Abandoned Teens

MPR’s Bob Collins covers a story of teens being abandoned at Nebraska hospitals, much like unwanted newborns. The new safe haven law in Nebraska allows parents to drop off any child, regardless of age. These unruly teens usually go into an already-stressed foster care system.

The whole thing is kind of bizarre. And heart-breaking.

On one hand it’s good that teens in abusive situations can find a way out, right? Though it’s really a way out for parents. Most teens who want a way out don’t wait for their parents to give them up.

On the other hand, how would that conversation go? I can’t even imagine how that conversation ends with dropping your kid off at a hospital or police station. I get being at the end of your rope (hello, I spend my days alone with a two-year-old), but wow.

It all reminds me of the show Brat Camp from a few years ago (the one that made me cry). I guess I’m the kind of person who thinks you give people a second chance. And a third chance. And a fourth chance ( … and a 490th chance, as Jesus advocated). Especially when we’re talking about your own kid. Certainly there are rare times when you have to draw the line. I’ve done that. But I’m not sure that happens at 13. And I don’t think the solution is you abandon the kid. Get some help, call in the pros—heck, call in the National Guard. But you’re a parent. You can’t give up. As a society we need some kind of help for people in these situations, something we’re clearly not offering.

2 thoughts on “Abandoned Teens”

  1. Kevin – I found the story upsetting too but I have known parents in very difficult situations with teens that they could not handle. One woman hat a 14 year old that was violent, and he was bigger than she was. She was a single mother and about 16 years older than her son. I know it doesn’t seem right but there are six sides to every story and some people just can’t be parents.

  2. I agree, there are complicated situations. I guess I can’t imagine giving up to the point that you’d dump the kid somewhere. Love that kid enough to get whatever help you need. If that means relinquishing your parental rights, do it. But don’t just dump your kid somewhere.

    I guess that’s what upsets me the most. I understand needing help. I don’t understand giving up when there are other options.

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