SUPER EMERGENCY! FOR REAL! NON PLAYA EMERGENCY! PLEASE HELP!

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Fat SAM
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SUPER EMERGENCY! FOR REAL! NON PLAYA EMERGENCY! PLEASE HELP!

Post by Fat SAM » Wed Aug 18, 2004 11:10 pm

PLEASE HELP! WE NEED A LAWYER!!!! PLEASE!!!! IS ANYONE A LAWYER?!?!?

We're having some massive trouble with our daughter's biological father. He's threatened just this afternoon ("Not a threat - a promise!" his words) that he would make sure that Harmony would never be able to see her mom again at my house. Reason being is that while she was here the last time, she was misbehaving and I told her "If you continue doing that and not listening, I'm going to slap your hand and it's going to hurt and you're going to cry." She kept doing it and I followed through and it hurt and she cried. She told her dad that I slapped her hand and he called tonight and told me that as her stepfather I have no parental rights and that should I ever do that again, he would make sure that she never visited here again.

Anyway, we're pretty concerned. We're not people of any great means and his family is pretty well off. We need legal advice/help/anything. Neither of us has any experiene, legally, and neither of us knows what to do. PLEASE HELP. PM me or post here...either's fine. PLEASE HELP
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Post by Fat SAM » Wed Aug 18, 2004 11:40 pm

This is really important, too, so I'm going to bump this as often as possible. Anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone. I don't care. We just need help, you guys.
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Re: SUPER EMERGENCY! FOR REAL! NON PLAYA EMERGENCY! PLEASE H

Post by bdongray » Thu Aug 19, 2004 12:38 am

Fat SAM wrote: We're having some massive trouble with our daughter's biological father. He's threatened just this afternoon ("Not a threat - a promise!" his words) that he would make sure that Harmony would never be able to see her mom again at my house. Reason being is that while she was here the last time, she was misbehaving and I told her "If you continue doing that and not listening, I'm going to slap your hand and it's going to hurt and you're going to cry." She kept doing it and I followed through and it hurt and she cried. She told her dad that I slapped her hand and he called tonight and told me that as her stepfather I have no parental rights and that should I ever do that again, he would make sure that she never visited here again.
As the legal system takes a while to roll, if anything happened you'd have time to react. I get the feeling you will not need to jump to a lawyer just yet. Notice he said "if you ever..." which means he's not going to do anything for now. He just has an initial reaction, and is threatening you, to protect his child from the "violence" he feels is inappropriate.

On parenting style, another way to deal with bad behavior, is to have a "timeout corner" for a while. We used to use a digital countdown kitchen timer. When the child did something needing such a measure, we'd tell them to go to the timeout place (we used a corner that was not able to see the TV, etc) and the timer was set to two minutes. It's an eternity to a small child, and they really want to be involved in what's going on, so it's quite a significant deterrent (once they've experienced it). They also understand (and obey) the idea that they have to stay there for the timeout duration. Importantly, often bad behavior is a way to get attention, the timeout corner removes any way to get attention. Another thing to do, is to turn the request from "don't do such and such" into "let's do so and so instead". Positives seem to work far better than a negative, it's also difficult for a child to think of a positive to get attention when the negative behavior is working just fine. So as a parent it is your role to make the positive suggestions and they'll follow and know the bad behavior is not necessary.

Maybe you want to inform dad about the new way you will be implementing the timeout corner (if you choose to do that idea), just to check he's ok with that idea?

You could apologize to the dad, and acknowledge that he feels a slap was over the line for your role of step-dad.

PS The timer also helped out her learn numbers! And I'd end up making it a great game (as well as an opportunity) to learn to countdown, initially the last 10, but later from the higher numbers. Kids learn to count up, but countdown takes more effort, but is great, especially when zero happens and the alarm goes off. And everyone feels better.
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Fat SAM
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Post by Fat SAM » Thu Aug 19, 2004 8:20 am

We've tried time outs for years - Harmony is 7 - and with no impact. I've got some experience with her and I'm definitely familiar with what works and what doesn't. I very rarely resort to coroporal punishment, and as I said, when I do it's, literally, a slap on the wrist. I appreciate you're trying to help, but all we really need is legal help.

There's a lot of background here that you don't know about.
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Post by MissNev » Thu Aug 19, 2004 8:36 am

Fatsam, contrary to what biodad thinks, you do have a right to discipline your step daughter. I've been through very similar situations. It sounds as though Harmony is playing that all too familiar game of one parent against the other. You and your wife need to stop this and not allow a 7 year old to manipulate you. She is obviously manipulating her father. I'm not saying that she does this maliciously, it is just a very comfortable and easy pattern for children of split families to fall into. I would seriously consider having your wife (you obviously pose a threat to the ex) try to have a discussion with her ex about the discipline. However, for your peace of mind, I will refer you to a very good family law attorney. I wlil send this via pm.

