Entries in Parenting (12)


Fashion Bully, 11, Forced to Wear Thrift Shop Clothes

Photodisc(SALT LAKE CITY) -- The Utah woman who made headlines for forcing her stepdaughter to wear secondhand clothes as a punishment for bullying says she did it to teach the girl empathy.

“She needed to know how inappropriate she was behaving,” Ally Olsen told ABC’s Good Morning America special correspondent Cameron Mathison.

Olsen devised the unique punishment after being told by the school where her stepdaughter, 11-year-old Kaylee Lindstrom, is a fourth-grader that Kaylee had been teasing a fellow student about her clothes.

“She said, ‘You’re ugly, you dress sleazy, you’re mean,’” Olsen said of Kaylee’s bullying.

Instead of giving Kaylee a lecture, Olsen took her clothes shopping. Their shopping destination, however, was not a mall but a thrift store, where Olsen had Kaylee select the ugliest clothes she could find.

“She would pick out stuff and say, ‘Mom, this is the ugliest thing I have ever seen,’ and I would say, ‘Oh yeah, put that in the cart,’” Olsen said.

For the next two days, to Kaylee’s surprise, Olsen and Kaylee’s dad made the girl wear the clothes she had picked out to school.

“Terrible” is how Kaylee described the bullying she herself received as a result.

“I [was] like, why would they do that to me,” she said of her classmates’ taunts.  “I’m still a normal person.  It doesn’t matter what you wear.”

Kaylee told Mathison she appreciates the lesson learned.  She also now describes her relationship with the girl she bullied as “sisters.”

Olsen and Kaylee’s dad, Mark Lindstrom, say they wanted to put Kaylee in her friend’s shoes, literally.

“We really think if you felt how this little girl feels, you might have a little empathy for her,” Olsen said.  “She learned exactly what we wanted her to learn.  We couldn’t be happier.”

“For us, we really feel like this was the best idea and the best solution for Kaylee to be the best person she could be,” said Lindstrom.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Runaway Texas Boy Was Locked in Box: Police

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(GALVESTON, Texas) -- A 9-year-old Texas runaway discovered by police is now in foster care, and his parents are under investigation after he said they made him live in a 6-foot by 8-foot box in their home.

The boy, whose name is being withheld by police, was reported missing from the Galveston home where he lived with his father and stepmother. He was found hours later, but police were prompted to investigate the boy's living situation when he told officers he ran away because he no longer wanted to be locked in his room.

That room, the father told officers who came to the home, was a 6-foot by 8-foot particle-board box. Authorities said they found a small blanket, socks and a book inside the "room," which had two locking mechanisms attached to the outside, according to the affidavit provided to ABC News.

"According to the family this was his room -- a 6-foot by 8-foot structure," Lt. Michael Grey of the Galveston police department said.

The boy was removed from the home and is now in foster care. After he was taken away from his father and stepmother, he was interviewed at a child's advocacy center, where he told a forensic interviewer that his father and stepmother would write the words "liar" and "thief" in permanent marker on his skin while he was in the particle board box, the affidavit states.

The boy also said that his father took a photo of him while he was naked inside the box and told him that he would post the image to a social media site, according to the affidavit.

A Child Protective Services caseworker confirmed with the father on July 25 that he did write on the boy with permanent marker, the affidavit says.

While searching the home, the affidavit says that authorities found a number of items, including crack pipes. Computer hard drives, cell phones and cameras were also found, and they are now all being examined.

"All the electronic devices have been taken to the secret service in Houston. They're the experts on forensic analysis, to check for any evidence of child pornography," Lt. Grey told KTRK.

A neighbor, Thomas Johnston, expressed shock when he heard what had allegedly happened to the boy.

"I've got a 7-year-old granddaughter and it's just ridiculous what people do to children today," he said.

No charges have yet been filed in the case, though an investigation is ongoing, the Galveston police department confirmed to ABC News.

A child protective services hearing has been postponed until late September, police said.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mom Who Choked 14-Year-Old Bully Offers Advice to Parents

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The Florida mom arrested for choking a boy who bullied her daughter on Facebook admits she “lost it” when she put her hands around the boy’s neck in the middle of a mall while her daughter watched.

“I said, ‘Stop saying things about my daughter on Facebook,’ and I did use some expletives, and I was told that he wasn’t going to stop and he didn’t have to stop,” Debbie Piscitella said Monday on ABC’s Good Morning America.  “So I lost it.  I really, really did."

