I have worked in homes, communities, schools, and facilities with youth and their families for a long long time. I have been witness to many powerful scenes, both positive and negative. I continue to have optimism about the troubled youth in our country even if I disagree with how the system is set up and managed (but that is a more serious topic and one for a different time and space.)

I want to share one of the most “amazing” parenting moments ever. I use quotations when I say “amazing” because while I was surprised and astonished, it was not in the positive manner in which I usually apply the word


I am going to make this very long story short. 

You do not need the sad background of the child. There is no need to review the resume of the foster father he was living with.

The child was attending his court review after being placed in a foster home. Before he was seen by the judge he decided to throw a tantrum.

(I don’t care how old you are, if you scream and cry and yell and throw your food… that is a tantrum.)

After calming down, the child soon realized that he was hungry and wished he had not thrown his food on the ground. If you ask me, he was facing the consequence of the choice he made to turn his lunch into garbage.

But another adult disagreed and bought him a hamburger.

The foster father was, shall we say, PISSED. And I understand that he was upset as I agree with him that the boy had made his decision when he flung his tray to the floor. But I also understand the beauty and necessity that is anger management...

especially when you are a foster parent.

especially when you are in a courthouse.

especially when there are a slew of Child Protective Services workers around.

especially when there are several police officers and other officials present.

especially when there are other children attending court that day and you do not know their backgrounds and how they may be triggered by your adult rendition of a tantrum.  


Now to the huge parenting DON’T.

This man did not manage his anger appropriately. Instead he told the young man not to eat the hamburger that was purchased for him or he would be admitted to the psychiatric hospital.

“How did he relay such a message to the boy? Surely you can't be serious!” You may say to me. 

“I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.”

The grown man stood over the child, with a pointed finger he yelled,

“I will 5150 you! I will 5150 you! Eat that! Go ahead! Eat the hamburger and then I will 5150 you!”

The parenting tip, in short:

While in a courthouse, do not scream at your child “I will 5150 you!”

That only makes ONE person look like they need to be 5150ed.


I think we have all learned a valuable lesson.

You’re welcome.


Poor decisions made in the heat of a moment…


Victim, culprit, or witness… What is the biggest parenting DON’T you have experienced?

(Maybe it is a more common error or maybe you aspire to be a story topper. Bring on the comments!)