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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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I am going through a divorce and my ex-husband is an alcoholic.

Resolved Question:

I am going through a divorce and my ex-husband is an alcoholic. We have a three year old daughter and I'm am concerned for her safety, when with her father. Currently we have shared leagal and physical custody but I care for her seven nights a week, and she visits her father twice a week throught the daytime. I am responsible for dropping her off at his house, so that I don't put her in harms way by allowing him to drive. My cousin and I dropped her off last week at ten a.m. My ex-husband's girlfriend answered the door and appeared red and glassy eyed with small pupils and looked as if she was staggering. My ex-husband was still sleeping according to his girlfriend and said he worked until four a.m the night before. My daughters father then came to the door extremely tired and possibly hung over.

With hesitance I asked my three year old if she knows what booze is? He reply was, "yes, it's yucky mommy, it's really really yucky mommy, like poop." I said do you know anyone that drinks booze? she said, "yes." the I said, who drink booze? Quickly she replied, "Grandmom" then "mommy." I said no mommy and grandmom drink ice tea. She then said "yes mommy, daddy...daddy drinks booze." i asked her if his girlfriend drinks booze and she said "no." Then I asked does Daddy drink in front of you? "she said "YES MOMMY." I asked my daughter to show me how Daddy walks when drinking booze. Well she staggered and bit fell into the kitchen cabinets, then straightened out and clamed up.

Can a three year old give an adult reliable answers about this situation and should I be concerned? What should I do for help in this situatiion? I don't want to ask her her questions about her father but feel the need to know what may be going on.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Luann replied 6 years ago.

Luann :

Hello

Customer:

hi, thank you

Luann :

I can certainly understand your concerns for your daughter. You are right to not want to question your daughter about her father. It is very important that you keep her out of the middle. I recommend you get her into counseling with someone who is knowledgable in working with children and divorce. Let that person be the ears and eyes you are looking for so you can step back and just be a mom, not a detective. It is important that you keep your daughter safe, but rely on other adults (therapist, lawyer, social services) to accomplish this. Is a three year old reliable? yes and no. They have a very rich fantasy life at that age and can be easily led.

Customer:

will a therapist beable to find out some of the answers I need to know about my daugher?

Luann :

You need to be a mom. Support and educate your daughter. Find preschool books about alcoholism. Ask the children's librarian at your local library. They will be able to direct you to some great resources. Go to the Alanon website. They have publications that may be helpful too, http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/

Luann :

A therapist will not be a detective either and it would be counter productive to therapy to be in that role. But through the play therapy process, a therapist will be able to detect if there are concerns. They are also a mandated reporter, so any concerns will be reported.

Customer:

should I drop her off when I have concerns?

Customer:

Either way, I am doing my daughter an injustice

Customer:

I know what I see but there's no proof and she wants to see her father

Luann :

Yes, it is a horrible situation. You need to talk to an attorney about the best choices you have. If you don't drop her off, he may be able to build a case that you are denying him visitation. If you do drop her off, you worry. Ask your attorney. While you are in the process of divorce, you do not want to do anything that will jeopardize your custody. If he is able to see her more often because of missteps you take now, that would be a greater injustice.

Customer:

True. That's how I feel. This divorce is taking forever and it's awful all the way around. I will take your advice and seek a therapist.

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