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What do I do if I see serious trouble or neglect in the way someone close to me is parenting?

13 Answers
Last Updated: 10/04/2016 at 9:37pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Courtney Cline, MS in Psychology and MS in criminal Justice


I have 15 years exeperience in working with clients suffering from depression and substance abuse. I have worked with children and adults and believe in a holistic view.

Top Rated Answers
December 21st, 2014 7:32pm
This can be a touchy subject because it depends on what constitutes serious trouble. If the child is in direct danger then action must be taken immediately. if the problems have arisen out of a parents ignorance then it could be as simple as a conversation. if its neglect then bringing it to light to grand parent or other family member could be beneficial. If all else fails it must be important to realize that the safety and well being of the child is always the top priority and unfortunately that means contacting the proper authorities.
December 18th, 2014 4:55pm
It's hard to witness neglect in any forms but especially when it comes to children. If you are close to the person, talking to them first and asking them if they know they are doing it. It could be just a misunderstanding. Or they could just not know they are doing it. Parenting can be hard work sometimes. It can be a struggle to raise a child, manage a household, work full time or even part time. If after talking about to them and it continues then talking to more family members about it may help the situation.
December 28th, 2014 9:06am
If it's not an emergency and as the person is close to you, you may want to start by finding out how that person is doing at the moment. A little more support help them to be a better parent. They may even recognise that they need support and actively seek it. If there is serious risk to the child(den) however I would call in professional support. In an emergency the police (extreme) or social services safeguarding.
September 28th, 2014 10:42pm
I feel it is very important to intervene if you can. Regardless if this parent is a close friend of yours and you're afraid stepping in would ruin your friendship with them, you should try getting them professional help. Child-services is a great direction to start to help the parent.
- Expert in Parenting
November 5th, 2014 10:27pm
You need to put the safety off the child first- contact the nearest social services and voice your concerns before it is too late.
November 19th, 2014 8:39pm
If a child is in danger, it is your responsibility (if you are an adult) to inform the authorities about it. If you are under 18, please let an adult know about this so that they can talk to the proper authorities.
December 3rd, 2014 6:36am
I, myself, would call Child Protective Services. I don't want to see anyone in harm so I will take action whether the person is close to me or not.
December 8th, 2014 6:43pm
Contact DHS (Department of Human Services). The call will be anonymous. You may feel guilty, but would you rather feel guilty, or see this child get hurt or neglected? It could help in the long run.
January 2nd, 2015 12:28pm
You put the safety of the child as your up most priority and report it to social services / law enforcement as soon as possible.
March 8th, 2015 2:57am
If you see signs of abuse or neglect, please report it right away. Look up the number in your state for reporting child abuse and neglect. This can be done anonymously. It is not our jobs to investigate these things, but it is our responsibility to protect children. Investigators will determine whether or not to accept the case. If they do not think it is a viable case, then you did your job and it is not a problem. If they accept the case, they will investigate and could find a problem and offer help to the family or they could find our there is not problem at all. It will be out of your hands at this time. I feel it is important to advocate for children, however, make sure that this is not something that you have overheard from someone else but from the child themselves. Also, make sure not to ask leading questions that make allow the child to answers questions in a way that is incorrect or may cause them to be confused. Make sure the child has told you about abuse or neglect. In your question, you said "serious trouble or neglect." Neglect is a form of child abuse and should be reported. If you are not sure what constitutes neglect, look it up on your state's child welfare website. I would not recommend talking with the parents. The safety of children always comes first. Thank you for your concern and your question.
August 18th, 2015 11:41pm
tell the children add or talk to the person in trouble or neglect and tell them how there not doing the parenting right and see if the still do
October 8th, 2015 10:00am
We all have a duty of care to protect those around us, I would always suggest if someone feels that they have witnessed neglect or abuse to contact their local authority who will have the best resources to support the family involved. However, if you feel the child is in immediate danger you should call your local police department so that help is quickly available.
October 4th, 2016 9:37pm
I feel that it would be best to approach this person and try to have a discussion with them about how you are feeling about their actions. It might raise awareness as they might not realize how their words or actions might be affecting their children. If problems continue to persist after your discussions and words of advice and you feel like the issues are of a very serious nature and detrimental to the child's health or development you may need to contact the local authorities so they can get in touch with the parent and work with them to resolve the issues in question.