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Ask Luann Your Own Question

Luann
Luann, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 158
Experience:  Licensed Psychologist, 24 years experience working with children, adolescents, families and adults.
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My daughter suffers from manic depression and bipolar. For

Resolved Question:

My daughter suffers from manic depression and bipolar. For over a year she suffered panic attacks and could ot leqave the house. she is now doing a little better on that issue. she weighs over 300lbs and for years does nothing but sit in her chair. Her husband has emotional abused her for years and he also has a drug problem. she won't get rid of him because he al least cooks. He has many times ran around the house screaming he is going to kill himself. there are two children in the house, both girls aged 16 and 6. the oldest is already taking antidepressents.
When he acts like this the oldest starts crying (stepdaughter) and the other one says I don't want you to die daddy. The screaming and arguing with filthy language goes on all the time. The house is filthy. I once called children and youth but they were warned ahead of time and cleaned up before theycame. My husband and I have the girls every other weekend and try to show them some normal life. What can be done to save these girls that I haven't done?
go
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Luann replied 5 years ago.

Luann :

Hello

Luann :

What a horrible situation. Your anguish for your daughter and grandchildren is understandable. I hope you realize that you are doing a tremendous amount for your grandchildren by having them at your house on a regular basis. Having just one caring adult in a child's chaotic life is shown to be a huge asset.

Customer:

Hi Luann

Luann :

It may be helpful for you to talk directly to a social worker at social services. Make an appointment with an child protection worker and describe the situation. Ask them what your options are. The emotional abuse should be reportable.

Customer:

thank you but i need more advice

Luann :

Tell me what specific questions you have.

Customer:

itold you that i contacted children and youth and they found nothing wrong

Luann :

It sometimes takes multiple reports before social services can take action. Do not stop making reports when new incidents occur. A first report, even if it is not substantiated, puts a family on the social service radar. A second, third report adds substance to their documentation of abuse. If the 16 year old is telling you about verbal abuse, poor living conditions, neglect, encourage her to tell the same thing to a school counselor. They will be required to file a report. Having concerns coming from multiple sources will also add to documenting abuse.

Luann :

I also encourage you to help educate the children on their mom's mental illness, drug abuse and domestic violence. That is a large order, but contact a local program for victims of assault. They should be able to recommend resources appropriate for 6 and 16 year olds on the topic of domestic violence. Go to your local library and ask the children's librarian for age appropriate resources on the topics of bipolar disorder and drug abuse. There are excellent resources out there. A big thing you can do for your grandchildren is to let them know that they are not at fault and to give them accurate information on the craziness in their family. I also recommend that you get involved with NAMI (national alliance on mental illness), www.nami.org. They are a great resource. They could recommend books for the children and may have a local support group that would be helpful for you.

Customer:

My daughter suspects that i contacted chldren and youth before and she is always threatening me that I won't see the girls. She does haveproblems with the youngest because she doesn't listen etc, then of course i get her to give mom a break. Two doctors are aware of this situation and one is the family doctor. By law aren't they required to report this abuse? I think there were be more action if one of them reported it but it seems no one wants to get involved.

Luann :

You are right, doctors are mandated reporters. Physical abuse is fairly clear for phsyicians but emotional abuse and neglect is less clear cut. I recommend that you talk with the doctors and teachers. Get everyone more aware or your concerns.

Customer:

You didn't answer my question. aren't doctors obligated to report abuse?

Luann :

Yes they are mandated reporters. Sometimes what they have knowledge of does not meet the criteria of a reportable incident. They may even report but social services determines that it does not meet the criteria for investigation. If they report and it is not investigated no one would know about it.

Luann :

Focus most of your energy on the girls. Maintain a positive relationship, like I said, a positive, caring adult in a child's life has been proven to be a big factor in future success and well being. While you can't change how their parent's behave, you can let the girls know that their behavior is not OK, that it is hurtful. Let them know they are good girls and not in any way at fault for their parents problems.

Customer:

They are already aware of this. the older one said to me just afew weeks ago she wished she had parents to look up to. we have talked many times about what a good marriage and relationship should be like. I tell her to find aman like her grandfather.

Luann :

It sounds like you have a good relationship with your granddaughters. The fact that your 16 year old granddaughter can be so open with you is fantastic! Maybe you can help her connect with other mentors, maybe through a program at her school or in the community. Maybe in a field that she is interested in. Or a family friend. Another woman she could look up and who could be a role model to her. You and your husband are being wonderful role models for them. Do not underestimate the power of that.

Customer:

Thank you for your help. You have given me encouragement to protect the girls. bye.

Luann :

You are welcome! Good luck to you and those beautiful girls!

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