Let me preface this and forewarn you, I am not a big fan of Anderson Cooper. This show further reinforced why I’m not a fan. It clearly demonstrated and perpetuated the judgment cast on parents who raise strong-willed children. Since the psychologist he used as an expert clearly gave text-book answers to these situations I feel I have to climb on my soap-box of defense for this one.
For the sake of summary, two mothers who called the police for assistance in reigning in their out-of-control daughters were guests. As they shared their story Anderson took comments from less than sympathetic audience members, with one woman asserting what many secretly believe ” Parents are failures if they have to call the police for backup.”
Mr. Cooper Skyped in a police officer, who expressed his opinion that valuable resources were being wasted when parents called the police to assist with their children, citing he was sometimes called to help get kids out of bed and to school. Apparently the state in which this officer works over-looks the law that says children must attend school. Parents living in states where this law is enforced can face heavy fines as well as jail time when their children refuse to attend school.
The psychologist invited to be the parenting expert gave pat answers from the psychology of parenting course textbook, and did not indicate to me she was really listening to the parents or the situations represented. Dr. Binder-Brynes kept insisting services are available to assist parents. That may be true but many of those services are at or above service capacity. Our local low-cost counseling center has a waiting list of three months for family counseling, and the funding it uses to support service delivery has been severely cut forcing the center to turn away many parents and teens unless they meet certain qualifications and strict guidelines set by the agency’s funder forcing many families in crises to address issues on their own. It is a scenario replicated in cities across the nation.
Calling the police on your child is undoubtedly one of the toughest decisions a parent has to make.
Teens who are suicidal, or aggressively out of control and who are a threat to the safety of themselves or other family members need to have police intervention.
This is not, as Anderson, or Dr. Binder-Brynes would suggest, a reflection of poor parenting. Nor does it send the message to your child that you can’t handle the situation. It is an act of parenting courage and sends a clear statement to your teen that you love them enough to do whatever it takes for them to get back on track.
Good parents use all available resources to support the positive growth and development of their children.