What would you do…if you found out your two sons, ages 12 and 13, drank some of your booze and you decided to teach the kids a lesson about the possible dangers of drinking? (TAR Lite #12)
1. Have a long talk with the kids about the risks of alcohol and other-drug use?
2. Take the kids for a tour of skid row in a bid to show them the ultimate cost of alcoholism?
3. Make the kids spend their free time volunteering for a local alcohol and other-drug rehab to see first-hand the affects of long-term addiction?
4. Force the kids to take several shots of hard liquor and then throw them into your pool?
Congratulations if you selected # 4, which is what Kristopher Harvey, 32, did after his girlfriend, Karen Edwards, 49, told him she caught the kids drinking. When officers arrived in response to a neighbor’s report of screaming and crying, they found a “highly intoxicated” Harvey along with two wet, drunk kids. Officers arrested Harvey on two counts of child abuse, issued a criminal citation to Ms. Edwards for contributing to the delinquency of a minor and turned the children over to Child Protective Services.
In my experience as an Enrolled Agent tax professional, every instance in which children live with and are claimed as dependents by grandparents has been a result of parental alcohol or other-drug addiction. Not surprisingly, the boys did not live with their father; they were visiting from Texas where they live with their grandmother. Alcoholism appears to run in this family’s genes and, since recovering addicts tell us they nearly always triggered their alcoholism during their first drinking episode, the last thing the kids should have done is get drunk. If they’ve inherited the father’s alcoholism, they just triggered their own.
Obviously, this could have turned even more tragic. Assuming they know how to swim, in their drunken state the boys might have had trouble swimming and Harvey was apparently in no condition to play lifeguard. The grandmother, who presumably knows about Harvey’s addiction, should never have let the kids visit him by themselves. But then, knowing about addiction doesn’t mean she understands it well enough to grasp the behavioral manifestations of the disease (see Doug’s works) and that alcoholics are capable of anything and everything. Once we’ve established there is addiction, we know we can’t trust, believe, depend upon, or rely on that person. This includes keeping their own children safe from inappropriate risks.
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