It’s a Package Deal

dwyane-wade-gabrielle-unionOver the past weeks much has been said about the engagement of actress Gabrielle Union and NBA player Dwyane Wade. That talk has been with great speculation about the timing and reason for their formal agreement to wed. Even “bigger” news entangled in the announcement of love was the birth of Dwyane’s new baby boy, Xavier (that’s my son’s name too …just saying) and of course the “baby mama drama” that goes without saying.

But little focus has been on the role (and its significance) Dwyane’s boys played in the marriage proposal which I thought was absolutely darling not to mention clever on his part — I mean who would turn down children. The signs the boys held up which collectedly read “will you marry us,” spoke volumes with a very important message; it’s a package deal – a commitment to the children too! And I’m sure they spoke for the new baby sibling as well. To put it frankly, “outside” children matter. At least they should. They didn’t ask to be here, right?

When you marry someone with children, you in essence marry the children as well. If you don’t have this understanding, then you should say no and keep it moving even when your partner is too in love (putting it nicely) to see your lack of understanding. I’m sure Gabrielle embraces this concept as she has already established a loving relationship with the boys and they obviously feel the same way. Yes, she loves the man but that doesn’t always translate into loving the kids. You hear stories all the time about stepparents mistreating children. So, it’s not a given that your partner will play nice. Blended families are inherently strapped with struggles but they are viable.

I have a good friend from college that is an ideal stepmom and I have always admired how she embraced her stepson and to some degree his mother as well. She treated him with love and kindness and as her own. But, just like Gabrielle she was a foot lose fancy free “independent woman” living the good life before taking on her role as a stepmother. So it is with these better eyes that I look at this situation in a different light and not at the drama of the circumstances. The kids said it best – it’s a package deal. I wish them well. ~XOXO

Chante Prox is a family law attorney and mediator practicing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area @ www.barnesproxlaw.com or (817) 649-2700.

Disclaimer: This information should not be considered as legal advice. Decisions should be based on consultation with a licensed attorney. This blog is for informative purposes only.

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Ready for Love

This Valentine’s Day, I’m not hiding, hatin’ or singing the blues!  I am ready for love and I say it loudly and proudly!  I’m reminded of the bible verse in Proverbs 18:21 “death and life are in the power of the tongue” and I speak life.  Love is life!  I am love because I know God and God is love.  Thus, instead of the “woe-is-me’ing,” I rise out of my bed, place my feet on the ground and walk in love this day and each day knowing that I will get a return on my investment.  We reap what we sow.  I sow love! – Happy Valentine’s Day! XOXO – Chante chanteblog4.jpg

Duty to report child abuse or neglect

National Child Abuse Prevention Month is not until April, but in light of the recent child deaths at the hand of a parent or caregiver, I felt compelled to get a jump start with this blog on the duty to report child abuse or neglect.

(1)  Who is required to report?       

            Both professionals and nonprofessionals are required to report child abuse and neglect—which basically means that everyone must report.  A person who believes that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect must immediately make a report.

            This is contrasted by the duty of a professional.  A professional who believes that a child has been or will be abused or neglected or that a child is a victim of an offense of indecency must make a report within 48 hours that the professional first suspects this. 

            Who is a professional?  A professional means an individual who

            (1)  is licensed or certified by the state, or

            (2)  is an employee of a facility licensed, certified, or operated by the state, and who, in    the normal course of official duties or duties for which a license or certification is       required, has direct contact with children. 

            This term includes, but isn’t limited to, teachers, nurses, doctors, daycare employees, employees of a clinic or health care facility that provides reproductive services, juvenile probation officers, and juvenile detention or correctional officers. 

(2)  What is abuse or neglect?  

            There are many warning signs of abuse or neglect.  A person should suspect physical abuse when they see:

  • Frequent injuries such as bruises, cuts, black eyes, or burns without adequate explanations
  • Frequent complaints of pain without obvious injury
  • Burns or bruises in unusual patterns that may indicate the use of an instrument or human bite; cigarette burns on any part of the body
  • Lack of reaction to pain
  • Aggressive, disruptive, and destructive behavior
  • Passive, withdrawn, and emotionless behavior
  • Fear of going home or seeing parents
  • Injuries that appear after a child has not been seen for several days

Suspect Neglect When You See:

  • Obvious malnourishment
  • Lack of personal cleanliness
  • Torn or dirty clothing
  • Stealing or begging for food
  • Child unattended for long periods of time
  • Need for glasses, dental care, or other medical attention
  • Frequent tardiness or absence from school

A person should suspect sexual abuse when they see:

  • Physical signs of sexually transmitted diseases
  • Evidence of injury to the genital area
  • Pregnancy in a young girl
  • Difficulty in sitting or walking
  • Extreme fear of being alone with adults of a certain sex
  • Sexual comments, behaviors or play
  • Knowledge of sexual relations beyond what is expected for a child’s age
  • Sexual victimization of other children

A person should suspect emotional abuse when they see:

  • Over compliance
  • Low self-esteem
  • Severe depression, anxiety, or aggression
  • Difficulty making friends or doing things with other children
  • Lagging in physical, emotional, and intellectual development
  • Caregiver who belittles the child, withholds love, and seems unconcerned about the child’s problems

(3)  What is the penalty for not reporting? 

            A person who knowingly fails to report child abuse or neglect commits a Class A misdemeanor.  But a failure to report can be a state jail felony in certain instances. 

 (4)  Who should a person make a report to in Texas?

            A report can be made to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services at 1-800-252-5400 or by calling your local law enforcement.          

            For more information on recognizing abuse or neglect click on the following link:  https://www.dfps.state.tx.us/child_protection/About_Child_Protective_Services/recognize_abuse.asp

            Chante Prox is a family law attorney and mediator practicing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area @ www.barnesproxlaw.com or (817) 649-2700.  Attorney Chante represents both children and parents in CPS cases.  

            Disclaimer:  This information should not be considered as legal advice.  Decisions should be based on consultation with a licensed attorney.  This blog is for informative purposes only.