So I work for my local Child Protective Services...
And everyone’s response is the same when they hear this: sympathy, they could never do my job, ouch, etc. Very appropriate responses, but all of these are typically in regards to the families I work with.
I will be honest: many of the parents I encounter should never have been parents. Ever. Many should not even be trusted with a cactus, nonetheless another living being. However, most of my families AREN’T like this, and the ones which are like this I tend to give some slack, even as I’m working like hell to keep their kids safe. Many of them have severe mental health issues, and many have been told, despite not having a parenting bone in their body, that they SHOULD be parents and they needed to grow up and BE parents, without ever acknowledging that parenting is completely beyond their abilities.
Which brings me to the frustrating portion of the job: people who SHOULD know better and yet don’t.
These are the supposedly mentally healthy, educated, intelligent beings who return to the children to the parents against all evidence pointing out how terribly this will end. These are the people who struggle to provide evidence against the parents in court because they want to be liked and they don’t want to bad talk the parents. These are the people who close their eyes against warning sign after warning sign because despite multiple HORRIFIC failures, they want to give these parents a chance, because they’re sure that these parents love their children and want the best for them…deep down. Really deep down.
There is a view on what parenting is supposed to be and what the relationship between parents and their children are supposed to be and don’t get me started on the myths regarding maternal instincts. It’s easy to get wrapped up in ideals and ignore the blatant evidence right in front of them, and the result is too many children being endangered…and in some cases, depending on the children, people AROUND the children being endangered.
I had one adoptive parent, who was related to the father, be so upset because the father couldn’t “man up” and take responsibility because he was signing away his rights to the child. I had to convince her that he WAS fulfilling his responsibility: by recognizing that he could not possibly parent the child and was allowing the child to grow up in a good home.
I’m childfree, and I’ve heard multiple times that I should have kids and I would be such a good mother and blahblahblah. Being childfree has given me a perspective a lot of people around me don’t have. These people believe that everyone should have children and everyone has the instinct to love, protect, and nurture those children. This can lead to actively dangerous situations for the children, and even when the parent states that they can’t do it, that they hate the child, that they want someone else to have the child, I still hear judges and counselors and service providers insisting that if the parent just had a LITTLE MORE HELP…
So, no. It’s typically not the parents which make my job so hard. It’s the people who should know better and get confused when everything goes to hell.