Utne Blogs > Literature

Encounters with the Nanny State

 by Julie Hanus

Tags: Great writing, essay writing, first person, child welfare, parenting, prosecution, Bridget Kevane, Brain, Child,

Brain, ChildA mother drops off her 12-year-old daughter and her friend—with ground rules in place—at the mall in Bozeman, Montana, with three younger children in tow. Within an hour, mall security calls her back. She returns. Two police offices are waiting there to tell her that she’s going to be arrested for endangering the welfare of her children.

In “Guilty as Charged: Her biggest crime? Trusting her own parenting,” Bridget Kevane patiently recalls the details of that day and the ones that would follow, plumbing her confusion, frustration, and guilt for the readers of Brain, Child. “During the months between my arrest and the deferred prosecution agreement that my lawyer eventually worked out, I began to feel that I was being reprimanded for allowing my daughter to develop [a] sense of responsibility,” she writes. What emerges is a courageously unadorned examination of her family’s ordeal, and an opportunity to reflect on the shrinking space available for parents to simply trust their instincts.

Source: Brain, Child