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by Andrew D. Gibson, Ph.D.



Spike, a ten year old out of control boy, has friends. We all have friends. But his friends aren’t the kind you want him around. They surely aren’t the kind you want him to bring home, not that he cares.

He will bring his friends home if he wants to but generally he doesn’t want to because home is boring and he spends a lot of time trying to escape it anyway. Since home is the scene of much of his anger, Spike isn’t around it any more than he has to.

Instead, he hangs with the bottom feeders any place else. That’s what the cops call them. The bottom feeders are a motley bunch of misfits and losers. There are girls and boys. Some are older. Some younger. There is the adopted kid and the foster kid and the kid who got thrown out of his house and kid who lives with his grandparents because his parents are such jerks, etc.

There are a bunch of kids. They all hate their parents, they all hate school and they all hate anyone who looks remotely successful. So they huddle together in some run down house which belongs to one of these kid’s Moms. The Mom isn’t in much better shape than the kids. She probably has a history of depression, alcohol abuse and difficulty holding down a job.

The one thing she does really well is, she accepts them. She thinks these kids are hers and she loves everyone one of them. Her compassion for these rejects is really remarkable. The kids act very differently around her than they do in front of their own parents. It tells you something about their potential. Remove the threat and watch them relax.

What this lady does is show acceptance by never criticizing, by listening and by obvious caring. Do you think you could co-exist with Spike and not criticize? Listen? Care? Sure, her skill is probably an extension of her own unfulfilled need for love. It is likely that she has a desperate history of her own. But so what?

This sort of thing happens in every town in America. But this Mom isn’t going to be invited over anywhere for tea. In fact, she will probably end up getting herself arrested for supplying booze to minors. But in the meanwhile, she plugs a hole in these kid’s lives. Their parents could learn from her if they would.


About The Author


Dr. Andrew Gibson was born in Detroit at the close of WWII. He grew up in the midst of farming country in central Michigan. Both parents were teachers. He keeps a picture of his childhood companion, Wags, to this day (you had to see the tail to appreciate the name). After discharge from the Navy after the Viet Name war, he graduated with a BA and MA from San Diego State University and earned his Ph. D from the University of Connecticut. He has taught at Portland State University, n Portland Oregon, at the University of Maine, Presque Isle and at SUNY New Paltz. He resides in Eastern Connecticut, with his wife of 41 years, where he conducts a private practice in parenting seriously difficult children. His book “Got An Angry Kid? Parenting Spike-A Seriously Difficult Child’ is the first of a series examining seriously difficult children at various age and emotional disturbance levels. He invites you to find him on the web at

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