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Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
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Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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Granddaughter (5 years) has revealed that she showered with

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Granddaughter (5 years) has revealed that she showered with a female adult and mother instructed her to not tell her father because he would make fun of mother. This is second time daughter has been allowed to shower with same person (both naked and washing each other.) Although person is related, child had only recently met her. Mother lied to social workers about who the person was. There is absolutely no doubt who it was. DCFS was called by father after first incident and they found no issues. Mother appears to be more concerned about protecting this adult then her own daughter. Mothers boyfriend (now husband) has also instructed child to keep secret from her mother. Secret involved child, then 4, sitting on his lap and passenger front seat while driving around looking at xmas lights. When police car appeared, child was told to duck to avoid trouble. When asked if her mom knew about it, she replied "no, because mommy will spank me". While the mother and husband are spankers, mother has never been too concerned about car safety. To me, the plausible scenario is that the child was told by the boyfriend to not tell her mother or else! So there are two issues here (at least). One being the showers and the other being the secrets. Should the father once again report to DCSF? Father has primary custody. How can this child be helped going forward if the situation does not improve?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Camille-Mod replied 4 years ago.

Hi,

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Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 4 years ago.

Hi! I'll be glad to be of help with this issue.

I can imagine how frustrating and worrisome this situation must be for you. You are clearly a loving and caring grandmother. You also see things in a level perspective. I say this because you have identified what do indeed seem to be the two very important issues here: the showers and secrets. And you recognize that you have to be careful in actions taken so that they don't backfire, which is so important.

And this is actually the key to my answer to you.There is good reason to be prudent and not to act quickly and impulsively. You are right about this. DCSF, the father has to remember, can only act on evidence it has in place. The father and you have years of knowledge about the situation; DCSF only has the information it's been told by the various "players" and it has no way to sort out who's telling the truth and who's being malicious and who's being vengeful or spiteful, etc.

Therefore, were the father to file another complaint without clear evidence, he would begin to establish his position as being a problem rather than the mother being a problem. Because he's making assertions that have no evidence that DCSF can use to back up his statements.

I know this is very frustrating. I've known lawyers in Child Protective Services in my state, for example, who are also frustrated when they do see something is going on but there's no evidence. And I've talked to the case workers in Social Services and they are in a tough position: who are they supposed to believe?

Therefore, it's very important for you and the father to keep being vigilant. For two reasons. First, as soon as there is any actual evidence, then you have something to report. So keep watching for actual evidence. And second, because even though you can't yet do anything to change your granddaughter's situation, don't underestimate the importance of being in her life. And if the father and you the grandmother get the mother to the point where she begins to withhold contact, then your influence will be minimized and that would be a shame and a real loss for the girl.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dr. Mark,


 


The court awarded the father primary custody last year. Mother cannot withhold visitation w/o being in contempt.


 


In light of the custody arrangement, would you change your answer regarding DFCS? What are the risks of being labeled a problem with DFCS and is there any value in the mother once again being visited by the agency? Even as I ask you that question, I must worry because the mother is motivated by spite and also has a false rape accusation in her past (not my son) by her own admission.


 


The primary concern being for the child, is there any remedy? What constitutes evidence in this matter? Will DFCS ever find exposure and touching inappropriate in this scenario? Would they interview the child? Should a police report be filed against the adult who was bathing with the child?


 


Mother and others on mothers side also gaslight the child and the result is heartbreaking. So to confront the mother would likely expose the child to this possibility. How can we get the knowledge from the child to a third unbiased person without the mother trying to mess with her head again.


 


Would a therapist be helpful and how does my son go about it without making the child just clam-up in the future to protect mommy or for fear of mommy getting mad?


 


Thanks.


 


 


 


 

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 4 years ago.
Hi. I apologize for the delay: I was away until today.


That the court has awarded the father primary custody is important in establishing credibility. Courts today tend to award joint/shared custody and there must have been some overriding reason for the court to award primary custody. So that helps.


However, all governmental child agencies must adhere to strict rules of evidence. They can be subjective to some extent, so the custody, for example, can help but it can't undo the need for some outside evidence other than interested parties' accusations.


What the child says is evidence. However, the child really needs to say something to a school official or a therapist or some outside party to be very effective if agency has already investigated once and not found anything to go on. The gaslighting is heartbreaking and so a therapist might be the best way to proceed as you are thinking.


Since there is no physical evidence (we're not dealing with physical abuse per se) then really a therapist's assessment might be the best way to establish credibility here.


I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5313
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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