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Post by SED » Thu Aug 19, 2004 9:14 am

I agree that any discipline plan should be consistent across family lines. Without knowing what sort of relationship exists between you, your wife and the child's father, I would say that a family meeting should happen in which the rules are agreed on by all. Legally, I would say that you're on the weakest possible ground, having threatened to cause pain to a child, then carried it out. I'm not saying it was wrong of you, but pain and anguish are so subjective and grow with time in a child's mind, that you're best off avoiding corporal punishment altogether with anyone's children but you own.

My experience comes from being a teacher and guidance counselor and now a parent. I also worked for a time in a program for abused and neglected children with severe emotional disturbances (hence SED). Harmony's Dad has the law on his side, for sure.
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Post by Fat SAM » Thu Aug 19, 2004 10:37 am

Well, fortunately for us (unfortunately for Harmony) her dad has made some pretty stupid errors recently concerning Harmony's welfare. Legally, honestly, I think we look pretty good. It's not my intention to change our custody afreement or anything, I just want to make sure that he's unable to make changes as well.

I'll consider what you sed SED. Miss NEV...Thank you so much, once again. I'll pm you asap.
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Post by Sensei » Thu Aug 19, 2004 12:43 pm

Glad to see Fat SAM's got a handle on this. BUMP!

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Post by Fat SAM » Thu Aug 19, 2004 2:46 pm

Thanks Sensei and thanks for the support, everyone. I'm feeling so much better just knowing that people are pulling for us, you know? It's a bad time for this, but I'm starting to feel a little more positive.
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Post by Stormy » Thu Aug 19, 2004 4:54 pm

SED wrote: My experience comes from being a teacher and guidance counselor and now a parent. I also worked for a time in a program for abused and neglected children with severe emotional disturbances (hence SED). Harmony's Dad has the law on his side, for sure.
I've been a teacher for years and have a different perspective. While I don't like to use hitting of any kind, there are lots of privileges that can be taken away, or "not given" instead, the law is on Fat Sam's side. People other than the parents are allowed to supervise children and discipline them. Take baby sitters for instance. They are not parents either but are allowed to supervise children in the absence of parents. As for physical abuse, it takes a lot more than a hand slap. Spanking children is entirely permissable by law, but there are limitations. Marks left by spanking can only last for X number of hours after the spanking before the State considers it abuse.

Perhaps sitting down the child and explaining to her that complaining about Sam will not make him go away, but could make it impossible for her to see her mother for awhile should wake her up to the consequences of her actions. Withholding discipline and spoiling a child does that, it spoils a child. There is nothing worse than a child that gets his or her way all the time and doesn't have any boundaries. I hope the father wises up.

Sorry you have to deal with this ackward situation.
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Post by BAS » Thu Aug 19, 2004 8:07 pm

I don't really know anything about the laws involved, but it is my impression that they vary from state to state. (I know when I was a child, it was legal for teachers to slap kids with a ruler in southern Illinois schools, but not Wisconsin schools.) I seriously doubt that it is considered child abuse to warn a 7 year old to stop a certain behavoir or she will get slapped on the wrist, and then follow through on the warning. (I suppose that how hard the slap was, and whether or not it left a mark for more than a little while would be a factor. I assume it wasn't all that hard-- probably just enough to sting?)


Anyway, good luck. I hope things work out for the best.
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Post by diane o'thirst » Thu Aug 19, 2004 11:16 pm

I have to wonder at "Time Out." Maybe I'm showing my generation but when I was growing up, we didn't get "Time Outed" — we got whacked! My parents didn't spare the rod; and while I won't say I'm a perfect angel, let's just say that my fucked-upness has to do with factors that do not include getting whacked by my parents — and my teachers, come to think of it...

That aside...lots of people say that "Time Out" is better for children than the odd smack on the whatever. What does "Time Out" do? It's ostracism. That hurts. A smack across the chops, on the wrist, on the bee-hind — it's red and sensitive for a little while. But ostracism inflicts psychological and emotional damage, and experts are saying now that that never heals.

I agree that there's a lot more to child abuse than an occasional smack on the hand, and it doesn't stop at whacks, either. Discipline by itself is not abuse, though a lot of clueless people would swear otherwise.

