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Mina, Clinical Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 188
Experience:  Working as a Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist in NHS. Experience in both children and adults
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I want to ask the question but how does one sum everything

Customer Question

I want to ask the question but how does one sum everything up in one question ? I am the father of a 30 son with sole custody of three daughters of his own,
He is contemplating breaking them up because he fells he just " can't handle them" anymore, ages 2,4,6 the girls are completely out of control at home or away. My son is at wits end and ready to give up.... what family members bridges he hasn't burned are helping as much as we can. We have tried to work with the girls, they just REFUSE to do anything right...!!
Can these kids be safed and he taught to deal with them and life in general ?...Is there Hope... ?
Thank You for your time.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Mina replied 6 years ago.
Hi and thank you for contacting us

I can understand your desperation as this sounds as a quite serious issue with ongoing implications for may people, your son, his daughters and you offcourse.

It is possible that your granddaughters are reacting to the breakup of their family (I assume there was one) but it is also very likely from your description that your son is lacking significant parenting skills and abilities to set boundaries as well as possibly containing his daughters' feelings and behavior. One should consider if he was ready for this commitment which is admittedly a huge one and whether he is mature and capable to look after them and endure the crisis situation that he is in. Your question about him breaking up the children is a difficult one as one would need to know what would be the best thing for them depending on the circumstances. If for example, your son would be considered unfit to raise them for certain reasons, then a separation and a relocation to a more stable home may be a better solution for them at least for the short term. it would be obviously best if the children could stay together. However, you need to be aware that this decision will most likely affect them dearly in some ways as they grow older. Therefore, someone should exhaust all means of support before making such decision.

I would therefore definitely encourage you to seek professional help and at least the involvement of social services as they can be quite supportive in cases like these. Their first aim would be to assess and help the situation at home and they could help your son access psychological services that could provide with help about managing their behavior and support for your son as a single parent. Social services have mostly a supportive role in these cases and would try to identify and possible resources in order to improve and keep the stability at home. If however, your son would still decide to leave his children then they would try their best to find a foster family for all three if possible.

Your son definitely needs professional support and help. You need to discuss this issue with him seriously as he needs to think about his children's future and his. You can offer him some guidance and emotional support but he would need to be motivated enough to ask for help from the right agencies.

I do hope that certain actions will be taken and things improve slowly for all of you.

All the best

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Your suggestions are all of couse valid, What concerns me and I have told him to his face,, He has mentioned keeping the middle girl and let the others go.. He can't be serious. what are the two left out going to feel, "I wonder why I wasn't good enough to keep" This "man" really is past advice, the whole family needs a complete overhaul.

My son needs an INTERVENTION !!!!... is has reached that stage.

My son is not stupid,,he is however a high school dropout. He is scared for his and the girls future knowing all this himself.

My 87 year old Mother is online as I speak asking Dr. Phil for just that..

This is a topic that I am sure affects many families in todays uncertain times..

The best that I can hope for is maybe someone else can be helped by watching what this kid is going through.. He has had a very rough life.. Heart Attack at age 27..

I don't know what else to say really to help him help himself..

I'm a Disabled and O2 dependant Vietnam Veteran. I have run out of options !

I can sure tell HE didn't come with an owners manual...damn.
Expert:  Mina replied 6 years ago.
I am sure that there is no simple answer as to why he is thinking of splitting them and why he feels that he cannot handle raising them. As you say he had a very hard life and a heart attack three years ago. I actually work with cardiac patients as well and so I am well aware of the implications especially when a heart attack happens at a young age. Perhaps he feels that he cannot be stressed as he might die from another one...perhaps he has not learned how to cope with stress. Perhaps he feels that he does not have much to offer... It might be interesting for you to ask him and listen to his concerns. What is he afraid of, how does he see his future life, what does he think about himself as a person and as a father. Listen to his worries and concerns fist.

As I wrote earlier, I also agree with you that he needs an intervention and this is why I suggested that social services need to be involved. If he does not want to do this, then maybe you need to ring them and discuss this case with them. They will let you know what can be done after that. As you yourself can imagine, splitting the children could have devastating effect on their personality development and could affect their ability to trust and form relationships at the least.

You need to gather all the support you can get from family members, have a meeting and together decide what would be your next step. You need to remember that it is your granddaughters' life and future that would be at stake. There are resources out there for you and them so use them at your best.

