Charlie Sheen Risks Bi-Losing Custody of His Kids. Should He?
I’m going to start by stating the obvious without rehashing all the gory details: Charlie Sheen is a mess.
This past Saturday, his wife, Brooke Mueller (from whom he is separated; pictured above) was told by police that she could not have the boys removed from Sheen’s home. She cited concerns for their safety, while cops cited the custody order that gave Sheen the right to have the boys in his care at that time.
But by Wednesday, the cops were at Sheen’s door to remove the boys from his custody after Mueller filed for a restraining order based on a long list of abuses attributed to Sheen (none alleging child abuse). A judge ruled that Sheen must stay at least 100 yards away from Mueller and the children. Initially after the children were removed from his home, Sheen did not know their whereabouts, but later tweeted that the boys were “fine.”
(An aside: If Charlie is really concerned about his kids, he’ll cut lose the “member of his entourage” who videoed and then released footage of him and his not-yet-2-year-old twins as they are being taken away by police.)
Sheen also tweeted that “Defeat is not an option.” Hopefully, this wasn’t just another crazy soundbite of which he’s been rather fond of late, but rather an indication of his plans to get his act together and restore his parental rights, for his kids’ sake. We have come to know Charlie as the bi-winning genius with a history of violence against women (about which he’s unrepentant) whose demons cost him a hit TV show. But for two little boys, he’s still “dada.”
Over the nearly 3 years since I co-founded CoParenting101.org with my ex-husband, I have been continually astounded and saddened by just how much the family court system will subject children to before (if ever) lowering the lost-custody boom, all in the name of the sanctity of the parent-child bond. And certainly that bond is sacred. And to be sure, reasonable people disagree as to what makes someone a good parent. Some parents get a raw deal in family court. Others get too many 2nd chances at the expense of their children’s well-being. Some judges overreach; others don’t reach far enough to protect children, dismissing legitimate concerns from distraught parents. Some parents make false accusations. Some are indeed abusive or negligent. The end result? Too often, the family court system feels–pardon my French–like a fucking crap shoot, and kids deserve better.
So back to Charlie Sheen, Brooke Mueller, and their sons. I believe Sheen’s history of violence, his addiction, and obvious mental impairment warrant at the very least an investigation into the environment where his children are when they are in his custody, and into his competency to care for them. And if their mother’s situation is also cause for concern as some reports suggest, she should be held to the same standards and scrutinized as well. Finally, it should be mandated for all four of them to attend counseling. In general, my layperson’s opinion rests with the sentiments of John at SingleParentTravel.net who wrote that supervised parenting time–not permanent loss of custody–may be in order. I believe the court system is well-intentioned in having as its goal the maintenance of the parent-child bond, and to offer solutions like supervision, short- and long-term. Such solutions, ideally, protect parental rights while also protecting children.
Parenting is not an absolute right. But it is an absolute responsibility. Charlie Sheen must show himself to be responsible and fit for the job of parenting those boys. Whether Brooke Mueller’s allegations are true or not, what is undeniable is that Sheen’s public behavior has left him wide open to questions about his parenting competency. And for that, he must take full responsibility.
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