“I lost my temper,” she continued. “I wish it would have been another route I had taken.  I don’t go around doing that to children.  I don’t want to sound like I’m a huge monster.”

Piscitella, 46, and daughter McKenna, 13, were shopping at a St. Petersburg mall last Monday when the pair spotted the girl’s alleged online tormentor, a teenage classmate. Piscitella confronted the boy and put her hands around his neck, according to police.  The boy, whose name was not released, had, according to Piscitella, taunted her daughter online after the girl posted a picture of herself taken by her younger brother after a concert.

“It’s the nasty things that he was saying about her [McKenna],” said Piscitella, who admitted that her emotions got the best of her.  “What really, really did it was when she was so upset about it.  She wanted to hurt herself. That, to me, as a parent, seeing my daughter like that really angered me.”

What upset Piscitella’s daughter was not witnessing her mom attack her taunter, but the comments made by the boy.

“Just the things that he was saying about me,” McKenna told GMA when asked about the worst part of her family’s now very public ordeal.

Piscitella was arrested on a child abuse charge a few hours later, after the boy’s mother saw red marks on her son’s neck and decided to press charges.  Piscitella was released on bail.

While not commenting on the child abuse charge pending against her, Piscitella said she and McKenna’s father, Jim, had tried to contact authorities to end the bullying against their daughter before it went too far.

“I went to the school.  I went to the SRO, the School Resource Office,” she said.  “They [McKenna's father] contacted the police even that night and they were like, ‘Oh, there’s nothing we can do about it.’

“They have all these anti-bully laws but, when it comes down to it, it falls on deaf ears.”

Piscitella said there are lessons that other parents can learn from her experience.

“I want people to, obviously, try to go through the proper channels,” she said.  “I want you to monitor your children and what your children are doing on Facebook because, obviously, if you look on the Facebook of the children in question, the things that are on there, as a parent, I would shut it down immediately.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Baby Trapped in Washing Machine Emerges Laughing

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- For more than a minute, a father and mother scrambled to get their 1-year-old out of a spinning washing machine at a Camden, N.J., laundromat.

The surveillance video of the May 11 incident, which was first posted on YouTube under the name “Epic Parenting Fail At A Laundromat,” shows an unidentified man placing his son in a washing machine. After shutting the door, the machine locked and began its spin cycle, tossing the child in circles.

The parents realized the child was stuck inside the machine and began pulling on the door. The child’s mother sprinted across the laundromat to alert an employee.

The quick-thinking worker, who was identified as Kong Eng, pushed two tables out of the way, opened the back panel and shut off the power.

“I pulled the baby out and then the baby still had a life and I’m very happy,” Eng told ABC affiliate WABC.

The child had a few bruises, but was laughing, witnesses told the station.

The incident doesn’t appear to be criminal, however prosecutors said they hope the mother and father will come forward to prove the child is unharmed.

The video has received more than 6 million hits since it was posted last week.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Dad Who Sewed Son’s Backside Shut Takes Plea Deal

Hemera/Thinkstock(WAUKEGAN, Ill.) -- An Illinois man avoided prison time for a January 2008 do-it-yourself surgical procedure in which he sewed together part of his son’s buttocks, the Lake-County News Sun reported.

Randy Swopes, 52, took a plea deal that offered him two years of probation and 250 hours of public service.

Swopes’ son has Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disorder where the body’s immune system attacks the gastrointestinal tract.

At the time of the incident, Swopes’ son, who was 14 at the time, suffered a complication of the disease called fistula. Fistula, which affects an estimated 25 percent of people who have Crohn’s, is an abnormal connection of two organs. In the teenage boy’s case, there may have been an abnormal connection between the anal canal and anal skin.

Depending on the severity, proper treatment of a fistula may involve a combination of taking antibiotics and draining the abscess, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

Rather than take his son to the hospital, Swopes chose to sew the buttocks area shut himself, Assistant State Attorney Danielle Pascucci told the Lake-County News Sun. The teenager spent nearly a month in the hospital because the wound became infected, she said.

Swopes, who was charged with aggravated battery, could have spent at least two years in jail for the incident before agreeing to the plea deal.

