Should Mom of 555-Pound Boy be Charged with Neglect?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
7/3/2009 10:00 AM   :  1172 comments   :  81,760 Views

Most parents only want to do the right thing and give their children a happy life. But when a child becomes overweight, or even obese, are they no longer doing the right thing? If not, should something be done? A mother in South Carolina has been charged with neglect (and put in jail) for allowing her 14-year old son, Alexander, to reach a dangerous weight of 555 pounds.

Officials say they have given Jerri Gray the chance to help her son and get him treatment, but she has not taken advantage of those opportunities. She says she doesn't have enough money for treatment. Jerri works multiple jobs to make ends meet, and says she doesn't have as much time as she'd like to prepare healthy meals for her son. She also says that sometimes she'd purchase fast food for him when she had to sleep between shifts.

Alex is now in the custody of the Department of Social Services. Jerri admits she's made mistakes. But she wants her son back, and the opportunity for them to learn together how to change their lives and get healthy. Should she be given that chance when her child's life is at risk because of his weight?

This story is heartbreaking to me for a number of reasons. I'm fortunate that I have the knowledge and tools to know what my children should and shouldn't be eating. I'm fortunate that I don't have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, taking me away from them on a daily basis. But not everyone is so lucky. If you grew up in a home where fast food and high fat meals were the norm, you probably didn't learn anything different. It's easy to see how someone could get into a situation where they think they are taking good care of their child, but in reality their choices are doing more harm than good.

On the other hand, this child is not just 50 or even 100 pounds overweight. Alex's weight has reached a level that is very dangerous to his health. It's not clear exactly what officials did months ago to try and help Jerri before the situation reached this point. Was she given access to help? Was she given any tools to start changing his eating habits? Did she just choose not to follow through with it?

In my opinion, a 14-year old child needs his mother. Taking him away from the woman who loves and cares for him is not the solution. The solution is an intensive intervention with the two of them, giving them the education and resources they need to start turning things around. If someone is going to change their lifestyle, they need to learn how to establish new habits and behaviors. If they are given all of this and the mother still refuses to follow through, then I think that's a different story and more drastic measures need to be taken. But for now, I think they should be given the opportunity to change- together.

What do you think?

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  • 1172
    I agree with some of the comments. I wonder where the old man is in this - did he just take off one day or is he still in the picture? If he is he needed to step up to the plate LONG AGO. I feel sorry for the Mom if it's true that she is working that much she is clearly burning the candle at both ends (if NOT more). I cannot fathom how hard it is already for her and then to take her kid away. If the gov't was SO concerned for their welfare, perhaps helping her so she does not have to work multiple jobs rather than jail time would be better- I have to wonder how many job offers she will get when she leaves prison with a record. Say what you like but I don't see any winners from this situation. - 1/8/2015   8:07:17 PM
  • 1171
    Yes the first teacher in a child's life is his parents, and that should include how to eat properly to get all the nutrients you need and not to become overweight. The responsibility is always the parents, when they turn legal age is a different story, but if the children are fed junk in the early years how do they know how to eat healthier in their later years. And as we all know it is easy to put weight on but not so easy to take it off - 11/26/2014   3:34:04 PM
  • 1170
    I am LIVID when I see extremely overweight children. I'm not talking about chunky, chubby, or that layer of fat kids get before they shoot up in height, btw, I'm talking about morbidly obese. It's absolutely inexcusable and is totally the fault of the parents. That said, I don't know what's going on in this case, and would have to know much more about them before deciding if it warrants removal from the home. If so, then why wait till the child is so old and the problem so extreme? - 8/29/2014   4:28:04 PM
  • 1169
    Separating a child from someone who loves him and who he relies on is counterproductive. Does the family need help? Yes, of course, but the money wasted on incarcerating the mother could be put to better use. It seems that this family is suffering from the stresses of poverty. This woman is working multiple jobs just to make ends meet. One of the biggest determinants of health is socio-economic status. A living wage would do wonders for this family. It's far too easy for the judgemental middle-class to tell people who are down on their luck how to live. If you haven't walked a mile in her shoes, I doubt you have any idea of what she is dealing with on a daily basis. - 7/30/2014   12:41:34 PM
    My 17yo daughter is autistic and takes Risperdal, which is known to increase appetite. Last summer, just as she turned 16, we started her on
    the pill to regulate her periods. She is now about 40-50lbs too heavy. As I see it, with those two medications, she doesn't stand much chance of being a normal weight. She is active and doesn't eat a lot of junk. - 7/22/2014   11:19:58 PM
  • 1167
    First... Justina Pelletier - Treated for Mitchondrial Disease until Child Services took her away from her parents. because another hospital said that her symptoms are all in her head. They stopped her treatments, took her away from her parents, and now her health is deteriorating.

