Thursday, April 23, 2009

If I Have to Pull This Car Over....

I usually try to keep things pretty lighthearted here on The Westie Crew, but every now and then, something captures my attention that isn't exactly lighthearted and I want to know what you think.

So, if you haven't heard, there is this Mom who had really had it with her 10 and 12 year old girls scrapping in the backseat. She got to her breaking point, pulled over, and told them to walk the rest of the way home. Long story short, it all ended in her being arrested (you can read the full story here).

This got me to thinking; I have been to the point that this Mom was at on the road with my children, too. Many times it's shameful to admit such a thing, but I'm doing it. I mean, here you are, trying to operate a vehicle, which if messed up, could kill or seriously injure all of it's passengers, and you've got kids screaming and maybe even duking it out... all behind your back while you are strapped in. I'm not going to lie, it makes me pretty crazy. Anyone else? The only difference is that when *I* envisioned putting them out of the van, it didn't involve stopping. MWAHHHAAAAAHHAA.

Just kidding. Don't call DHR on me. ;) Seriously, though, the true difference is that I obviously didn't/wouldn't do it. She went too far when she drove away and left her little girl there to be picked up by a stranger. I mean, thank God it was a person who had the little girl's best interest in mind. It had to have been terrifying for the child and that breaks my heart.

Now, here are my questions. What *should* she have done here? Chances are, they weren't listening to her when she tried to get them to stop fighting earlier. I can't honestly believe that this was her first attempt at getting them to stop. So what in the world does a parent do in a situation like that?

Also, do you think she should have been arrested? Do you think her kids should be taken away from her (this is a possibility), or that Child Protective Services should be a part of their lives from this point forward? I have to tell you, I think the latter is going too far, but I am on the fence with the former.

What are your thoughts on this whole story? I'd love to hear them, even if you disagree with me.


Holly said...

If conditions were safe to pull over, we would have pulled over, spanked their behinds with a wooden spoon and drove on with them in the car.

If conditions were not safe, they would have got a spanking at home, spent time in their rooms or lost a privilege OR all of them.

We always discipline in love and always restore the child in love.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I've been there. I have not taken them out of the car, but I have pulled over to the side of the road or a parking lot and just sat. In silence. Until they became civilized. It makes them stop & wonder when Mom isn't feeding into the frenzy. Silence has spoken volumes for me in those moments. :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Holly's choice of discipline.

This mom, while understandably irritated and probably feeling like she was losing her mind (we've all been there!), was completely irresponsible to leave her children on the side of the road. You just don't DO that in this day and age. If she was at the point that she was ready to leave her kids on the side of the road, she needed to pull over and take a few minutes to try to calm herself down before making any decisions about the children. Granted her children were a little older, but still! Girls that age are prime targets for child predators.

You know, I don't know if the arrest is too harsh. On the one hand she abandoned her children, plain and simple, regardless of her motive. Whatever happens to her, there needs to be some serious counseling administered for both her and her children. No doubt they are going to bear some scars from this, not to mention scars from having a monitored relationship with their mother.

Michelle said...

i have been thinking on this as well. last night when i first saw the story online, i rolled my eyes. my first thoughts were, well they should have listened and stopped fighting.But this morning after hearing that the 10 year old, my emily's age, was scared and had to be helped by a stranger my heart dropped. I couldnt' imagine putting her in that situation.

I'm like you, drives me insane to hear fighting while i'm driving. i'm not a great driver to begin with so it causes a big distraction. And a lot of screaming, on my part ;)

We have stopped the car before for spankings but now I'm even scared to do that, especially in parking lots where there are cameras everywhere. Sadly, I threaten that they are gonna get it when we get home and either I forget or I'm too tired to deal with it.

I don't think that they should be taken away from their mom. From what I have heard she is a really great mom and getting a lot of support from family and friends.

Did you ever hear Ruth Graham tell the story about locking Franklin in the trunk?

My goodness, she would be in a heap of trouble today.

Emily said...

I'm totally shocked. Not sure if I'd ever do it, since I'd worry about their safety, but YES...I've been TO that point. Who hasn't?

beyond this moment said...

I'm not sure I agree. (Sorry in advance for the soap box)

The arrest was definitely extreme, and obviously a product of upper middle class life. Set this story in a poor neighborhood and no one would bat an eye. It certainly wouldn't be newsworthy. Only two states actually have laws about when a child is too young to be left without adult supervision. The other states allow parents to make that determination (like NY).

Sure, the mom shouldn't have gone all the way home, but in her position I would absolutely make my kids (at that age) get out and walk while I drove a few blocks ahead of them. Yes, I would even make them walk the entire three miles in a well-to-do business/shopping district and suburban neighborhood.

But then again, my mom was injured pretty seriously when the fighting of my two oldest children in the back of her van distracted her and she got in an accident.

I don't think the girls will be scarred for life - except that perhaps they will now threaten to call the police/CPS every time they are disciplined.

Duckygirl said...

I don't agree w/actually doing what she did but I think the arrest was going too far.

"It is a traumatic situation for a child to be abandoned by a parent like that. You can imagine what emotional issues might arise,"...ABANDONED? really? It's not like she said get out and I don't ever want to see you again, like she dumped a stray cat out or anything. She just told them to walk home.

carrie said...

good questions.

I don't think I would've done it, but maybe if she hadn't driven away and just faked them out, it would've given them something to think about.

Pulling over and not driving till it stops is probably the safest solution here.

EEEEMommy said...

