Don't spank your children. While the CPS views physical abuse as non-accidental physical injury to your child like kicking, burning, striking or biting, I've definitely revisited my discipline plan. Spanking is guilt-ridden but commonly sprinkled in when time-outs seem ineffective in many households. Although Kansas is pushing to make child abuse legal, ditching spanking altogether is easier than ending up in the Big House.
Don't skip doctor's visits. It's your parental duty to provide food, clothing, medical care and shelter to your children. But when busy schedules and a tight budget make you weigh whether or not to skip a trip to the pediatrician's office, you may end up with CPS knocking on your door — like these Colorado parents who had their 7-year-old removed from her home for untreated seizures.
Don't let your child get mad at you. You may not think you're emotionally neglecting your child, but if the officials sense depression, anxiety, withdrawal or aggressive behavior in your kid then you may be in for a visit to the clink. So when you're in an angry moment, check yourself and see if you're scarring your kids for life. These parents who locked their kids in the closet obviously didn't think things through before ticking off their kids.
Don't get bombed in front of your kids. Sure, not using illegal drugs or brewing your own smack at home gets you a gold star in parenting, but take a controlled substance or have a little too much booze in front of your kids and you may end up in the slammer like this drunk teacher in Oklahoma. I'm not turning my nose up at parents who battle addiction, but knowing your limits when having to care for your kids is a good rule of thumb for staying out of jail.
Don't leave your kids alone. The child abandonment topic is hot, thanks to headlines like the mom who was arrested for letting her 9-year-old daughter play at the park while she worked. But even if you think your kids are mature enough to take care of themselves, you may not want to give them latchkey status. I am way too paranoid to let my kids play outside, let alone stay home alone, but one thing is for sure — the big discussion isn't going away anytime soon.
Although these scary ways CPS can take your kids from you are enough to make you question your every parenting move, steering clear of any decision that can be interpreted as child neglect, child abuse or even just leaving kids alone at home is your best way to keep your kids safe in your arms.
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