And the Worst Parent of the Year Award Goes to…
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And the Worst Parent of the Year Award Goes to…


and the worst parent of the year award goes toIn Indiana, Karin Hildebrand, a mother of two underage children, was arrested last week for some serious drug possession and neglect charges that add up to major bad parenting. The whistle was blown on her Mother of The Year award when one of the teenagers she had been supplying and smoking weed with told his mom about the shenanigans that had been going down at Club Hildebrand. And while I can’t imagine this kid will escape serious hazing from his peers for tattle telling, it’s a good thing he did.

The Danger in “Cool” Parenting

When I was in high school, there were a few kids who had those “cool” moms. Typically, this meant that we could do to their house after school or on the weekends and drink without being bothered by parental intervention. In some cases, it was because the parent wasn’t home and in others it was because they simply ignored what we were doing. In either case, some discretion was required on our part; we at least had to sneak the booze in our backpacks and lock the bedroom door. But there were a couple of moms who allowed us to drink out in the open and one who even let us smoke pot at the kitchen table.

As much as I enjoyed the comfort of not having to sneak around, the homes where the parents would allow us to party always gave me the creeps. I took advantage of it, sure—I’m not one to ignore a free gift—but even at the age of 15, it didn’t sit right with me. It was so glaringly against the grain of what I had been shown by teachers, other parents and my own mother about what it meant to be an adult that I knew these parents were dysfunctional and it gave me the Icks. But yeah, I still went there.

As someone who is now closer to Hildebrand’s age than her kids’ age, I feel like the problem here goes much deeper than her wanting to be a cool mom. An adult—a parent—who not only encourages her children to experiment with drugs but also provides them with the goods and environment to do it in has got to be so overtaken by her own addiction that she actually sees these kids as peers—like cool young party pals. And the profound psychological disconnect that this behavior is indicative of is what makes this story, which is merely a slice of reality for her children, so daunting.

Alas, this sort of thing isn’t entirely uncommon. Just a couple of years ago, Brandi Baumgardner, a mom in Beaver Springs, PA, got her daughter hooked on heroin—going as far as to shoot her up when she was too sick from withdrawals to do it herself. And Baumgardner was God knows where when her daughter prostituted herself for Suboxone at the age of 14. I’m going to say that again: a 14-year-old girl was so strung out on heroin that she pimped herself out for a drug that is used to supposedly prevent opiate withdrawal symptoms; sounds like she was pretty desperate not to get sick.

Punishment Doesn’t Fit the (Very Common) Crime

But what’s most upsetting is that Baumgardner was only charged with endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors. Um, can we talk about a slap on the wrist for a mother who injected her underage child with highly addictive and lethal drugs, gifting her with a lifetime battle with addiction—one that, if not managed will most likely kill her? No, I’m sorry—that’s not justice.

Amazingly, according to a survey done of Phoenix House residents, one in five drug abusers in the US obtained drugs for the first time from their own parents and were 19 times more likely to have been introduced to illegal drugs by a family member than an outside drug dealer. (It’s worth noting, however, that Phoenix House caters to low-income addicts.)  Sadly, as a Magic 8-Ball might say, the future for the 15-year old and nine-year old children of Karin Hildebrand could best be categorized as “Outlook not so good.”

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About Author

Danielle Stewart is a Los Angeles-based writer and recovering comedian. She has written for Showtime, E!, and MTV, as well as print publications such as Us Weekly and Life & Style Magazine. She returned to school and is currently working her way towards a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves coffee, Law & Order SVU, and her emotional support dog, Benson.