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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 6011
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Should there be a concern with an emotionally dependent mother

Customer Question

Should there be a concern with an emotionally dependent mother who restricts her 5 year old son, who she herself has often questioned why she had him and does not know what to do with or how to deal with, from an aunt, who they live with, that he states he wants to spend time with and is made to feel he is doing something wrong when he tells her this and is being told he should not love the aunt as much because "she is only an aunt not your mother" and he is made to sleep in bed with her instead of the room she insisted he have when they moved in 2.5 years ago and he has been grinding his teeth in his sleep as well as losing sleep due to his 1 year old sister sleeping in a crib in the same room who wakes screaming all night long because she was held constantly for first 4 months and now has sleep issues and mother refuses to follow doctor advice and move crib from bedroom. These are just a few of the issues concerning this situation
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that this mother is having this level of difficulty and dependence with her son, I can understand why this might distress you

Dr. Z :

The behavior you described is definitely of concern as this can lead to severe attachment disorders in the 5 year old child, and can influence the child's further social and emotional development

Dr. Z :

Also the mother is definitely emotionally dependent on the child and forming an inappropriate attachment as well by making the child sleep in the bed with her and telling him that he should not love others in a certain way because they are not his mother. This demonstrates her need for the child to rely on her and only her, so this attachment issue is and will continue to effect both of them

Dr. Z :

If the mother went to a therapist possibly to address these attachment concerns, she can learn to understand why she has this attachment to children in order to help her cease the behavior, but also it will help her realize how this attachment issue is negatively effecting the children as well

Dr. Z :

I would also like to recommend these books as well

Dr. Z :

Attachment issues for children can really effect their social development and how they interact with their peers and how they form relationships in the future, so it is very important to curb this behavior by the mother now so that this attachment issue will not effect them as greatly in the future

Customer:

Do you believe that this is a significant concern for emotional and psychological abuse to at least the 5 year old son? I am noticing him becoming reticent and afraid to show any emotion towards not only myself but my husband and my mother, her grandmother and the childs great grandmother? He has started to affect lies to his mother and when he feels that she is upset and or mad at him when he does spend time with me he feels it necessary to tell me that he "loves mama more than you" when she is present and when he does talk to me about these things he says she is always yelling at him and telling him he is being bad and putting him on time out if he doesn't pick his toys up fast enough or if he tells his sister to not grab the toys he is playing with (she allows the daughter to completely wreck his train sets or blocks whatever he is playing with at the time). He's always asking me to stay with him "forever" "but don't tell mama". I am getting VERY concerned about the issues of abuse doubly so because I am a Paramedic with specialty training in child abuse and pediatric care and in my state I am an obligated reporter yet I do not know how to handle this situation and no matter how I raise the subject with her she simply tells me I have no idea what I'm talking about and when I tell her what he says to me and to the others in the house she denies saying I phrase the questions to get the answer I want even when I tell her I don't ask any questions.

Dr. Z :

I think your suspicion of child abuse is definitely a valid one and should very well be considered. I definitely see emotional/psychological abuse with this behavior, but I do not think it is deliberate from the mother. I think the mother very much cares for her children, but has her own psychological issues of dependence and attachment that she is projecting to the children and causing this level of emotional abuse. The 5 year old's behavior is definitely troubling and should be assessed by a child psychologist because this can be very harmful to his development

Customer:

I cannot thank you enough for your assistance. Do you recommend any ways to approach this subject and any type of specifics for the child or mother

Customer:

Specifics meaning types of counselor

Dr. Z :

Well the specific therapist would be a child psychologist, but if there is none around or available then a child therapist would be okay, but they are not as well trained as a psychologist. A child psychologist can address the needs of the child and the parenting sytle/attachment issues with the mother as well. If you like, you can give me the zip code where they live and I can recommend a good psychologist in the area

Customer:

Another point I feel I need to address is her mother was murdered when she was 6. She never received counseling and she became very dependent on me and still is in many ways. I am the one she always has and does turn to for any and all help. I am very confused by this too because even when her mother was alive she always wanted to be with me the same as he does, she even referred to me as her 2nd mother.

Customer:

My zip code is 17406 York Pennsylvania

Dr. Z :

Well attachment issues at a young age that were never resolved can occur now as an adult. This appears to be a psychological mechanism where she is so attached to her children that she does so to protect them. Like I said I believe she cares about her children very much, but her dependency and attachment issues are more of a psychological issue with her because of her past trauma that were never addressed or resolved.

Dr. Z :

Give me a couple minutes to compile a good list of psychologists in the area

Customer:

I do know that contributes greatly to her psychological issues but I just cannot understand her feeling this way with me about her son and do not know why she says she doesn't know why she had him and or what to do with him

Customer:

Thank you

Dr. Z :

Because she does not want anyone to take her son away from her, because in her mind she is concerned that her son will love you more than her. It is not true, but this is the negative thought process in her mind

Dr. Z :

I believe that these psychologists can help her and her son with these issues as they specialize in Child Psychology and Parenting issues

Customer:

Thank you again. You have been exceptionally helpful.

Customer:

Am I able to print out a transcript of this?

Dr. Z :

Actually when you finish rating me, this chat will be sent as a link to your email, if it has not already, so you can always use it for future reference. In addition, this chat will be saved in your JA account under My Questions so you can always go back to it when you need to

Dr. Z :

So all the links I provided will always be saved for you

Customer:

Thank you

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 6011
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
Dr. Z and 3 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much for the positive review and very generous bonus, I truly appreciate it! If you every have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at anytime.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you again. I will be contacting these suggestions to see which will work best. I truly appreciate your taking the time to give me all of the research info and the names. Really unexpected and beyond expectations.

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.
Anytime, I am always happy to help and I wish you and your family all the best :)

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Dr. Z
Dr. Z
Psychologist
5403 Satisfied Customers
Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.