Hmm. My mom left me once. I was in High School and was being interviewed by the newspaper. I don't know exactly what I did (I think I was complaining/stressing because we were late...we were always late), but she got really mad at me, dropped me off at the door, and drove off. I had to pull myself together and go do the interview (which I was already very nervous about), all the while wondering whether she was going to come back or not, and what I should do. It was really very traumatic for me and spoiled what should have been a special occasion. Afterward, she didn't even buy a copy of the newspaper. It took me a long time to forgive her.
A child's immaturity does not justify a parent's immaturity. Three miles is a long way to walk for a 10 year old!

Lois Lane II said...

I kinda agree with LaundryLady. =) I know a mother of two kids who only INCREASES the noise of her kids with her own antics.

But the arrest...I vote with Rachel. Counseling needs to be involved. Arresting her isn't really going to help the situation.

Mary R Snyder said...

I love this question ... I think we need to look beyond the obvious in this story. The reporter mentions the 12 year old gets to her mother but the 10 yr old does not. I have a feeling Mom may have driven down the block and stopped.

Now, as to whether she went too far -- I won't make a call on that. I can speak to child abuse since I work in that arena and with children who are the victims of such abuse. The system will terrify these girls. The fear that their fighting has caused all this trauma and drama is something they are dealing with.

I've seen this fear in children who reported severe abuse. Children don't want to hurt their parents.

The media and the system are abusing these girls with the publicity.

I'm just blown away that everyone is up in arms over a mother dropping her children off in a business section of a nice area. I wish the news would be more quick to report the .... well, I can't say anything because I'm bound by confidentiality laws.

But let me say this -- last year in the United States 1500 children died at the hands of the people who should have loved and cared for them the most. And that's just the ones we know about.

Whew -- Thanks for making me think Gayle

connorcolesmom said...

I left you a comment on FB
I think we baby kids too much!
those girls were old enough to walk 3 miles

And I do not think the mom should have been arrested

When we take away a parents right to be creative with disipline then we lose our kids

Sometimes "teaching" our kids means it is uncomfortable and not fun for them - like walking 3 miles home

If they had been younger than ten then I would feel different

Also, the 12 yr caught up with her mom so the mom must not have been far off (it states that in the article)
Which means she probably dropped them, wanted them to walk a ways, and then was going to pick them back up - who knows

Anyway, that is my 2 cents
Love ya

Becca said...

I cant believe she got arrested for it. And I agree that it definitely wouldnt have caused any kind of uproar in a poor neighborhood. . . but I dont know what I would have done because I'm not there yet . . . I'll let you know when i have more than one and they're of fighting age.

Krista said...

When I was growing up, my mother would have spared the authorities so much trouble. She would have simply dumped us out AT the nearest DHR office, not on the side of the road!
Okay, I'm just kidding, but only slightly.
Things are so different today. On the one hand the government meddles way too much in private affairs, but on the other hand it is NOT a good idea, during these times in which we live, to leave your children on the side of the road.

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

I was watching the story this morning and thinking of my own 10 and 12 year old. While I wouldn't have dropped them off and then picked one back up but left the other on her own, I don't think it is as horrible as some people think it is.

I suppose she could have turned around and smacked them and hit them and nobody would have known. She could have screamed at them and verbally abused them for hours and she wouldn't have been arrested. Heck, she could go and kill her own baby and people would be championing her right to do so.

Kelli said...

you notice that the story leaves out a lot of details that could be in mom's favor but leaves in the ones that cast her in a bad light. For instance the 12 year old caught up to mom. If mom took off and drove 3 miles home I don't think even a track star daughter could have caught up with her. Also, my Father in law did this to my husband when he was maybe 11-13(in the '80's). My husband was being a mouthy kid and would not hush. So his dad told him to get out, about 8 miles from home. He didn't even say "walk home" just "get out if your going to talk that way". He left and drove home did some puttering around the house, had dinner, and was watching tv when my husband made it home. My husband remembers it to this day, not with bitterness but with understanding that he was being a rotten brat. You better believe he thought twice about running his mouth after that! I doubt I would have done quite the same thing, but an arrest was ridiculous. All these children have learned now is that the government will step in and "protect" the from mom's discipline.

Drewe Llyn said...

Hey, Gayle! I'm glad you're back! I'm sorry I don't comment much. We're in transition and have dial-up. :-( I'm not sure why my posts don't always show up for you. THe same thing happens on my blogliens. Oh, well. Have a great day!

Halfmoon Girl said...

My mom asked my brother and I to walk when we were close in age to the kids in the story. We were in a safe rural place though and we were acting like TURDS. We laugh about it now. My instinct is to think that there are bigger things for us to be upset about, but I don't know the whole story. I wouldn't abandon my kids, but it sounds like that mom wasn't that far away???

Anonymous said...

I go crazy with the fighting a lot of the time when my 12, 10, and 9 year olds are all together in the backseat!

I have stopped.
I have pulled over.
I have warned.
I have yelled.

But I would NEVER make them get out of the car and leave them. Not where I live! I don't let my kids walk around the block and I certainly wouldn't allow them to walk three miles home alone. Maybe her neighborhood is different,, but our children are OUR responsibility - whether they are being well behaved or little heathens! My heart would stop if some stranger picked up my child! I certainly wouldn't be the one to put them in that position.

The woman getting arrested - well, I suppose it depends on a few things. Did she drive all the way home? Was it a safe neighborhood? Did the children know how to make it home by themselves? I'm going to vote with yes - she deserved it!



Growin' with it! said...

just by your small descriptions...i'm thinking i won't go over to that link. mama bear's fur gets all ruffled about stuff like that!

when we were little i remember a moment when we were fighting over a ball in the back seat. my dad took it and threw it out the window. i can seriously still picture that spot on the road in my mind. it worked...we stopped fighting. not sure it was the right thing for him to do, but at least i wasn't standing there with the ball on the side of the road!