daughter calling Child Protective Services

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2010
daughter calling Child Protective Services
Sat, 08-03-2013 - 12:21am

Just need some advice-15 year old daughter and husband butting heads fairly frequently about typical teenage drama. Husband's "style" is usually to yell a lot. Daughter says he has anger management issues which only then escalates things but not to a point that anybody is in physical danger or anything.  Last night it was their usual routine of yelling at each other and the next thing I know, CPS is at the door after daughter had apparently called them and they proceed to interview all the kids, and us, and left pretty much finding nothing going on except that they yell at each other. And somebody is supposed to be coming back to do an "inspection." I'm totally not worried about this but what I am worried about is the daughter thinking everytime she doesn't get her way about something, all she has to do is place a call and we then have to hop to it and do what she wants. I am sure we are not the only ones that this has happened to-so what has anybody else done???

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sat, 08-03-2013 - 11:05am

Does your DH realize that his habit of yelling all the time is not effective parenting and that there are better ways to handle disagreements?  Certainly I can't say that I've never yelled at my kids but it doesn't accomplish anything except to make both of us feel bad.  If there is something going on, or a disagreement, then TALKING about it calmly is the way to go.  You can't very well expect your DD not to be yelling if that's the way the family dynamic has been working in the past--how about your DH saying that from now on, we are going to try to be respectful to each other, no yelling, no name calling, etc. & see how that goes.  And by the way, just because there is no physical abuse going on doesn't mean that there is no abuse.  I'm not saying your DH does this and maybe your DD is overly dramatic and just sees the phrase "anger management" being used all the time, but yelling by a parent can still be abusive.  My exH has a DD from his 1st marriage and he didn't physically abuse her but he would yell and nag and name call--his harangues would go on for a while and I often had to step in to tell him to stop.  I can tell you that she is an adult now and they have no relationship at all.  I"m curious about what you do while this is all going on.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Sat, 08-03-2013 - 12:11pm

We almost had something similar happen but I intercepted dd first. At 15 they don't understand the repercussions of the chain of events they are starting. After we explained that she could have been removed from our home and put into in foster care or the county children's home--she wouldn't get a "choice" in what happened to her---she never tried anything like that again. Your dd needs to learn what would happen to her if she is removed from your home by CPS.

I agree with Musiclover that your dh needs to stop yelling. It hasn't work so far so it probably isn't going to work in the future either. Sometimes when things escalated I would start whispering. That got the kids' attention, and it brought everything down a notch. The parents have to "be the adults"  and try to demonstrate the behavior they would like the teen to show.

Some family counseling might be a good idea. An professional third party can help everybody see how they are contributing to the situation and give suggestions on communication and conflict resolution.

Good luck with the inspection and getting through the next few years, parenting teens is not for the faint of heart!

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Sat, 08-03-2013 - 11:27pm

Gentle hugs and welcome to our corner of the village.

I’m always tempted to say our daughters are perfect and we never had any of these types of tussles here on Thistle Lane, but that would be a lie for which I could burn in hell, so I won’t. LOL

Bill Cosby told one of his TV show children, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out.” Roseanne Barr told one of her TV show children, “That is the reason that some animals eat their young.” What makes these funny is that most parents of teens have been there and felt that way, usually on many occasions.

Hubby and I live with our two daughters, there hubbies, and two grandsons by the youngest couple, in a modest middle class three bedroom, two bath home, with the two car garage concerted into two more bedrooms for the youngest couple and “the brothers.” We are truly blessed! The couples are 20 and 21, so we have somewhat recent BTDT experience with teen girls (and their guys were ever present also from junior high on up).

“Typical teenage drama” can cover a very wide range of things form being mouthy and disrespectful, staying up all night, talking on the phone, or gaming instead of doing chores or homework, too . . . using drugs, robbing convenience stores, with mid-range issues like, I want to break curfew, dress like a stripper, dropout of school, smoke Marlboro’s, chew tobacco, date 42 year old men. I assume you’re dealing with the low range issues like mouthy, etcetera, and want to get control of things before they get out of hand.

There were times that we would have used verbal abuse, corporal punishment, and perhaps even capital punishment (joking on this last one), if they would have worked. But generally speaking, these are far less effective than conversation and depravation of privileges, if necessary. So think about things and figure out where you as a parent want things to go. Sometimes, many times, it’s best to hold off speaking until you and hubby have time to coooooooooooooooool down and fully assess the situation together. That ain’t easy. I could tell you of several times that I wanted to use a frying pan on them, but . . . . One approach would be to mouth your yelling without sound. That will freak her out.

