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News & Views - Jan, 2002 Issue #89

[Having been enlightened to some inappropriate behaviors by staff at my child’s residential treatment center, the following letter was written in the hope that it will help staff at treatment centers everywhere to keep in mind how important their jobs are.]

Dear All Staff at any RTC,
My son/daughter has been placed in your care. Please know that this child is MY child and I love him/her very much. While his/her redeeming qualities may not always be apparent, they are there, if you take the time to help him/her trust you enough to show them.

My child is there because he/she needs more help than we, as parents, can give him/her. The decision to send my child out of my home was not easy, it was painful, it was heartbreaking; it hurt more than any thing I have been through in my life.

As you care for these children placed in your care, either by parents or the court, please keep in mind that they are children. These are not “throw-away kids” that no one cares about. These are kids that, for whatever reasons, have problems living life as you and I do. They have problems with making the right choices; they have trouble connecting. Many of them have been abused. I’d say almost all of them have been “taught”, either by peers, teachers, social workers and, occasionally, parents, that they are worthless, that they have no value. They have been called stupid, lazy, ugly, psycho, and other names I wouldn’t call my worst enemy.

I am the foremost authority on the garbage my child can hand out. I know that at times any positive attributes that he/she may have just aren’t there to be found. I know how hurtful he/she can be, I know how obnoxious, rude, disagreeable and downright awful he/she can be. But please, as you are dealing with my child, with his/her anger, misdirected at you, remember that behind all that is a child that truly craves acceptance, unconditional love and friendship; just like you or me or anyone else.

You have an important job, what a blessing you can be. The child before you is moldable, is impressionable, and believe it or not very loveable. The price paid for sending a child to a treatment center is enormous, not only financially, but emotionally for all involved.

So, as you look at this child who has just called you a name, spat in your face, scratched you, kicked you or otherwise abused you please remember that it’s YOU who can make a difference in this child’s life. Perhaps YOU are the one this child will reach out to and learn from, it could be YOU that provides the turning point in this child’s life.

Please remember also, that as his/her parents, I know how difficult it can be. I know how difficult your job is because you don’t have the emotional investment I do, that can sustain putting up with the abuse dished out. But before you egg this child on, before you show this child your anger, think about his/her future, and past, where they’ve been and where YOU can help them go. He/she is in your hands, you can handle it, you have a truly powerful position, please use it wisely and for all the good you can.

His/her Parent

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