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Ask Lori Gephart Your Own Question

Lori Gephart
Lori Gephart, Licensed Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  20 years of experience as a Psychologist and Parenting Coach. Parent of 2 grown children.
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My daughter leaves her son in our care even when we tell her

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My daughter leaves her son in our care even when we tell her it does not work for us to watch him. She lives with us but stays out to all hours of the night leaving us to care for him even when we need to be up for work. Does this constitute abandonment and if so can we act to take custody? She has past substance abuse issues and we are afraid this is the reason for this current behavior.

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I am sorry to hear that you are having such a difficult situation with your daughter. Family issues with someone who is not behaving responsibly can be quite difficult. It can be especially disturbing when it puts your grandchild at risk.


Given that you are in the home when she goes out, it may not be considered abandonment, unless you specifically notify her that you are unable to watch your grandson. You can certainly check with ChildLine about whether they would consider this abuse. ChildLine can be reached at(NNN) NNN-NNNNor


It is certainly possible that substance abuse may be playing a part in your daughter's actions. Unfortunately, the more you enable her to not have to face the consequences of her actions, the more she will continue these behaviors. It can be very difficult to employ tough love, particularly if you are fearful for your grandson. You may be able to set limits without telling her to move out. However, it can be very difficult to reason with someone who is abusing substances.


You may find Alanon helpful in providing information for family members of those with addictions:


Keep in mind that you can give your daughter unconditional love without enabling or agreeing with her choices. Even more importantly, you can give unconditional love and support to your grandson which will help him to be more resilient throughout his life. I hope this answer is helpful. Please let me know if I can clarify further.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The issue is further complicated by the fact her husband is in a half way house and she is having an affair w another man. If we act against her should we act against him at the same time? Also my wife wants to lock her out but I am concerned this borders on kidnapping - am I all wet on this thought?

Thank you for the additional information. I am not sure what you mean by act against him. If you contact ChildLine and they tell you that this is a reportable case of child neglect, then the investigating authorities will decide who to charge and how to proceed. If you are setting limits, then these limits should most likely include the father of the child and/or the man your daughter is having the affair with, if they also have a pattern of crossing your boundaries. Locking your daughter out without allowing her to have her child, unless your have received temporary custody, is a dangerous plan since it could result in charges of kidnapping if your daughter chooses to file charges. Until or unless you have been granted custody of your grandson, you are still only concerned grandparents in the eyes of the law and have no legal rights with him. If you keep him and lock out his mother you may risk the possibility of getting custody of him in the future by disobeying the law and having this on file. Proceed with caution here. I wish you the best with this difficult situation. Please let me know if I can be of further help.

Lori Gephart and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your help and insight.
You are very welcome. Good luck with this.

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