    Sarah Murnaghan - A ten year who needed a lung was denied by (FEDERAL) HHS Director, Kathleen Sebelius. PA judge later gave it to her and she is alive.

    There is such a long list of government abuses...these are just a few. Why is anyone surprised? - 5/20/2014   10:15:54 AM
    Another thought here: many prescription medications have fast, excessive weight gain--not clearly connected to a change in eating habits--as a major side effect. I read an article recently about certain antidepressants and ADHD medications, commonly prescribed for children and teenagers, causing major problems in this and other areas. While I'm sure there are many choices the family could have/should have been making here in regards to healthy food and exercise, etc, I just have a hunch that there are other factors involved here besides overeating and emotional problems. I wouldn't be surprised at all if there are prescription medications (perhaps BECAUSE of emotional problems) wreaking some serious havoc on this boy's biology, and all the other interventions in the world are only going to go so far while his system is messed up with the meds. Of course, I don't know for a fact that there's a connection in his case, but I would really want to rule out that possibility, since it certainly could be a major contributing factor. - 3/13/2014   6:48:41 PM
  • 1165
    My prays go the this mom and her child.

    Those bully punish givers should be thinking on ways to help and solve problems. - 3/12/2014   6:33:54 PM
  • 1164
    I really think that if we used up a lot less energy criminalizing things and spent it extending ourselves to actually helping folks with whatever their needs are we might see much better results. Seems like we have lost sight of some old fashioned things like compassion and caring about our neighbors. Seems easier to use the machinery of government and the law to make things even worse.
    Just my thought. I would rather someone start helping both of them and changing things for the better.
    - 12/14/2013   6:19:15 PM
  • 1163
    I agree with Meredith. The child must have an eating disorder, or some other health issue. When t would putting the mother in jail accomplish? It would be another child in the foster parent system, and frankly, most people would not want the added responsibility. - 11/11/2013   3:26:30 PM
  • 1162
    I have a family member that in my opinion is over weight. Although his mother is similar, short and over weight, I think that the poor eating habits that have been introduced and allowed, are major contributors. - 10/14/2013   7:26:55 PM
  • NICEW0
    I just watched the documentary "A Place at the Table". It really shed a lot of light on the close relationship between childhood obesity and access to nutritious food. I don't know this mom's circumstances but it's FAR more complicated than just choosing the right things to eat. Processed food is everywhere, fresh fruits and vegetables aren't always easy to get or economically possible for many, many American families. I too will be sending positive energy to this mom and her son. - 10/8/2013   1:13:15 PM
  • 1160
    The government should never be involved, period....The junk they allow in our food, aspartame, high fructose corn syrup probably should be considered neglect by our Health Department if you want to charge somebody.....They know this stuff kills people and they are neglecting this crap and allow people to consume...don't get me started......NO the woman should not be charged with neglect......obviously she was around.....wrong word dummies... - 10/4/2013   11:35:54 AM
  • 1159
    This is interesting. The so-called childhood obesity "epidemic" has taken on a personality that is very unlike the overweight that many of us experienced when we were children. There is such a combination of factors that goes into this type of weight gain, but I really think that the majority of us could have eaten everything that this child has been eating and still not have arrived at 550 pounds by age 14. I find it strange that no one is asking the question: BIOLOGICALLY, what is wrong with this child? SCIENTIFICALLY, what has HAPPENED to our food that it is attacking people like this? EDUCATIONALLY, where are we as a society that Nutrition and Physical Fitness (outside of sports teams which aren't for everyone) are sometimes not required or not actually taught in schools? I DO think the mom has neglected the education and health of her child. However, I don't think that she is alone and we as a society need to ask ourselves, what are the real issues here? Is it that the kid is fat? Or is it that we have allowed so much junk into our lives to the absolute exclusion of healthy living? Do we even know what healthy living is at this point? Or do we only know extremes? I have so much to say, but I have so much to do and can't stay here commenting forever. These are my questions for now. - 9/27/2013   11:59:55 AM
