Angering Parents

I have officially angered a parent. I have the voicemail to prove it. Blue was angry with me today because I denied her request to take her visit outside of the building. I think I had good reasons to do so:

  1. This was the first time the visitation supervisor had met the child and the mother.
  2. The child, a four year-old, is very active and prior supervisors reported that he can be a lot to handle.
  3. The intersection outside of our office is very busy.
  4. Blue has difficulty taking “no” for an answer.

So Blue actually wanted to discuss this all with me during her visit. I told her (repeatedly) that it was not appropriate to talk about it at that time (in front of her 4 year-old). She had difficulty hearing this and I left. Later, my co-worker received a voicemail, actually 2 voicemails (because one was not enough), saying that I was rude to her (which I was not), lied to her (which I did not), and ripped me for my lack of experience.

The thing that gets me is that she does not appear to think (or acknowledge) that I am in constant contact with my co-worker. She is trying to pit us against each other and, really, today, she slandered me to my coworker. I set a limit with her, or I didn’t tell her what she wanted, and she got angry.

But while I try to rationalize what her motivation is, I keep coming back to that she is displaying features of Borderline Personality Disorder. The main characteristic has been her intense swinging between idealizing social workers (she told my coworker today that she was blessed to have such a great, dedicated worker) to demonizing workers (she has essentially characterized her previous worker as the devil). Of course, borderline clients were the ones I said that I never wanted to work with. But the beauty of this job is that we don’t get to choose our clients.

So what am I currently doing about all of this?  Documenting, documenting, and more documenting.  So when I am called to testify and am getting grilled by Blue’s attorney (gulp), I can have as much documentation to back me up as possible.  I can’t say that I am looking forward to that day.

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One Response to Angering Parents

  1. Take it from someone who has close to 10 years of experience in child welfare social work, it will get easier and you will have many more clients that call you up and yell at you. And yes…document, document, document. I don’t know how your state or county works, but in my county we have permanency meetings with our parents every three months stepping outs plans and specifically as we can make them. These are the best tools to present in court because the birth parents can’t say I didn’t know, no one ever told me. Oh and a word of warning…be careful what you post on this blog, it could encite hate mail from individuals who clearly have an axe to grind against child welfare social workers. I learned the hard way and I can’t get rid of them. But…it doesn’t stop me. Enjoyed your post and look forward to reading more!!!

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