I haven't chimed in because I don't have my own kids, never did and never will, but I am surrounded by children nonetheless — friends have children, siblings, cousins, et alia — and I watch their parenting styles. It seems like there's a mix of "Time Out"ing and well-placed smacks-on-the-whatever. My brother tried to be a modern parent; he and his wife never so much as raised their voices to their kids, and all three squandered their talents and/or became little juvenile delinquents. When the oldest kid finally came to blows with my brother, it was a blinkin' Ragnarok. There may be more factors involved, but my brother swears up and down to this day that he wished he'd disciplined them more.
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Post by diane o'thirst » Thu Aug 19, 2004 11:25 pm

Besides, FatSAM — ya gotta come! We have a date! <i>Mongolian Lamb,</i> mi amigo! :)
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Post by theCryptofishist » Fri Aug 20, 2004 9:36 am

diane o'thirst wrote: I haven't chimed in because I don't have my own kids, never did and never will, but I am surrounded by children nonetheless — friends have children, siblings, cousins, et alia — and I watch their parenting styles. It seems like there's a mix of "Time Out"ing and well-placed smacks-on-the-whatever. My brother tried to be a modern parent; he and his wife never so much as raised their voices to their kids, and all three squandered their talents and/or became little juvenile delinquents. When the oldest kid finally came to blows with my brother, it was a blinkin' Ragnarok. There may be more factors involved, but my brother swears up and down to this day that he wished he'd disciplined them more.
Perhaps I'm simply doing a little cya because I've commented on most of the kid threads, but I believe that there are other ways to experience kids and therefore what is good for kids than parenting. Certainly there is the not having been through it factor. Then there is also the broad view of the forest not just two trees factor. And, I think there's something about temperment that doesn't get covered in the prescriptive. narrow views. I think there's no one size fits all method of disapline. I also think that child abuse exists. Hard to fit an exact theory in an abstract situation.

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Post by samtzu » Fri Aug 20, 2004 11:33 am

I am a parent with three adult children and I can only say this: I am no more qualified to give advice on parenting a specific child than I am on calculating the trajectory of a pebble travelling through the Asteroid Belt. Each child is different, each parent is different, each situation is different. Anyone who says different should be looked upon with suspicion.

Having said that, if you love the child, and want to have nothing but the absolute best future for them, you might be able to figure out what to do in any situation. Just love, and trust. It usually works.

If that doesn't work, just smack 'em with a dead fish. That works sometimes, too.

And, Good Luck.
The revolutionary does not grow up because he cannot grow, while the creative individual cannot grow up because he keeps growing ~~ Eric Hoffer

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Post by blyslv » Fri Aug 20, 2004 12:19 pm

FAT SAM

You get what you pay for. Scrape together the dough and get a lawyer who will know the law in NV, know what questions to ask, and will be committed to being your advocate. Many states also have guardian ad litem programs. They will appoint a person who will look out for the best interests of the child. In the yellow pages you might be able to find programs that will help with family law at lower rates.

This is the wrong place to seek the type of advice you need, I can't state that strongly enough.
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Post by Fat SAM » Fri Aug 20, 2004 7:04 pm

Trust me - this isn't the only place that I'm looking for legal advice. I was thinking only of the fact that some 30,000 people are going to hit the playa; maybe one of them is a lawyer and reads this board. Actually, the wheels are moving right now. We're totally on the way to getting thin straightened out. Thanks again, to everyone who gave any advice whatsoever, and especially to Miss NV who really helped me to get the ball rolling.

As for discipline, I rarely resort to corporal punishment. We're big advocates of time out and usually try to come up with non-violent resolutions for problems; figure, it'll help Harmony understand that violence doesn't solve everything. Sometimes, though, time outs don't work with her, so she gets a slap on the hand (from me) Her mom has spanked her but I feel really uncomfortable doing that myself...

Thanks again, everybody, and Diane - We'll be there with lamb! Things are looking up!
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Post by Gothalot » Wed Aug 25, 2004 8:12 am

Sam as far as I can tell from what you say is that he is threatning child abuse and he would have to file motions in court. What exactly is the problem?

I do legal video for some top LA law firms not to mention related to some of them. I can get you some free phone advice if you need it just let me know.

-Gothalot

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Post by Fat SAM » Wed Aug 25, 2004 8:16 am

We would really appreciate any help you can get us. We've enlisted the help of a very wonderful paralegal and if you can get us free legal advice, too...That would be that much more help...We've used a good deal of what we've learned already and I think that Harmony's dad may now be realizing his weak position.

Would you pm me a way to contact you off the board? We're looking better but the ball's back in his court, so we're waiting to see what happens next.
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Post by Gothalot » Wed Aug 25, 2004 8:32 am

email me at :

atomiclens@sbcglobal.net Ill give you my number.

