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Do I have to follow Child Protective Services demands on how to discipline?

Brooklyn, NY |

Last night CPS came in and started undermining my relationship with my child. They criticized my parenting stating that I let my 5 year old daughter get away with too much and reward her bad behavior I need to put her on timeout chair. The social worker got down to my daughter's level and told my daughter firmly that if she doesn't stop then they will have serious problems. I believe that child misbehave because they have trouble managing their emotions. If they learn how to manage the emotions that drive them to misbehavior, they will behave. Punishment does get compliance but that that would only work short term and the child never learns to manage the emotions that drive them to their behavior. Punishment comes from an external source.

They don't learn to self-discipline, but fear getting caught. So if she was 100% sure she was not going to get caught, s/he would misbehave because s/he has no self-discipline and they don't learn to empathize because the empathy is distracted by guilt and when we don't care about other's feelings, we don't respect them. I believe in acknowledging their feelings with phrases like "are you upset?" or "I know you want the juice, but you need to have some eggs, (grab the juice) you'll have some juice later" When CPS left, my daughter started crying (not tantruming) and I assured her that they will not take her away and I love her no matter what. I felt that the social worker underminded my relationship with my child. Obviously these social workers aren't trained in child psychology. I also don't have that but I know about child behavior. Neither me, my husband or his mother who lives with us called (or said they never called CPS). I am from Georgia, SSSR and I am not familiar with my rights. We don't abuse her.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. First, never again let CPS into your home unless they have a valid court order and they show it to you. If they have a valid court order, they will most likely have a police escort, so if they don't and you have any doubts whatsoever, DO NOT open the door and call your attorney immediately. Once they get into your life, it is extremely difficult to get them out no matter how unwarranted their involvement.

    Second, I strongly suggest you take the time to meet with a local attorney immediately so that you can fully review all your rights, options and obligations before you take any further action. You can find attorneys in your area by searching among the profiles here on Avvo. Good luck!

    Ms. Brown may be reached at 718-878-6886 during regular business hours, or anytime by email at: marykatherinebrown@hotmail.com. All of Ms. Brown’s responses to questions posted on AVVO are intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual, and her response to the question above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Brown is licensed to practice law in New York. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.


  2. While I don't handle abuse cases in NY State, I agree with Ms. Brown. I am not sure how CPS got involved, perhaps it was a referral, but a removal requires serious allegations of abuse or neglect, and even being involved with services still requires a court order. Your comments on parenting style certainly may be a difference in style but don't seem to constitute a potential har to the child. As mentioned you may want to consult an attorney who handles these types of cases in NY State because an attorney can often obtain information as to why CPS was involved with you and your child in the first place and then figure out a way to counter their involvement.

    DISCLAIMER: This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not legal advice unless you have entered into a fee agreement with the Law Office of Anthony J. Van Zwaren, P.C. and have paid the required fees. The information contained in this email may be privileged. Dissemination, distribution or copying of this e-mail or the information contained within it by anyone other than the intended recipient is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please delete this message and any attachments from your system and notify us.

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