  • 1158
    This breaks my heart. I also can't help but think there is more to the story. I was a single Mom with two children and had to work long hours and more than one job. I battled my weight and am now a personal trainer and know a whole lot more about nutrition, looking back I know I didn't feed my children what they should have been eating. Luckily they did play sports and didn't have to battle weight as children although they do struggle now. Personally I'd rather donate time and or money to this mother and son than see them torn apart. I didn't have the money, time or education when raising my children but I loved them more than life itself, I can't imagine having them taken away from me and I hate the thought of it for this family. - 9/24/2013   9:40:48 AM
  • 1157
    Maybe if she were a healthy weight and living a healthful lifestyle while forcing her son to eat fast food this would be a criminal case. To me it's like people who hoard compulsively. They have a serious problem and their family can get so overwhelmed with the issues and the sheer amount of stuff that it seems like nothing will ever fix it. There's so much work that needs to be done that it seems pointless to even start. These people need help and education, not punishment. - 9/15/2013   11:46:37 AM
    I think the son may have Prader-Willi Syndrome. It's an eating disorder where a person has no sense of satiety and can eat themselves to death. - 9/8/2013   11:59:49 AM
  • 1155
    So much judgement here. It doesn't sound like dad is in the picture. I think if we are going to judge, maybe we should be looking for the male role model who isn't playing sports with him, who isn't monitoring him while mom is working two jobs. Unfortunately, in a lot of these cases when they are younger the mother spoils them, feeling bad that they don't have a father (you see this a lot in grandparents raising their children). It just gets out of control. But, once the mother recognizes the problem, there is little she can do. The child will freakout on her. He's 550 pounds, so it stands to reason he's also larger than her. He can refuse to eat what she buys. She will then not want him to starve and buy him what he shouldn't have. I'm not saying that is what is happening here, but I have seen that pattern before. We also don't know what role genetics plays here. - 8/31/2013   4:47:32 PM
  • 1154
    Mother should be arrested for attempted manslaughter, son needs to go into a fat camp for two years. - 8/31/2013   1:26:59 PM
  • 1153
    There is many questions that need to be address before everyone makes assumptions about what should happen to this family. 1. Where the father or other families members in this situation? 2. What opportunities were given to the family to help her son and were they affordable for them to take advantage of? 3. Was the family offered any ways of funding to help them live a healthier lifestyle? 4. Did the person/s that recommended the opportunities try to look at the mom's schedule to try and fit them into her schedule so she could take advantage of them while still working multiple jobs? 5. Is there an underlying medical condition that may have caused some of this weight gain? 6. Where were family friends, teachers, school counsellors, etc during all this? Like someone mentioned below someone said this can't just happen overnight and why did no intervene prior to the son reaching 550 lbs?

    The definition of neglect is "Fail to care for properly" so yes I do I believe that the mother should be charged with neglect but I do not believe jail is the right answer. The should look at the situation and see what oppurnties that they can do for the mother like community service. Ideally the mother should have custody of her son but I feel that they should have supervisor. The should have access to food and fitness counselling to help them live a healthy lifestyle together.They should also have the son medically examined to see if there is any underlying medical situation that may have not helped this situation. They should also see if there is any medical conditions (diabetes, high cholesterol) that should be looked now while implementing there new lifestyle changes. Some funding should be able provided to the family to overcome this situation.

