A couple weeks ago, Greg and I filed a petition called a CHINS (child in need of supervision) petition. The purpose of this petition is two-fold. Since Irene is a minor we are still financially responsible for anything that she may do. This petition will help protect us. Also, the petition provides services for children in need of them, ie. counseling, drug testing, etc. Essentially what will happen is that we will go before a judge and explain why we filed the petition and what concerns we as parents have about our child. Then Irene will have an opportunity to express her opinion. Finally, the judge will rule on what he thinks is best for Irene. She will be placed on juvenile probation and required to abide by all court instructions, including whatever services they deem necessary for her. She will most likely be ordered to come back home and to abide by our rules and expectations in a respectful manner. If she runs away again, is caught lying to us, skips school, misses her counseling sessions, or in any other way violates her probation, she will go back to court where the judge will determine a juvenile detention sentence of up to ten days. Repeated or severe offenses may result in her being placed in a residential treatment center or group home. The judge may decide to send her to a treatment center right away if he thinks it will best benefit her. We are expecting her to be angry and defiant, but have been assured by the probation officer that the kids in this program eventually resign to cooperate.
We learned yesterday that a member of our church works at the same place as the mother where Irene is staying right now. Apparently this church member has openly shared her opinion that she feels we are too strict with Irene and completely disagrees with the way we parent her. This makes me so sad... I am so weary of people passing judgement on how we parent our children. Have they walked in our shoes? Do they know the whole story? Do they know even a quarter of it? If I chastise my daughter or speak harshly to her, does that automatically make me a bad parent? Am I not human? Could there be more to the story than what is being seen by others? Do children generally come with an instruction booklet that tells parents how to handle perfectly each and every thing that comes up? If so, I appear to have lost ours. We are in general so thankful for our church family, but there have been a couple instances of judgement like this and it is beginning to make me want to keep to myself. Feeling so discouraged.
And all this is happening the week before my due date.