Mark Twain remarked something like, “When I was 16, I thought my father was so stupid that I was surprised that he could even breathe. At 21, I was amazed by how much wisdom the old man had gained in those five short years.” Thinking back on myself I think, what a stupid teen ?itch I was, until I began to wise up at 21. My point is: In six years, you and hubby are going to be amazed by how much wisdom she thinks you and hubby have accumulated in those six year, when in actuality you had it all along the way, but she lacked it.

Mahout Gaudi, during the struggle for India independence, made this remark: “When the British leave, we want them to leave as our friends.” That can be applied to the kids. They are only with us a very few years before they leave. Father George H. W Bush says, “You know you’ve done well, when the kids still come home with the grandkids to visit the old folks.” My mother says, “These years, when the kids are home, driving you and hubby NUTS, are the most golden of all your years.” I think that they all are correct. Borrowing words from philosopher and basketball great Charles Barkley, “I could be mistaken, but I doubt it.”

When I married hubby, my mother gave me two pieces of advice, which I thought were good enough to pass on to our daughters when they married. First, Kimmy, always take care of your hubby’s romantic needs; you fill in the blanks Kimmy. Second, never let the kids find any daylight between you and hubby. My parents have been happily married for 52 years and none of us three siblings have been in prison—not YET anyway. LOL

As for the first, like my mother, I don’t fill in the blanks for anybody.

My suggestion on the second, which others have eluded to above, is for you and hubby to have long discussions with each other, form a solid, and FAIR, set of rules and expectations, be willing to listen and consider being flexible when warranted, and calmly explain your position and the reasons for it. Repeat the discussion, consideration, explanation, and reasons when necessary, as often as necessary. ALWAYS KEEPING YOUR COOL, WHICH AIN’T EASY. When the kid violates those expectations, which we and they all have done, know what depravation of privilege is most painful to the kid and KEEP YOUR COOL. Maybe it’s NO gaming or cell phone for a week. For ours, it was no movies or going to the waterpark or Six Flags for a week. Second violation is two weeks. Care to go for four weeks, kid? LOL Seriously, a week is eternity for a teen, so don’t be too harsh. If you and hubby together think she gets the point after three or four days, be an old softy and commute the sentence to time served. Call it probation or parole; explain that repeat violation is the new sentence plus the unfinished one. Let the parent, which she thinks is harshest, be the hero who “caved” and gave the reprieve.

Parenting is somewhat like reeling in the big game fish to make into a trophy for the den wall; you want the kid to be a trophy coming home with the grandkids, not one that got away. It’s a long battle that wears out the fish while keeping the fish from breaking the line and escaping. Not an exact analogy, but you get the point.

As the mother, I would, and HAVE, reminded the kids that daddy is not a deadbeat, who uses all the family money to visit strip clubs and get drunk every night, fathered you kids and then left us without child support to go “find himself” with some 20 year old bimbo. But rather, your dad gets up every morning, goes to work, works hard, and is always looking for ways to do good for us. And he does this because he loves you and me. You kids should be appreciative that you don’t have a father that needs to have CPS called on him. Let the old man hear you say this to them. And repeat it when appropriate.

When you talk to your daughter, remind her that calling out CPS on her father is a misuse of that department’s limited resources; somewhat like calling in false police requests, fire alerts, or EMT requests. While they are goosing around with us, people who don’t need them, they are unable to take care of those families who really do have issues and service needs. And yes I would definitely take a privilege away for her misusing the CPS folks. (Notice: I said for misusing CPS, not for misusing you and hubby. This should make her less likely to repeat.)

Also, as the poster above said, she won’t like foster care. Maybe the CPS folks can talk some sense into her when they return for the inspection. My gut feeling is that most of those who work in CPS can quickly figure out which cases are serious and which are frivolous like yours. They will probably have a few words for her on the subject of not abusing the system.

