son there was an infant there who I never saw anybody visit. Turns out it was a single mom who had to work. The first time I saw the woman I asked her if she minded if I keep the little one company while she had to work. My heart went out to her for doing what she had to do. Josh and I went down to visit her a few times.


First of all, good to hear the little guy AND his frazzled mom are getting support from you and other pals. It takes a village…

Second, have your friend report that cop ASAP. Not only to cover her ass should the fucker choose to report her, but who is to say this is the first or last time he’s a dick to the people he is paid (via their tax dollars) to protect?

We’ve a campus cop, Larry, here at the law school who has been watching over the place since before I started working at the law library three years ago. I used to think maybe he was just idiotic because some students complained that he would stop them and ask for their student ID, even though they’d been here three years and should know them by now (not a WHOLE lot of students in this law school).

Then I heard he was doing this mainly to the black students. By talking to the students, I found ONE white woman who he would stop but at least SIX black students (there are only about two dozen black students in a student body of 300, most of whom are white) - and I’m told there were more than this. PLUS I had to complain to his boss about him a few months back when a white student said he was put off by Larry’s refering to some black athlete as a “nigger.” And more recently I’ve been hearing he will call some of our foriegn students “spic,” “camel jocky” and “chink” behind their backs.

And he’s been especially rude to some of my black coworkers in the past year. One recent incident involved a cleaning guy named Terry, who has worked here for over a year and is a great big teddy bear. Terry is also black. Two weeks ago, Larry asked Terry’s help on a crossword puzzle, Terry complied and Larry chewed him out (in front of another coworker) for giving him such a “stupid” answer. Turns out Larry had spelled Terry’s word wrong. After the other coworker walked away, Terry calmly explained to Larry that he’d rather not be spoken to at ALL than be spoken to like that, and in front of someone else. Terry also explained (for the unpteenth time) why such shit is especially nasty for a white man to say to a black man. What does Larry do? Call his boss and says Larry was threatening him!!! ANYONE who knows Terry knows this is bullshit. Terry could’ve gotten into some serious trouble had it not been for a string of complaints (includeing mine) against Larry for racism.

George (my hubby and one of Larry’s coworers) thinks he hasn’t been fired yet because he’s SO close to retirement that some higher-ups are uncomfortable about giving him the old heave-ho. Larry was assigned to work in one of the parking lots last year (since he’s obviously not a “people person”) but that only lasted a month because he had trouble keeping track of what was happening on the video screens (I think he was doing his crossword puzzles again and lost sight of things). So they’re just waiting for him to retire, which I hope is REAL soon.

Sorry for such a long and off-topic rant. Long story short, your friend should report the cop to do herself AND perhaps someone else a favor.