Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nominations for bad parent of the year

Most mornings I check out Google News. I have all the standard sections. For most of them I'm going with the top ten stories. After the standard sections I have two customized sections for "homeschool" and "education. Next are sections for the U.K., Canada, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. At the end are some pages focused on news based on zip codes. I hardly ever get my news from the paper any more.

Today's edition of Google News had two headlines that shocked me.

One of them reminded me of The Law of Unintended Consequences. Rob Norton has a nice summary which starts:

The law of unintended consequences, often cited but rarely defined, is that actions of people—and especially of government—always have effects that are unanticipated or "unintended." Economists and other social scientists have heeded its power for centuries; for just as long, politicians and popular opinion have largely ignored it.

The article on Google News titled Father leaves nine children at Nebraska hospital is a classic example of unintended consequences. The article starts:

Parents are abandoning teenagers at Nebraska hospitals, in a case of a well intentioned law inspiring unintended results.
Over the last two weeks, moms or dads have dropped off seven teens at hospitals in the Cornhusker state, indicating they didn’t want to care for them any more.
“They were tired of their parenting role,” according to Todd Landry of Nebraska’s Department of Human and Human Services, quoted in
USA Today.
Under a newly implemented law, Nebraska is the only state in the nation to allow parents to leave children of any age at hospitals and request they be taken care of, USA Today notes. So-called “safe haven laws” in other states were designed to protect babies and infants from parental abandonment.



I feel sorry for the children.

Each time some politician promises to fix a problem, I am sure there will be some unintended consequences, often times worse than the problem they are claiming they'll fix.

The second headline, Dad sentenced over teenage son's car crash, was about a "father" who doesn't deserve to be a father.

A father who provided alcohol to his teenage son and egged him on to drive recklessly before crashing and injuring his 3-year-old son, was sentenced Friday to 36 years in prison.
A Jefferson County jury found Kenneth L. Childress guilty of reckless child abuse, vehicular assault, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, reckless endangerment and reckless driving. Childress, 35, of Aurora, had two prior felony convictions and was on probation for an alcohol-related driving offense when the Nov. 22, 2007, crash occurred.
Childress, his 17-year-old son, the teenager's girlfriend, and his younger son were headed to a party late at night. Childress provided alcohol to his teenage son, who was driving.


The three year old son suffered a broken jaw and a ruptured spleen.

Thirty six years in jail sounds about right.

Again, I feel sorry for the children.

Technorati tags: children, families, parenting


Karen said...

Your point about the law of unintended consequences is an apt one. However, about the father who left his nine children: I have read further reports on this case, and, well, I feel sorry for the guy! He's a widower, and since his youngest is only 1, a recent widower at that. Obviously, he is grief-stricken and overwhelmed. Furthermore, he had not asked any of his extended family for help, indicating shame or embarrassment. All in all, it sounds to me like the guy needs some help--in many areas.

They are going to place the kids with family, so hopefully, for everyone's sake, the relationships have not been done irreparable damage.

Mrs. C said...

Oh. My. Word. That is just a sad story. I, too, think more is going on than meets the eye with the guy who left bunches of kids off. :[ But who knows?

Crimson Wife said...

The dad has 10 kids (the oldest is 18) and felt completely overwhelmed when his wife died shortly after giving birth to the youngest. He couldn't function at work so he quit his job but then didn't have any way to support his kids. So in desperation he latched on to this idea of giving up his kids through this safe haven law.

I can't imagine what this dad must've gone through. At least he didn't end up harming his family like Banita Jacks did when she went off the deep end following the death of her 2 youngest kids' father.

Lance said...

Wow, what a sad story. Our prayers go out for that man and his children.