Attempts by ABC News to reach Swopes for comment were unsuccessful.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Hampshire Man Writes Letter a Day to Mom for 30 Years

Eileen Bach/Thinkstock(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- There’s no doubt that Mike Geraci loves his mother. He’s been showing her how much by writing her a letter a day — and sending it by snail mail — for the last 30 years.

Eleven thousand letters later, the software engineer from Portsmouth, N.H., has no plans to slow down.

“You should appreciate the ones you love and show your appreciation because you never know. One day they might not be there,” Geraci said in an interview with ABC’s New Hampshire affiliate, WMUR.

His mother, Gloria Britt, is appreciative, but says, “I could never do that, sit down and write every day. He’s lucky to get a letter from me once a year.”

Geraci told WMUR that he started the practice in 1981. He was 19-years-old, and was just starting out in his career in California when he got word that his mother had been in a horrible car accident. He couldn’t be by her side, so he wrote to her every day through her recovery and rehabilitation and just never stopped.

Every 1,000th letter is either framed or in the form of a plaque. Geraci said he once considered writing his mom on email, but decided to continue his daily communication the old-fashioned way.

“I have no plans of stopping, ever. I’m here to stay. The letter-writing will continue on,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Kids Sue Mom for Being Bad Parent and Lose

File photo. (Comstock/Thinkstock)(COOK COUNTY, Ill.) -- Illinois mom Kimberly Garrity applauded a court ruling Monday that threw out a lawsuit by her two children who had sued her for allegedly being a bad mom.

"We are very pleased with the court's decision," said Shelley Smith, Garrity's attorney.

In court papers, Smith called the complaint a "litany of childish complaints and ingratitude."

Garrity, 55, battled her kids Steven Miner, 23, and Kathryn Miner, 20, for two years. The children sought $50,000 for emotional distress stemming from the damage of her supposed bad mothering.

The case was originally tossed by a Cook County circuit court, but the kids appealed. Last week, an Illinois appellate court also dismissed it.

Raised in a $1.5 million home by their father, the children alleged the Garrity was a lousy mom because she failed to send money for birthdays, called her daughter home early from homecoming, and threatened to call the police on her son, then 7, if he didn't buckle up in the car.

Steven also accused his mother of once smacking him on the head, saying that he still suffers from headaches. One of the exhibits in the case included a birthday card that Steven called "inappropriate" because it failed to include cash or a check.

When contacted by ABC News, Kathryn Miner said, "I have no comment."

In its ruling, the appellate court said that it found that none of Garrity's behavior could be ruled "extreme or outrageous."

"Such alleged actions are unpleasant and perhaps insensitive, and some would arguably fall outside the realm of 'good mothering,' but they are not so shocking as to form a basis for a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress," the court ruled.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Fla. Couple Sentenced in Python Strangling of Daughter

Orange County Corrections Dept.(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Florida python owners Jaren Hare and her boyfriend Charles Darnell were each sentenced to 12 years in prison Wednesday because the snake escaped from its cage and strangled Hare's two-year-old daughter.

Hare, 21, and Darnel, 34, were convicted last month of third-degree murder, manslaughter and child neglect.

The little girl, Shaianna, was killed two years ago when the couple's pet Burmese python escaped from its enclosure and strangled the girl in her crib. The snake's tank was only equipped with a quilt for a lid.

A medical examiner testified during the trial that the albino snake named Gypsy was underweight and trying to eat the girl. The snake hadn't been fed for a month when the girl died and was severely underweight at only 13 pounds, the Orlando Sentinel reported. The snake should have weighed nearly 150 pounds, the Sentinel reported.

Jurors rejected the defense's argument that this was simply a terrible accident.

Hare and Darnell are the parents of a daughter who was born about a month after Shaianna was strangled. It is not clear who is caring for the girl now.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mother of Three Girls Killed in Taconic Crash Is Pregnant

BananaStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two years ago, Jackie Hance lost everything when all three of her daughters died in a gruesome wrong-way car crash on New York's Taconic Parkway. But today, she is pregnant again after undergoing in vitro fertilization in a twist of fate that she says came from a dream about her beloved daughters.

Hance, 40, of Floral Park, N.Y., announced her pregnancy just as HBO is ready to air its own documentary, Something's Wrong With Aunt Diane, on the drunk-driving accident.

The girls were killed on their way home from a camping trip in upstate New York when their aunt, Diane Schuler, 36, drove 70 mph down the wrong side of the parkway for two miles before slamming her SUV head-on into another vehicle.