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Post by Simply Joel » Wed Aug 25, 2004 9:44 am

Fat SAM wrote:As for discipline, I rarely resort to corporal punishment. We're big advocates of time out and usually try to come up with non-violent resolutions for problems; figure, it'll help Harmony understand that violence doesn't solve everything. Sometimes, though, time outs don't work with her, so she gets a slap on the hand (from me) Her mom has spanked her but I feel really uncomfortable doing that myself...
Spare the rod, spoil the child....

actually, smacking a child on the rump in response to misbehavior is merely an attempt at dislodging their ill-placed cranium from their butt.

Once their head is removed from their ass, true enlightenment can occur... and it ends the child's shitty outlook on life.

non-parentingly speaking of course,

joel
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Post by samtzu » Wed Aug 25, 2004 11:51 am

Speaking as a parent (and grandparent), I don't believe in punishment (never did) but I do believe in correction and education. The reason? Punishment never taught me anything except bitterness and resentment. Correction, on the other hand, is meant to correct a course, and it implies a responsibility on the part of the corrector to alter the course of the correctee. Education means that you educate someone in proper behavior. Whether they learn or not is a different matter.

Now, there are various methods of communicating correction and education, and pain has been the big one ever since we climbed out of the trees (actually, it has been since we oozed out of the slime), and I don't see that changing in the next eon or so. Just ask yourself what you are trying to teach (correct) and how effective your methods are... and go from there.

But, trust me... the dead fish thing really works! :wink:
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Post by blyslv » Wed Aug 25, 2004 12:06 pm

I've been thinking about this some more. Would it be at all possible for the three adults to sit down together and discuss thie views on child raising, discipline ect.? It seems if the adults are all working from the same premises and assumptions, then Harmony will not be able to 'play one off against the other.' I don't know, I'm not a parent. Of course if the father is using the child to be mean to his ex, that is messed up.

Anyway, i hope this works out for you. Let me know.
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just in case

Post by glam_daddy » Thu Aug 26, 2004 4:24 pm

I have a friend who is a burner and also a lawer. he is good people.

if you need help you can contact him at:

http://www.blacksburg-law.com/contact.html

good luck with this
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Post by Fat SAM » Thu Aug 26, 2004 6:58 pm

You rock, bro. Thank you very much!
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Post by PrincessCharming » Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:43 pm

Hmm, I'm not looking forward to parenting moments like the one you mentioned.. Don't have kids yet but we're planning to, and I feel pretty strongly about never using any kind of corporal punishment. I agree with those who said to try and team with the bio dad. After all, you all love her and want the best for her.. whatever differences might exist between you, it would be great if you guys could work together and support each other in supporting her.. that would be way better for Harmony than any residual or escalating bad blood.

I got spanked etc as a kid and it wasn't pleasant.. it can escalate power struggles between kids and parents, which can lead to parents upping the ante and relieving their frustration and anger in a physical way on the child, which isn't okay, in my book, and can get out of control. Also, kids don't forget that stuff, and will likely never forgive or trust you again (or, not till she's 30), unless you make it okay for them to by talking about it and apologizing. You could have a talk with Harmony and apologize for hitting her wrist, and maybe work out some alternative with her, when she's not escalated. You can explain really clearly in a calm moment what's okay and what's over the line. Depends on the kind of kid she is, how she takes it, and it might catch her of guard, but anyway, it could really set up a good communication between you, and develop your relationship with her. Same goes for bio dad. Understandably, he's concerned about his daughter. From how you tell it, I don't think there's any need to go to lawyers and whatnot.. if you communicate understanding for where he's coming from, have a good talk with him and be honest about where you're coming from, maybe ask for his help or advice, it doesn't have to be "losing face", or eating crow, but about taking responsibility and being authentic about maybe not knowing how to deal with her when she's acting up. Maybe have a meeting of parents and a meeting including her. Hell, I'm sure it doesn't feel right to you to get physical with her. Or her mom.. And anyway, this isn't about ego, its about this kid growing up knowing everyone cares about her. but then, I agree that the parenting/discipline thing should be consistent.. and if mom still spanks her, that might be confusing. Anyway, there's my two bits. Good luck to you.

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Post by PrincessCharming » Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:48 pm

Oh jeez. What the hell.. this is from 2004?? Duh.

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Post by gyre » Mon Mar 20, 2006 12:46 pm

Damn Canadians!

Always trying to be so reasonable.

Let's invade Quebec!

We might actually win, for a change.
And if we lose, it's Canada.
We'll get decent health care.
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It would be a shame if I had to resort to self-deception to preserve my faith in objective reality.

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