If no one thinks you can change, would you bother to try? I’ve had the opportunity to work with people in prison for child molestation, murder, assault, drugs, and other assorted crimes. Looking down your nose at people who have made bad decisions rarely makes them want to make better choices. Seeing something beautiful within them? That makes them want to change.
I’ve known a normally neglectful parent who was fantastic at making holidays special for the kids. Could you compliment her on the Christmas crafts she arranges and invite her to do crafts on a non-holiday to better engage with the kids year round?
A physically abusive single mom was an excellent cook. Could you build up her self esteem by asking her for recipes or tips so she has more personal reserves to draw upon when she’s in danger of losing her temper?
A sexually abusive parent was a creative inventor. If you tell him you think his inventions are cool, could he realize that he’s not a 100% bad person and find the courage to battle pedophilia?
Clearly, you can’t force anyone to change. Parents have to want to do better and then follow through with the hard work necessary to get their children back. But you can make a concerted effort to appreciate their positive characteristics, and perhaps that extra boost will help them become the kind of parents their children desperately need them to be.