Toxicology reports showed that Schuler's blood alcohol level was twice the limit -- the equivalent of 10 shots of vodka -- and she was high on marijuana.

Just minutes before the deadly crash, Hance's daughter, Emma, had called her mother to say, "Something's wrong with Aunt Diane."

Hance's girls, Emma, 8; Alyson, 7; and Katie, 5, as well as Schuler and her 2-year-old daughter Erin died instantly. Three men in the other vehicle also died, a total of eight people. The only survivor was Schuler's son Bryan, 5.

"Parenting is not something you can ever let go of, even if your children are gone," Hance wrote in the Ladies Home Journal this week.

Hance is expecting her baby in September. But psychologists say having a baby too soon after the death of a child is no panacea for grief.

Hance writes that her friends persuaded her to have another child as a way of coping with the "torture" that she has felt since her girls died, unable even to cook because it reminds her of her daughters' excitement at mealtime.

"After the accident so many people suggested that Warren and I consider having another child. They said having a baby was what the girls would want and it would give us a future," she writes.

When a child dies, many parents have a "natural urge" to have another, according to Katherine Shear, professor of psychiatry and social work at Columbia University who specializes in complicated grief.

"A lot of parents do wish to have another child to come to terms with the loss," she said. "After they've accepted the loss, it's a very natural part of life and can be a very healing thing to do."

"When they do this, it's usually with a little bit of sadness and trepidation even when they know it's the right thing for them, and I don't think we should judge them," she said. "When they make that decision, it's a hard one to make and we should primarily support them."

Other psychologists say that having another child so quickly after such a tragic loss can compound the devastation, leaving the grief process unresolved. The pain felt by bereaving parents is one of the most intense of all sorrows and the most complicated.

Hance said that she had her tubes tied after having her third child, but decided to do IVF after a doctor offered the procedure after hearing her story.

She said her daughters came to her in a dream: "I was standing in heaven and I could see Emma, Alyson, and Katie through these big gates. God would not let me inside the gates. He said that I had been given a gift from that doctor and I had to use his gift before I could be with my babies."

Dr. Richard Paulson, director USC Fertility in Los Angeles, said that having another child can sometimes fulfill the dreams of a complete family.

"It's not a replacement child, it's a reconstituted family," said "Because that person is gone, you don't replace that person," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Sister Wives' Family Plans to Challenge Polygamy Law

PRNewsFoto/TLC(SALT LAKE CITY) -- The polygamist family portrayed on the TLC reality show Sister Wives said all along its main goal in going on national television was to gain public acceptance of its lifestyle. Now family patriarch Kody Brown, his four wives and 16 children and stepchildren are moving from the court of public opinion to the court of law, arguing that criminalizing their lifestyle is unconstitutional.

On Wednesday, the Browns are expected to file a federal lawsuit to challenge the polygamy law in their home state of Utah, where they came under investigation for violating the state law that prohibits polygamy.

Brown and his four wives -- Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn -- moved their family to Las Vegas earlier this year, in part, they told ABC News, to escape the criminal investigation.

"We didn't want this thing hanging over us," Brown, a salesman, told ABC News last March. "We went to Vegas with hopes of having a good life, preserving the family...We never did anything here at all to be rebellious, to challenge the statutes of the law or anything like that."

"We still have our family," Robyn, Brown's fourth wife, said. "That's all it boils down to."

Police in Lehi, Utah, launched an investigation into the Brown family's lifestyle last September for a possible charge of bigamy after TLC initially announced the show Sister Wives. Bigamy is a third-degree felony in Utah and punishable by up to five years in prison.

As reported by The New York Times, the Browns' purported lawsuit does not demand that states recognize polygamous marriage but asks that federal courts tell states they cannot punish polygamists for their "intimate behavior" so long as they are not breaking other laws, such as child abuse or incest.

The Browns are members of the Apostolic United Brethren Church, a fundamentalist break from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- the Mormon Church -- which officially banned polygamy more than 100 years ago as Utah sought statehood.

In making their case, the Browns argue that making polygamous unions illegal violates the free exercise, establishment, free speech and freedom of association clauses of the First Amendment, and the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.

The Browns have faced no allegations of incest, child abuse or child brides, despite the inquiries into their lifestyle, something that could help their case in court.

A ruling in the Brown's favor would affect tens of thousands of people in polygamous families in the United States.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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