    I know what it is like growing up with a single parent and how it can be a lot easier to grab something on the go compared to cooking something.I also know what it is like for a single mother to work multiple jobs and how that can affect a family.I know that has effected my eating habits as an adults. This is something that should be looked at programs implemented to help out future generations. I feel for this family and I hope them the best to overcome this situation. - 8/19/2013   8:50:48 PM
  • 1152
    I have a number of questions.
    1 - Where is the father in all of this? Are there other family members around to help?
    2 - Exactly what type of "opportunities" has the state provided? Were there options that could be done around her work schedule?
    3 - Were they actually helping or just tellling her to go read online articles/books?
    4 - Are they providing any emotional sipport to both the son and the mother? Or do they just make them both feel worse than they probably already do?
    5 - Are they providing any financial support to help make the transition to healthy living because it isn't inexpensive (but then neither is fast food).
    6 - Is she a good mother in other areas? Being a mom is hard work and it is even harder when you are working multiple jobs just to make enough money for the necessities.

    FYI - Someone should give this to the guy who does the Extreme Weight Loss program. He comes in and really works with the people, plus they get financial support from different companies to help purchase the stuff needed to have a healthy lifestyle. - 7/23/2013   3:29:42 PM
  • 1151
    Any kid can be overweight, but you have to be PAYING for and putting a LOT of food in front of your kid for them to hit that weight. If she is working to make ends meet, she could just cut way down on the amount of food purchased, even if they still eat out at every meal, this would help with bills and weight loss. Honestly, kids do not truly understand how to take care of weight on their own. You see so many overweight or dangerously underweight teenagers. Their parents must take responsibility for helping them. I understand the emotional connection this kid needs with his mom, but, will he live long enough to graduate high school? Maybe he'll make it to his early 20's then die. This is serious and so many people work full time (me) are single parents (me) are overweight themselves (me) are horrible cooks (me) do not understand nutrition and serving sizes (me) are not physically active (me) are frequent fast food eaters (me) yet my kids are not 200, 300, 400 or more overweight. There is obviously an emotional component to this kids eating he needs counseling! It is very possible that neglect is exactly what's been happening. He could be overeating from emotional neglect and some time away from home may help him see his life as something he needs to take responsibility for since his mom is NO help. - 7/22/2013   1:34:22 AM
  • 1150
    I agree with AMAZINGLILSUSHI sounds like he mother had a lot on her plate trying to make ends meet.My question is where is the father in all of this ?
    I would speak to the son & see what kind of mother she is otherwise. If he loves her & she's done the best she can in other areas & is willing to accept affordable help & change her ways then I feel that more helpful to her & her son.I think if all our lives were made as public as being obese shows outwardly we might all have things we were far from proud of , but would & maybe have done better with time.
    I understand what the person was saying referring to the heroin, but the mother may not have been brought up in a loving educated household herself. Maybe she thought that as long as she was feeding him & putting a roof over his head she was showing him a mothers care. Then when he was becoming obese she wasn't sure how to make him eat less. Maybe she asked him to & he hid snacks from school, etc.but she was putting in so many hours she was too tired to truly address it because she was working hard trying to put a roof over his head.
    Of course, maybe not, but I think we should know the whole story before we burn her at the stake.This is just my take on it.I respect others right to their views. - 7/15/2013   6:57:37 PM
  • 1149
    I grew up in a home like that. Fast, cheap food almost all the time. I ended up being very overweight. But, there is a big difference between my 180 at 16 and 550 at 14. This isn't "Have a happy meal" this is "Have as many Big Macs as you want".

    So it wasn't about not having the money, because eat enough fast food to get that big is not cheap. It's not a single $1 double cheese burger for dinner. It's much, much more than that.

    This is definitly neglect, and she should be charged. Kid needs to be put in a stable environment where he can be re-taught how to eat properly. I imagine he already has some really bad habits set in, and they need to be broken before he is an adult. - 6/21/2013   3:26:09 PM
  • 1148
    550 pounds isn't just "overweight". She should be charged with neglect. As far as not judging people go, would you be as righteous if the child was allowed to use heroin in the mothers household with her permission? - 6/5/2013   6:58:24 AM
  • 1147
    In my opinion, jail is definitely the place for the mom!