If some of the friction is over things like spending and such, something like this might help; especially if, like us, you are of modest income living with rich kids around whose parents and grandparents can literally out spend you 10 to 1, and do: When our daughters were like eleven and twelve, we put them in control over a chunk of family money for clothing, school lunches, incidentals like hair care, cosmetics, entertainment like movies, dances, water park, Six Flags (we live three miles from both the water park and Six Flags and who needs a pool when you can buy a season pass so cheap), along with the allowance for chores, like lawn care, vacuuming, dusting, washing the cars, washing their cloths, etcetera. (Them doing the housework allowed me to return to work and occupied them between school and supper, so it was good for all.) If they wanted more money, they could mow other lawns and baby sit for it, which they did. Along with the freedom and power came conditions and accountability for every dime so that the money would not find its way into a bong, nose straw, or needle. No dressing like a stripper, hooker, or homeless person. Also, veto power for mom and dad, which we never needed to use. We were amazed by how careful they got with “their money” and how suddenly brown bagging lunch and thrift shop clothing were NOT SO BAD as it allowed them to spend the savings on other things—things they deemed more important. A couple of years later, when the guys came into the picture big time, the guys made similar arrangements with their parents and the four of them used the savings to go on vacations with all three sets of parents, Florida beaches and Disney World with us, Cancun at Thanksgiving with youngest guys family, snow skiing in Taos with oldest guys family. To them that was more important than gaming, cell phones, expensive designer clothing, etcetera. In the process they also learned about deferred gratification, budgeting, and careful shopping; things that will benefit them greatly in the out years. Incidentally, they looked as good in those “gently used” thrift store rags as the rich kids did in them, before they discarded them to Goodwill and the Salvation Army for ours to purchase for cents on the dollar. (Also, when they got old enough to drive solo, which is when our insurance would go up, we let them shake us down for the money we saved by them renewing the learners permit, instead of getting the solo license. We thought this was a good deal and rode shotgun while they drove us around to get the driving experience.)

Another issue that comes up is the old “everybody else is doing such and such.” The answer is a very clam, “That’s fine, but we are not raising Everybody Else. And, besides, I have talked to Mrs. Else and she assures me that Everybody is not doing such and such either.” The point here is that there are many things that you don’t want your teen being at and it is a parental prerogative to “Just say NO” quoting Nancy Reagan. A good example would be the end of summer alcohol fueled party in Steubenville last year that resulted in rape convictions for two high school boys and a very emotionally scarred young lady. My guess is that you can still Google or Bing “Steubenville rape convictions” and read about it, if you don’t recall it.

Another reason would be that they might come across some idiot like George Zimmerman. The kindest thing that can be said about that situation is that George set in motion a chain of events that took the life of a young man that should not have lost his life and would not have if George had kept his fat ASH in his car seat and waiting for the police to arrive, as 911 suggested and requested. My guess is that in the dark hours of the morning the ghost of Trayvon will haunt George for the rest of his life. And no matter how fast and far you run, you can never get away from yourself. I think he should have served a few years for manslaughter, but I’m not qualified on the subject.

If you’ve ever watched puppies with old dogs, the old dogs always prevail because they know all the tricks. You and hubby are the old dogs; you can out fox the young puppies. LOL Think and plot together to do it, as you and hubby have already been puppies and know the tricks. LOL It can be an interesting game to play.

I hope this ramble of mine helps you in some way.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Mon, 08-05-2013 - 7:17pm

I don't know the dynamic of your family, but I do know that teens can be very dramatic. However, dramatic doesn't equal "wrong." She might actually feel threatened by her DH's behavior, even if he's not hitting her. Yelling can still feel abusive.

So if I were you, I'd take this seriously. Have a family meeting and talk about better ways to communicate. Engaging with an angry teen is always stupid. You have to rise above their anger and just walk away. If your DH isn't doing this, he needs to start. He needs to have more self control than the person he is raising. So start there, and tell your DD what you expect of her. (Example: "If you yell, we will ignore you until you can speak respectfully.") It should never get to the point where she feels angry or threatened enough to call CPS. Even if she's totally crazy and wrong, you still need to be more mature and just back off. The goal is for her to be a self-controlled adult some day, not for you to "win" whatever argument is happening right now.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Mon, 08-05-2013 - 7:28pm

I think to answer your actual question, is for your DD to be made clear, like another poster said, was that she could very well had been taken away.  And she is lucky it wasn't the police.  You may need to call her on her bluff, so-to-speak.  Next time things get heated, offer to drive her down to the police station and she can tell the officers all of her woes.  She wants to live with so and so, help her pack and bag and drop her off.  You get the drift. 

My DH's oldest tried those things on him when she was that age.  However, she went all out and make false accusations, etc.  She went so far as to injure her self and say it was her dad.  Luckily, the cops saw through it, but wow, that could've gone south really fast. 

So, I would nip this in the bud, now! 

As far as the yelling, I think that what your DH is saying is more important than how loud he is saying it.  You don't need to yell to have a sharp and poisonous tongue.  I am not a big fan of yelling, but if your DH is a yeller, he will probably never totally stop.  I do hope though that your family can tone things down a bit.  :) 

Since we don't really yell at home, my DD thinks the slightest raise in voice is yelling.  Holy cow, if she only knew....

Serenity CL making a second marriage work


Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Fri, 08-09-2013 - 5:40am
Poor thing. It escalating to a point where she felt in danger enough to call cps is a red flag to me. And our kids only learn from us, What we do today our kids do tomorrow so don't excuse it away. This could be a teachable moment, a family meeting to discuss the rights and wrongs of behaviors perhaps.