Your Boyfriend is NOT Your Babysitter; Watch Your Own Kids

Your Boyfriend is NOT Your Babysitter; Watch Your Own Kids
Maleah Davis, age 4.

By Zondra Hughes

Maleah Davis, a precious 4-year-old child, deserved to grow up.

Yet, time and time again her safety was put at risk.

It’s hard to empathize with Maleah’s grieving mother, Brittany Bowens, when the Maleah updates spread across news sites like an infection, each new detail more painful than the last.

But context is key here, according to Brittany’s supporters and there are two sides to her fateful decision. Brittany's backstory: WHOU confirmed that Brittany travelled to Massachusetts to attend the funeral for her father, Benjamin Bowens, Sr.

Before she left town, Brittany ended her engagement to fiancé Derion Vence, after allegedly discovering nude photos that he sent to another man.  Thus, Brittany was grief-stricken about her own father’s death and in shock about the end of her relationship with Derion when she decided to leave Maleah behind.

After all, Brittany and Derion were an item for years, and the two had a son together…surely, he wouldn’t do anything to hurt her child.

Maleah and her devastated mother, Brittany.

Maleah and her devastated mother, Brittany.

Or would he?

According to the Houston Chronicle, Derion “told police that he pulled over to check a flat tire around 9 p.m. last Friday while driving to Bush Intercontinental Airport to pick up [Brittany] Bowens. He said he was with Maleah and his 1-year-old son when three men approached him and knocked him unconscious, near Interstate 69 and Greens Road. He said he blacked out until 6 p.m. Saturday.”

Police weren't buying it, and Derion was arrested, held on a $1 million bond for tampering with a corpse.

Brittany's backstory became problematic when journalists discovered there were several red flags about Derion’s treatment of Maleah before the little girl disappeared:

Reportedly, at some point during the relationship, Brittany confronted Derion about beating Maleah while the child was sick.

Still, the couple stayed together.

Brittany also noticed scars on Maleah’s legs and had suspicions of sexual abuse. “It was out of fear and out of being threatened by Mr. Derion that she covered up physical abuse of Maleah that the stepfather was doing,” Quanell X, Brittney’s spokesperson, said. “For some reason, she was unwilling to tell everything she knew about him. And I think the mother has a twisted love for the man.”

Still, the couple stayed together.

Maleah; Derion and Brittney.

Maleah; Derion and Brittney.

Maleah suffered a head wound that required brain surgery.

This injury prompted Texas Child Protective Services to remove Maleah and her younger brother from the home while the abuse allegations were investigated.  It was determined that Maleah suffered a fall, and the children were returned to the home.

Still, the couple stayed together.

Finally, Brittany ended the relationship when she discovered the nude photos.

It’s painful—and perhaps unfair—to discuss the mind-boggling actions of a mother who has lost her child. At this point, however, I’m equally concerned about the children who are at risk right now because of a parent’s poor judgement.

So, I will say this to their mothers, YOUR BOYFRIEND IS NOT YOUR BABYSITTER.  Watch your own child, beloved. Here's why:

The man he is with you may not be the man he is with your child.  "Anecdotally, providers and people in the child welfare system are certainly aware of the increased risk of mothers' boyfriends [to children], especially those who come late on the scene," clinical psychologist Jennifer Shaw, who works as a partner of the Gil Institute for Trauma and Recovery, tells Vice. "Boyfriends are not necessarily involved in the infancy phase, where a lot of the attachment and bonding with the child takes place."

Some men envy the attention that you give your child and may secretly compete with him.  Notes Dr. Kurt Smith, Clinical Director of Guy Stuff Counseling & Coaching, “Men in particular are susceptible to feelings of jealousy, especially during the infant and toddler years. Your man, who may have been the picture of a doting father-to-be, now finds himself an outsider and onlooker to a very unique bond. A bond with which he feels he cannot participate or compete.”

But there’s more: Some men resent the child because that kid looks like your ex.

Some men want to relax at home and a screaming, non-potty-trained toddler is enough to make him snap.

And, regretfully, some men don’t love themselves enough to love their own child—let alone yours.

Looking for love, a helpmate, perhaps even a father figure for your child is understandable; especially since there are good men out there, willing and able to love you and your child as if s/he were his own.

But slow down.

Investigate your potential mate thoroughly before you bring him into your child’s life. Avoid the man that emotionally or physically abuses you or your child to proclaim himself as the head of your household.

If you’re dating, cohabitating, or even engaged to someone, do not assign solo babysitting duties until you’ve determined that your partner is patient, mentally stable, cares for your child and will do no harm.

An ideal partner will protect you and your child; he will be secure in his manhood and the exchange of love and respect between him and your child will flow naturally.

And he is out there, sis.

#JusticeForMaleah

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