Addendum: Angering Parents

June 19, 2008

Looking back on my previous post, I realized that I excluded a big piece of that interaction.  Not only did I piss off Blue, but I predicted that most of what would happen would happen.  And that knowledge was very anxiety-provoking for me.  I am not a confrontational person (to a fault) and was raised by two of the most avoidant, passive (also to a fault) people I have ever met.  So knowing that I was going to go in there and confront this parent (who can be intimidating) and know that she was not going to take it well, definitely got my blood pressure up.

I grew up playing sports and like to approach lots of things in life like I have in sports.  One technique, which was always difficult for me to comprehend as a kid, but I think is really helpful is visualization.  So I took my time, gathered my thoughts and went through what I thought her response would be to different ways I approached the topic.  This was helpful because it helped me figure out how I could convey what I needed to within the limitations she would provide.

The other thing I did was get some ideas from my coworkers.  Dealing with angry parents is nothing new for them so they really had some great language ideas for me to use.  Ones that again conveyed the message but also did so in a way that she could grasp.  One thing that I have been really lucky with is how open the other members of my unit are.  Not only have they been welcoming to me so far, but they are also willing to explain things or offer advice, as in this one.  This is, of course, when they are around!  🙂

So the other social worker on this case and I are going to have a home visit with Blue.  One of the original concerns the state had with her was the conditions of her house (police report stated that the smell of urine was overwhelming upon entry).  I am curious if she will have it ready to put on a good show for us or if it will still be questionable.

The other thing is we are planning on confronting her on a number of levels.  One is we are have a strict list of guidelines for visits, including a late/no-show policy.  She claims that she is never late and always on time, which we have numerous documented reports, as well as personal experience that says otherwise.  Then there are her dirty UAs, the psychological evaluation she needs to do, her financial statements, and all of the other court ordered services that she needs to complete before we begin to consider to return the kids home.  Oh, and discuss with her the fact that there is the possibility that some, maybe all, of her kids will live with their fathers, who at the moment appear to be appropriate, willing resources (although, currently need to finalize their legal paternities).  What a lovely Friday morning it will be.  I just hope we are not there all day because that increases my chance of snapping.  And it is way too early in my career to be doing that!