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Single Parenthood No Excuse For Bad Parenting

August 28, 2010

A few weeks ago, a ten year old boy accidentally shot himself in the arm attempting to rob someone on a South Seattle metro bus.

Ten years old.

So, what do I think about a ten year old kid suspected of multiple felonies?  I think the same thing you think; What. The Hell?

I think about my ten-year-old son.

He still has a favorite stuffed bear and sometimes thinks he hears strange noises from his closet.  He wears cartoon underwear for goodness sake.

I wonder what kind of home life the child in question comes from.

I think about what his teachers probably saw in this young, self-proclaimed gang member over the years.

This is a kid that represents one thing; failure.  Parents failed, school failed, community failed, and hell the juvenile justice system has failed him too.  How do you have more felonies than years of life?

He was known in the system. This wasn’t a one time thing.  He was known, and yet, here we are.  He attempted to rob someone in broad daylight in front of witnesses.  He tried to pull a gun- also in broad daylight and in front of witnesses.  How brazen can you get?

Sure, some of that comes from being completely ignorant- he is ten after all- but the rest of it probably came from knowing the system wasn’t going to punish him because of his age.  At ten, the law says he’s too young to form malicious intent, unless specifically proven otherwise by the court.  It seems no one has ever made the attempt to argue this child knew right from wrong and was capable of intentionally breaking the law.

Guess what? Thirteen felony investigations say he’s capable of intentionally breaking the law. That’s been established by his alleged behavior.  This is a kid with serious problems, who needs serious help- and accountability. It’s time for the system to step up.

At least six different criminal investigations resulted in recommendations this child face criminal charges.  Each time, someone opted not to prosecute him because of his age.

Lest we forget, it’s not just his age that matters, it’s his behavior.  The prosecutor’s office is responsible for seeing these kinds of patterns and taking the appropriate steps to address them in our youth- they failed to do that in this case.

Because of that, this little boy was able to go on allegedly committing crime after crime, developing the mindset the law wouldn’t or couldn’t touch him.

The King County Prosecutor’s office should have steps in place to address kids like this particular 10 year old. If those steps are already in place, clearly, they need to be revised.

Someone dropped the ball. That is as unacceptable as a ten year old criminal prodigy in our community.

It’s outrageous that he faced down over a dozen felony investigations in his ten short years of life, but was never charged because of his age.

But I have to say, what really irks me about this entire situation- almost more than the child himself- is his mother.

She’s been all over the news making excuses for her son.  She says he’s a good kid.  While I don’t think he’s inherently evil per se, to claim he’s a “good kid” is pushing it a bit.

The mother is also busy making excuses for herself.  She has said, quote- “I’m a single mother of 5 kids,” as if being a single mother, or having five children is something that was inflected upon her rather than a result of her own decisions.  As if being a single parent, of any children, is an excuse for raising a 10 year old criminal mastermind.

It’s not.

I’ve heard people say it’s not fair to shoulder the mother with the responsibility, that this little boys father, absent or otherwise, bears responsibility too.  Ok, fine, I agree with that.  His actions or lack thereof, are a contributing factor.

But I’m a single parent.  I take offense to a mother using her circumstance as an excuse for failed parenting.  Her son hasn’t been investigated for one or two crimes, but upwards of thirteen, and those are just the times he’s been caught. Robberies, assaults, thefts, witness intimidation you name it, this kid has done it.

It’s not because his mother is a single parent.  It’s because she failed to parent this child.  Making excuses for bad behavior isn’t good parenting.  Letting your child run the streets unsupervised all hours of the day and night- also not good parenting.  Ignoring the warning signs a child displays is not good parenting.

This mother didn’t get on tv and express her struggles to get her son help.  No, she said he’s good, and athletic, and he shouldn’t be in juvenile detention.

Given her opinion, and her style of parenting, perhaps the court should also weigh whether or not the environment this child and his siblings are living in, is healthy and safe, because right now, it’s shamelessly inadequate.

Raising good kids always starts in one place: the home.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 29, 2010 12:23 am

    I’m pushing the impose on 2 kids limit with DSHS that way we can ensure that single mom needs to tie her tube or closes her legs until she brings home the bigger piece of cheese and pay for her own next few children across all races. This would freed up the additional resources to invest in better birth control for men. For men, there are only very few options. I’m endorsing vasectomy for all young men growing up in poverty.

  2. MEE permalink
    August 30, 2010 3:02 pm

    This is a terribly sad story.
    I do want to comment on it though and hopefully find some answers to those that struggle raising kids that want to do what they want to do regardless of what the parents say.
    You are right, about her parents involvement – something is definitely missing in the home or going on and being a single parent isn’t an excuse but it is a common issue. Many times, being a single parent especially of multiple kids and a woman attempting to raise young men in this society can be a hardship- and you find yourself unsure on what to do – it would be interesting to know what resources are available for a single parent to explore while her kids start slipping through the system? That are cost-effective to those living on fixed incomes. Not necessarily low in-come – all incomes should be able to qualify for help.
    I remember going through my adolescence and having a real hard time finding myself, finding the right thing to do was way off my radar. I started getting into trouble at age 12. Sixth grade was a hard transition time for me, not just with school but home life as well. – In between getting caught up in the system – The only thing my mother was left to do was file, Youth-at-risk on me, did that help or prevent any of my issues to come or my behavior? No. By 9th grade – I had dropped out and became pregnant.
    So now coming through all of this, and with a teen child myself – I have times he tests me too. Times he doesn’t want to listen and wants to do what he wants to do. I can’t whoop or beat him – One it’s no longer an acceptable way of punishing and two at a certain age whipping a child in my eyes is not right.
    So what is a mother to do? I myself have tried involving him in things I could see that may help him such as volunteering, sports, youth initiative groups, church, sending him to his dad etc. But I have not found them to be all that helpful – because if the place or thing I send him to do doesn’t have that “special” person that is able to get through to your child, when you aren’t – what is there left to do with limited resources.
    My son is good now, but I know I have sat puzzled many times wondering – what am I suppose to do? I have been able to get through it, because eventually he comes around but it hasn’t been a smooth ride, we have had rocky obstacles too.
    I think with this woman her issue maybe that she has older children that are influencing her younger child/children. I hope that the system is somehow able to give her the resources she needs to help her/them not necessarily punish her/them – there are obvious issues that need to be delt with that are beyond just punishing.

  3. Mom in the southend permalink
    September 1, 2010 11:41 pm

    This is just another “Blame the mother” rant. It’s always mom’s fault, right? Barf.

    Where is the father of this child? Where are the resources that support families? Where are the policies that support families? Where is the culture that respects families?

    It’s not about excuses…or blame.

    It’s about ALL of us.

    When will we stop pointing the finger and start taking *collective* responsibility for our community?

    It’s for the good of ALL of us.

    Mom of 3 in the southend

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