    She was killing her child.

    - 5/26/2013   11:35:18 PM
    When was the last time YOU were in the classroom? I graduated from high school two years ago, and I was never taught about healthy living, not once! My high school still serves pizza for breakfast and lunch and counts it as a "vegetable". To be clear, I live in a middle class area with a highly recommended school district. Just because you might know of a school that teaches good health habits does not mean that everyone is getting the same treatment in other parts of the country. - 5/23/2013   1:46:27 PM
    Not sure how current this is but my thoughtsays she should be charged with abuse. Don't know about working 2-3 jobs or any of that but, in this day and age, it is almost impossible not to know the dangers of eating too much fast food, etc. and getting little/no exercise. Hopefully things have gotten better for both of them so they can reunite and be a family. One can only hope. - 5/20/2013   11:56:29 AM
  • 1144
    I am not in the mothers shoes and don't know about their life. This story was in 2009 I would like to see an update on how and what they have been doing. - 5/16/2013   10:56:37 AM
  • 1143
    yes the mother should be removed from caring for the child. She had been offered intervention and help but never followed up on it. Since 550 lbs is a death sentence for the child if not corrected she is basically committing murder. If she had asked for help she could receive section 8 housing, food stamps, and welfare so she didn't have to work all these jobs. She is making excuses. - 5/13/2013   5:34:48 PM
  • 1142
    I think it's really hard for people to make the right choices when we're surrounded by unhealthy food. People aren't taught how to cook healthy food at home or in school and everywhere you look there is unhealthy convenience food. Every time I want to buy a snack on the go my options are chocolate, chips, candy and soda. I have to be really disciplined to avoid eating the bad stuff. The supermarkets are full of unhealthy frozen meals too. I think people should be taught cooking in school so they can be equipped to look after their families and themselves when they grow up. - 5/9/2013   11:39:34 AM
  • 1141
    First, fast food isn't cheaper than buying healthy foods and keeping them at home.

    Second, this kid was doing more than just living on fast food. When I was single many years ago, I had fast food at least 2 meals a day. (This would go on for weeks at a time) I did not gain a single pound. It was not remotely healthy, nor would I promote doing it. I probably got NO nutritional value from anything I ate at that time. I just wasn't over eating. I wasn't eating a super sized meal, I was getting something very small and then being done with eating.

    This is a form of child abuse. To me, it is like smoking. I'm not saying that someone might not know the entire list of dangers of smoking, but you have to know that inhaling smoke into your lungs isn't healthy. I would think that with all the news reports that come out, ANYONE would know fast food isn't healthy. I am not saying she knew HOW bad, but she had to know it wasn't good!

    On days when we need to have fast food as a family, we make the healthiest possible choices.

