May 11, 2009
We have finally discovered the joys of your colorful and common sense site. If we had more people like you in this "fucktarded country" we'd all be a lot better off. But it does beg the question, "Could the world really handle another Galen?"
As I was reading your 2008 Dear Galen letters and responses, one really caught my attention and so here I am writing for an opinion.
My small family has had the joy of befriending our neighbor's granddaughters. For now, we'll call them Jane and Jill. One is 12 and the other is 6.
Growing up with a lot of emotional neglect and abuse from my mother, I have witnessed much of it in these two little girls. The neglect doesn't stop at emotional. Many of the basic needs of these children are not met.
We all have had our fair share of monetary issues in which we don't always have EXACTLY what we want. But I consider clean clothes, regular bathing, food, electricity, general care, and medical care to be a physical necessities to two growing children.
Since knowing their Grandmother, she's told us how often they've been without electricity. Jane (the oldest) doesn't have a single clue on how to take care of herself. She has been going to school without underwear. And it wasn't her mother who discovered it first. (How the school discovered first I really don't want to know. If they'd done anything bad, Jane would have been raising hell...it's the only thing she's good at currently.) She's on an ADHD drug currently that her mother has her only taking on days she goes to school instead of as the doctor prescribed it.
Now I will mention the fact that I have and will always hate those parents who use ADHD medications to calm a hyperactive kid that's just being a kid. However, in this case, trust me when I say this 12 year old is quite out of control. From what I've seen, she's severely behind her peers in school. With a lot of consistent work from an adult that actually gives a shit she might eventually learn to control herself. It wasn't the mother though that requested she be taken to the doctor for ADHD, it was the school.
If it's not bad enough that the girl is acting out to get attention, about six months ago, she climbed up onto the counters and got the lighter fluid down, poured it on herself and lit herself on fire, while her "mother" was sleeping on the sofa. She doesn't trust me enough for me to feel comfortable asking her why she did it. But afterwards (as any sane hospital would do) she refuses to tell even the psychologist she's been talking to since WHY exactly she did it. I don't really think you need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out if you just spend a little time with her.
Jill, is much younger and has not gotten to the stage her sister is. I'm not sure if it's her personality (because she has a different father) or the fact that her older sister picks on her. Actually, the only time this young one acts out is when Jane provokes it. I really don't want to see her turn into Jane.
There have been times their Grandma has come home absolutely furious because her daughters allow those girls to be hit, shot etc by a couple of boys. Hell, this last weekened, Jane was telling us how they were shooting a BB gun at her as she was running back into their trailer. And big surprise, the dumbass mother did nothing about it. This hasn't been the first time we've heard her allowing these boys to do things like this. Though I think my fiancee and I are going to take a little ride down and have a "chat" with the Pastor that hit Jane a couple weekends ago. And no, it won't be pretty...at least not for him. If there's something you don't do as an adult dealing with a child that's NOT yours, it's hit them (not to say it's okay even as a parent).
There are several weekends the kids are over at their Grandma's. It didn't take me very long to see the neglect. When food is prepared, both girls inhale it like they've not eaten for years. I used to do this when I went to my Mimi's house when I was younger. These were the days I was left at home with no food in the house for me to make for myself.
The eldest I would think by now would be well prepared to be taking care of herself. (bathing, brushing her teeth, cleaning clothes, generally taking care of her body) However, to our great shock, we've had to teach her everything. While it's been a joy to see both of them light up with the knowledge they have proud adults there to help them if they need it. Jane who is normally argumentative when asked to do things, jumps up to help when she's at her Grandma's. Seeing the changes each weekend their over continually heartbreaks me as I know the conditions they go home to. Both girls have repeatedly begged their Grandma to let them stay with her, but legally she's afraid to do anything. Because if she loses, she knows her daughter will never let her see those kids again.
I might note that this family is not the brightest bulbs on the Christmas tree. I have been routinely frustrated with our neighbor over the silliest of things. But I don't know why I expect anything more. Probably just my own fucktardedness showing.
Social services has already been called numerous times with no one checking into the reports given by their Grandma. I realize it's extremely unlikely the kids would be removed from the mother. However, with me not being savvy into much of this, I thought I might ask you if you had any thoughts or opinions. Their grandma doesn't have much more than their mother does, but she would actually put the child support TO the children and give them everything they needed and more (instead of buying tobacco and other crap - the kids already cough like they've been chain smokers for 50 years). Again, it's a long shot, but any thoughts and advice would greatly be appreciated.
Dear Caring Adult,
What you're seeing is the result of poverty; all of it. See, people think that "poverty" just means you don't have any money. That's really only a small part of it. Different financial and social levels come with their own cultures as well. The culture of poverty is what you're seeing here. Mom neglects them, not because she doesn't care, but because she doesn't have the knowledge or resources to do otherwise. They neglect themselves for the same reason.
Social Services has looked into it and done nothing, you say? Well I'm not surprised by that. If the girls aren't being purposefully abused but are merely victims of their circumstances, Child Protection isn't likely to do much. The sad truth here is that there really isn't much that can be done. Even if the family suddenly became millionaires, they would still have a poverty-culture mindset and the emotional/social problems would still exist. Sure, they'd be able to eat and have electricity then, but they'd still have bad hygiene and shit like that to contend with.
The best way to combat this is to take steps to pull the girls' mentalities up out of the gutter and into a "middle class" cultural mindset. How to do that? I have no clue. As a teacher, I have been trained to recognize and deal with poverty kids, but that training did not include any ways to get them OUT of poverty - that would be well beyond the scope of any teacher. Sadly, it's also well beyond the scope of Child Services.
The grandmother and you guys are their best bet. Inspire them, support them, be there for them. In the end, the girls will have to pull themselves up out of that shit. Only they can improve their mindset and only they can inspire themselves to be more than they are. Your job is to introduce them to the unknown-to-them concept that they CAN be more than they are. Right now, they don't know that. Right now, these girls don't know what a loving and "normal" middle-class family IS. They don't know they're missing out on anything. Really, they probably aren't all that miserable because they don't realize there's anything to be miserable about.
Good luck with helping these girls. I wish I had something more concrete to advise you with, but I simply don't. Poverty is a problem for everyone and if anybody knew how to fix it, the whole fucking world would be a much better place.
All My Hate,