ActingParent.com

A Look into the Life of Being In Loco Parentis

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Hi there! My name is Lares. I have been acting parent, or in loco parentis, since 2006, when “my” child, whom we’ll call Matthew, was 6 years old. He’s now 9 and things have become quite hairy since his parents and I are now in court over custody.

It was not my intention to raise Matthew all the way to adulthood. I expected to act as a bridge between his parents and him and to provide support to both. However, since has he came live with me, I have learned many unfortunate things about his past, and I have seen how little his parents are willing to adjust their lifestyles to meet little Matthew’s needs. I have witnessed how much their choices have hurt Matthew and how deeply they have affected his sense of emotional stability.

Some children are more resilient than others. Matthew is a bright child with a ton of promise, but there is only so much he rebound from before these become permanent markers in his thinking and coping skills. And I know that time is critical. Each year that passes where he maintains inappropriate coping skills means many years of tough relatiohship issues and an untold number of years in counseling to undo the damage. I don’t want that for Matthew.

I do not have the capacity to sit by and pretend like Matthew’s parents aren’t hurting him. I know first-hand how much he has suffered. I am not particularly the matronly type. By nature I’m a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of woman. Our schedule can get hectic, and dinner doesn’t operate like clockwork around here. I used to think those were the things that “perfect homes” were made of. As it turns out, that’s not it at all. A child’s sense of stability comes from how stable you are at your core and how strong you can be for the child you are caring for. How much you will love your child, how far will you go to advocate for your child, and how firm can you be with consequences are all important factors. Flexibility is another important factor, and recognizing that children are constantly growing, constantly moving through important developmental milestones is also critical. What’s good for a 6 year old, as it turns out, may not necessarily be needed for a 9 year old. And that was a bummer to learn once I had the 6 year old down so well!

The bottom line is that I love Matthew so much. It’s hard to explain this to people that you can, in fact, love anyone, even if you’re not related. Because I love him so much, I’ve taken the time to try to get his parents on the right track for what we might all have considered a happy ending. But over time (nearly 3 years at the moment) they either can’t or won’t take those important steps toward bettering themselves as parents. Because of this, I see no choice but to take the lead and protect Matthew. Unfortunately, that means going through a custody battle.

In many ways, dealing with custody in court is like going to purgatory and staying there for an extended period of time. I know what the stakes are. If I lose, Matthew will go back to substandard childhood. That will be more devastating than the fact that I may never see him again. We in loco parentis parents face that daily. We don’t have the same rights as biological parents who get visitation because their DNA matches.

I am not here for a pity party. I can cry all by myself, thank you very much. I am here to share my experiences, including legal issues, issues related to school, dealing with the biological parents,  and to some extent, the emotional ride that comes with the territory. There aren’t many of us “in loco parentis” parents out there, and there isn’t a central location for resources that I could find. Of course, it may take a while before anyone even knows I’m here, but I’d be willing to roll with it and see what kind of interest and/or need might be out there.

The expenses do add up, so if you’d like to pitch in, please feel free to donate a few bucks. I really appreciate your generosity!


Standing in place of the parent, or acting parent, or "in loco parentis" is a big job that comes with a unique set challenges. I created this blog to share my story and my experiences with those who find themselves in a similiar situation. I look forward to hearing your comments!

The expenses do add up, so if you’d like to pitch in, please feel free to donate a few bucks. I really appreciate your generosity!

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