    My nearly 2 year old is the reason I realized I needed to control what I was eating, so that she didn't start eating a lot of junk. I wanted her to love fruits and veggies. AND SHE DOES! - 5/2/2013   1:59:40 PM
    We do not know how people cope. Too often we only see how "we" would have done it and how the other person simply did differently. Hating, being angry or pointing blame at this situation does not help the child or the mother. Rehabilitation is key. We all have our silent struggles. Too many people like to pinpoint what's wrong but too few offer the support needed. I hope this mom learns exactly what needs to be done to resolve the issue and the child to be in better health. - 4/29/2013   11:54:00 AM
    I think she should get a grip on her kids eating habits and enroll him in some dietary counceling of some sort. she should be face some sort of punishment but not jail time - 4/26/2013   12:59:27 PM
  • 1138
    Everyone says "provide counseling" and "teach nutrition". The mother said she COULD NOT AFFORD the foods the counselors recommended. This was a very poor household, a single mom working multiple jobs. Unfortunately the inexpensive food in our country is usually the most fattening food. Even the WIC program pushes milk and cheese and butter - fatty and fattening. Did the "helpers" get her food stamps? seek a retraining program to increase her earning power so she could work a little less and be home to cook and supervise her son's meals and snacks? He was fourteen - making a lot of his own choices. - 4/3/2013   10:01:53 PM
    This is a really sad case. Both the mom and son were failed in many ways by the system that is now bent on punishing them both. Yes, there should be ways to proctect the son, but what we really need is resources for parents. Maybe she asked for help and the ways things work, you have to be in dire straits before anything happens. As this child's weight increased where was the school, counselors, relatives, friends, social services, etc? 550 lbs is not something that you put on overnight , over a few weeks or months --it would take years. Jail is not the answer; the "nanny" state creates its own set of problems. This mom needs support and her kid needs his mother. - 3/26/2013   6:52:36 PM
  • 1136
    What would jail time do for the both of them? Sorry but I have issues with the govenment local or wise Medling as they do now. What about Nutriotional education for the mom and her son. What about exercise counseling for the both of them? What about intervention of some kind other than jail time. Listen folks all those who agree that this is write then expect the gov etc. to come in your house and tell you what else they want you to do or force you to do. This country is becoming more like a police state. What is ok for one state will be gone on the other states. I saw in a articule where a certain company which I will not name was next to firing those who are over weight or forcing them to join a wellness class. I ask when will the kind of control End. This does not surprise me much...But does make me angry. Yes this child was over weight to the max but has lost weight. What they need is help in every area of there life NOT JAIL! - 3/22/2013   10:34:49 AM
  • 1135
    What would jail time do for the both of them? Sorry but I have issues with the govenment local or wise Medling as they do now. What about Nutriotional education for the mom and her son. What about exercise counseling for the both of them? What about intervention of some kind other than jail time. Listen folks all those who agree that this is write then expect the gov etc. to come in your house and tell you what else they want you to do or force you to do. This country is becoming more like a police state. What is ok for one state will be gone on the other states. I saw in a articule where a certain company which I will not name was next to firing those who are over weight or forcing them to join a wellness class. I ask when will the kind of control End. This does not surprise me much...But does make me angry. Yes this child was over weight to the max but has lost weight. What they need is help in every area of there life NOT JAIL! - 3/22/2013   10:34:48 AM
  • 1134
    I have been evolved with cases like this before and i agree that mom shouldn't be in jail but she also shouldn't have custody of her son. - 3/18/2013   3:36:11 PM
  • 1133
    So sad....I can't imagine a mother letting her child gain that much weight! There are so many things that she could have/should have done to prevent it. I guess it's easier to make excuses than to do the right thing. - 3/18/2013   2:37:33 PM
  • BUD_44
    How could a parent let there child gain that much weight? - 3/17/2013   1:11:41 PM
  • 1131
    You know ... I was fortunate enough to grow up in a house where my mom gave me sweets like fruit snacks, fruit, etc. all the time ... NOT sugar and things like that. It wasn't until I was 8/9 that my aunt was allowed to buy me my first slurpee. I still grew to be 180 lbs. overweight eventually, despite my great upbringing.

    However, when a child (15 is still a child) is 250-300 lbs. overweight ... Something needs to happen. Should she be charged? No. But there should be some serious oversight of the family. Others have made comments about how if this was drugs, or liquor, etc. people would have stepped in already. It's the same general idea. The child's welfare is at risk.

