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Carol Kryder LMFT
Carol Kryder LMFT, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 808
Experience:  APA Board Certified, Diplomate,Substance Abuse Professional, 20 years family therapy experience
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My grandson just spent 12 days in Minnesota with his

Resolved Question:

My grandson just spent 12 days in Minnesota with his father's family. When he came back home to his mom he is acting different. He is saying his name is Domeier (father) not Burns (mother), won't tell his mother he loves her (he used to say that randomly at any given time) is pretending to be shy and withdrawn when before he wasn't afraid of anything. The custody battle was ugly and his father continues to demean and talk badly about his mother in his presence. My daughter is very hurt by all this and is lost as to what she should do. He's only 3 and my feeling is that she just needs to continuously show him that his mother loves him very much and that as he gets older he will understand the things he has been told will prove not to be true. Do you think my daughter needs to have him evaluated because she feels he is being caused irreperable psychological harm and she doesn't know how to make this stop.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Carol Kryder LMFT replied 7 years ago.
Hello and Welcome to JustAnswer. Your question is not closed until you are satisfied with the answer.

This is a most distressing situation and this child's father is abusing him with this type of behavior. Your instincts are correct, however. Your daughter should continue to reassure this child that she loves him and Daddy also loves him, but disagrees with Mommy about certain things, like his name, etc.

If she continues to take the high road and not stoop to Dad's level by demeaning him, the child will eventually see his Dad for what he is. He may even tell Dad to stop bad-mouthing Mom.

She does not need to have him evaluated because he was only with Dad for two weeks and those effects will fade away, thankfully. (Until next summer, of course). Mom needs to be consistent with her love and affection for him, and resist the urge to put the child in the middle by forcing him to choose between his parents. I promise he will get the message when he is older. Some of them figure it out by age 10.

In the meantime, she needs to talk to her lawyer about this situation and see if it is worth it to her to get a court order compelling him to stop this behavior; not that he will, of course, but at least she can know the judge is behind her on this, as am I.

Please let me know if you have further questions. I wish you and your daughter the very best in this difficult situation.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
This situation occurred because she allowed him to take their son to visit his family for more time than he was actually granted by the court (12 instead of 7 days). She has always worried that he would bring him back but so far he has done that (he would lose his job here if he didn't return). He says such ugly things to her, even in front of Colt because he knows how much it hurts her. He has almost equal visitation with him (except for one night) every other week so what should she do when he's with her to try to anticipate the things his father puts in his head when he spends time with him. This is so hateful and he's just a little innocent boy. Before he went to Minnesota he was attached at the hip to his mother and wouldn't allow her out of his sight, mostly because for weeks before they left he had been telling Colt that his mom wouldn't being going and so when she would be out of his sight he would constantly want to know where she was and would tirelessly try to find her, even if she was only in the other room. I hate what this is turning out to be. How do you make him understand that his vengence and ugliness will only hurt Colt and it needs to stop?
Expert:  Carol Kryder LMFT replied 7 years ago.
Unfortunately, this man is hateful and vengeful and doesn't really care how it impacts his child. He will not stop until a judge makes him do it. Your daughter needs to see her lawyer about this and have the judge make him stop upon penalty of losing parenting time with his son.

As for Colt, it is important for your daughter to tell him that Daddy says terrible things and they are not true. She can also tell Colt that it is wrong to say bad things about people, and that nice people shouldn't do that. Let him connect the dots when he is older. There is no way to anticipate what will be said to him, and frankly it gives this man too much power. Better to do the damage control after it happens, rather than obsess about how to avoid the trauma. Children are very resilient and Colt will learn eventually that what his Dad says is wrong and mean.

It wouldn't hurt for your daughter to get into therapy to learn how to detach from this hatred and not let it hurt her. She needs to get to the place where she can just laugh at him when he says these ugly things and make a joke about it. He is only doing it because it has an impact.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Well, I've sent this response twice so third time's the charm. Jenny doesn't want to say "who told you that?" since she already knows. How should she respond to things like my name is***** (instead of Colton Burns)? Ted's ultimate goal, and he doesn't mind telling you so, is to get his son and move back to Minnesota. He has called child protective services in excess of six times and each time they have found no basis for the complaint. I believe he hopes that she will have a breakdown from this constant harrassement and give up. Won't happen but he hopes it will and will stop at nothing to achieve his goal. He has a history of domestic violence and scares me to think what he might be capable of.

P.S. I was raised in Golden Colorado - beautiful state.

Expert:  Carol Kryder LMFT replied 7 years ago.
Hello again:

Her best option is to take him to court for contempt. There is no way he will get that child. Not with the way he has been acting. When Colton says his name wrong, his mother can show him his birth certificate and tell him what his real name is. She can just say that Daddy made a mistake. Agreed, she should not say "who told you that" but she can correct him. This will be confusing for him, so unless she has something concrete to show him like a birth certificate, she needs to tell him that Daddy and Mommy have different ideas about whatever it is.

I also again recommend that she get some support from therapy so that his nonsense doesn't throw her so much. He can rant and rave and threaten her, but there is no way he will get this child. She seems not to believe that. As for the domestic violence, that is what restraining orders are for.

Bot***** *****ne: See an attorney. Get into therapy. I wish you all the best.

Thanks for the kind words about Colorado. Golden is a beautiful city.
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