    The social workers should ahve someone come in and help as much as they can. Help get him moving. Help train him to think differently about food. They need to do the same for his mother - counsel her on how to pick good foods that will provide for him and help him lose weight. - 3/15/2013   10:15:30 AM
  • 1130
    The "I don't have enough money for healthy food" always gets me when it is followed by: "Yes, I buy him fast food." So, you have no money to buy a few pounds of apples for $6.00 for the week but you have the money for a $8.00 fast food meal. Having said that, no I don't think she should be charged. I don't think she willingly hurt her child and her childs is old enough to make some choices on his own. I am a single mom and have worked a lot of hours in the past. I find that making lunches at home is more nutritious and cheaper than having the kids buy it at school. And it takes 2 minutes to make. By now he is old enough to make his own lunch! Get him some education in the format of a Bigger Loser or a retreat. As a taxpayer I am more than happy to help flip the bill if it saves a life. Get the mother some mandatory education. "I have no time" doesn't cut it. She HAS to ATTEND. Give her the tools for herself and teach her what she needs to do to support her son. Make it very clear to her that if she doesn't comply she will not have a relationship with her son. He either will feel unloved and unsupported by his mother or he will be dead. Make her earn him back with some good decisions. If we recognize food as an addiction, she should be treated just like any other addict who neglects her child. - 3/7/2013   1:32:50 PM
  • 1129
    In a word ~ "yes" she should be charged. - 2/18/2013   9:21:46 PM
  • 1128
    The children are rebelling over the changes made to the food system for many reasons. One of the reasons is that they're not feeding the kids enough to support an active lifestyle. While they might be feeding them enough to sit on their tushes, those that have athletics after school are not getting enough. My daughter goes to work out for 2 1/2 hours this evening. Is a tiny lunch enough to support her 2 1/2 hour workout? I don't think so.

    The other reason is that the mass-produced food is not tasty in many schools, even though it might be healthy. Healthy doesn't mean that the food has to taste like cardboard. - 2/18/2013   7:05:46 PM
  • KADEN11109
    Food is a huge part of society,her son is getting older and making food choices on his own.
    It is possible for her to change the situation by finding ways to better her work and home life. She could take classes on nutrition or at least research online. Perhaps take classes to expand on her job so she could spend more time at home and make more money. In other words, there is always a solution even if it isn't easy.
    I am hoping there is no other factors, like verbal, physical or sexual abuse going on that could have intensified the situation(not necessarily by her). If not, she should be able to get custody back,that is, if she shows that she is applying herself to make necessary changes.
    Being a parent isn't easy, even if you think you have it all figured out, there is something that comes up that makes you question yourself on what to do. - 2/18/2013   6:54:58 PM
    I saw an article where a child under the age of two was removed from his mother due to severe obesity. Later it was found the child had a rare genetic disorder and the mother was not at fault at all! This mother and child lost out on crucial time together. We do not know all the facts from this one article. It is so easy to judge and scream abuse. Could it be? Maybe. But I myself will restrain from casting a stone - 2/12/2013   12:10:04 PM
  • 1125
    It's not just her fault because somewhere along the line, his pediatrician should have stepped in, but she IS responsible for the food she brings into the house and should never have allowed it to get to that point. It didn't happen over night. For those who say a 14 yr old can make his own food, etc...that's true BUT again this didn't happen when he was just 14, or 13 or 12...
    We are responsible for our children's health and now this kid is a prime candidate for heart disease and strokes, etc. His emotional and social health have all been affected, too. - 2/12/2013   10:07:49 AM
  • 1124
    MY question is why is the mother working "several jobs" to make ends meet? Where is the father of the boy? If he is absent, why isn't he making child support payments? Why can't the mother get financial assistance from the State like so many low income single parents do when the other parent is a non-payer? I do not advocate living on public assistance, but it can be a "hand-up" and not a hand-out in some circumstances.

    My next concern is how could she not see what was happening with her son's weight? And how is it that nothing was done until he weighed 550 pounds? Didn't he have a pediatrician? What about the school nurse? Or his teachers?? While I do not think that she should be in jail, I do feel that her son needs to receive help she is either unable or unwilling to seek for him. In a situation where health is a concern, a rational, loving parent would cancel cable t.v. or some other non-essential to be able to pay for their child's medical concerns. We did and our children didn't suffer from it. - 1/29/2013   3:53:28 PM
    I have to agree that there's something more going on underneath this story then simply caloric overload and inactivity...this boy is crying out for help and attention. I can only imagine, given the innate cruelty of adolescents towards someone who does not fit in to their perceived norms (after all, weren't a lot of us victims of that bullying?), what he's going through on a day-to-day basis. It sounds like his Mom is struggling just to keep their heads above water- for many, that's not easy, even with only one job to have to contend with. It's a complex situation, and will probably need a multilayered support system for both of them to be of lasting help. I hope it works out.

    Best, Christine - 1/27/2013   10:30:31 PM

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