I hope this helps

I wish you all the best

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Family members have tried to contact local service agency, Social Services does offer many excellent options, I have been told that when a child is involved DCF is automatically involved. In this county once you are on their radar, not an option I am afraid as who knows where the kids would end up...and this is why I am seeking outside sources for that intervention as its the only way to achieve fair and unbias'd treatment.

I of course am listening to your advice, and at the same time talking to him, alot of what you mentioned is very much the case, we know this, we know he needs help, what he and the kids need isn't available here. I am not even sure the 6 year old isn't already lost and unable to rehabilitate. Even IF we can fix the kids, the one that cause those propblems needs to be fixed as well. I personally am beyond help, I accept that. He isn't yet but soon will be if something isn't done VERY soon..I very strongly feel that time isn't running out.....its gone !

I don't know how else to express the seriousness of all this and how desperate we are.. the stress on me alone has caused problems just in the past few days....I had yet another TIA,,,following two CVA's a few months back.
Expert:  Mina replied 6 years ago.
I understand your desperation but believe me that things are not as bad as they look as nothing has happened yet. There is still time to get help for everyone, you son, his children and why not you?Time has not gone, but it is crucial that someone acted now.

The other option would be for someone in the family to take the children (all of them) and look after them at their home for a while. This would give their dad a break and gather his strength. You could give him this option if he agreed to get help and see a therapist. He needs to re evaluate his life and address any fears he may be facing. He cannot possibly do it on his own and he needs to understand that the time has come to ask for help. You could offer him some financial help if this is needed. Other family members can help out with the children for a while so every member somewhat contributes. This is what family is about.

If you are already concerned about the psychological well being of the children then you need to discuss this with their dad and definitely get them referred to a mental health team for children. Therapists there could assess them and would try to engage their dad and identify his needs and his weaknesses. They could work with him on behavioral management and support him in his efforts.

The fact is that he is struggling. Although you need to be empathetic to him, you also need to take action if you feel that he is not taking it for his own reasons. There are agencies and mental health teams that would help you.

Please engage the whole family so you do not feel that you are fighting this battle on your own.

Best regards

Mina, Clinical Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 188
Experience: Working as a Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist in NHS. Experience in both children and adults
Mina and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I understand, and all that brings us up to date. As of now my sister now in her 60's has the two youngest at her home for the next couple weeks until and with the understanding that this break is intended sole for him to find a job...oh yea

History repeats itself in him. I had many issues in my youth as well, now they just have a name for it...A.D.D and it wasn't until I reached my late 50's that I realized I was screwed right from the is he.. and we both know it.. in time he will grow up just like I was forced to but I am at the same time trying to find a way that he doesn't grow through the pain and misery of life that I have...

I mentioned before that local help is not available, wasn't for me either. Even the VA hospitals are handing out advice to PTSD patients like myself to

" Suck it up, Get over it and Deal with it. "

and to think all I had to do to get such wonderfull advice was to get SHOT and put in a wheelchair for the rest of my life....who made out on THAT deal ?

Ok, I will admit defeat and close this session. I do feel that I didn't get the help needed to save a family but I'll go ahead and accept so you can get paid..

Have a good evening Dr.

Expert:  Mina replied 6 years ago.
I am sorry that this was not very helpful for you and thank you for accepting the answer. It is difficult to believe that there are no services where you live to get the proper help as this is what the family needs.

As I do not live in US I am not familiar with the specific services in your area. What I can do is opt out and let any of my US colleagues advise you on possible resources. Where do you live?

Thank you

Expert:  Howard replied 6 years ago.
Hi, I'm Howard,
Where is the mother of these children?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hello Howard,

The mother of the children is not now or will ever be a factor. She walked away clean.

The Services that are available in this county have been applied for and denied because both parents are in the same home.. or so we were told.. so those can not be considered Sad but true.

Please understand that I am not crying wolf here.. ALL the family members agree, an Intervention IS the only hope..
Expert:  Howard replied 6 years ago.
I don't understand, you say the mother walked away clean, yet, services are not available because both parents are in the home?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
welcome to OUR world...this is why I said competent services are not available..He tried, I have tried talking to them..micro managed politics !
Expert:  Howard replied 6 years ago.
it sounds as if your son was to get the mother out of his house, things would probably be much better for everyone involved. This has got to be a terribly confusing and stressful environment for the children. Does your son refuse to have the mother leave the home?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Refuse to leave ?....she is hasn't been in the house in months... My son needs to be fixed before the kids get fixed...
Expert:  Howard replied 6 years ago.
if she is not there now, he should be able to get help from Social Services, County Mental Health. What State do you live in?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Howard, at the risk of repeating myself.

We are in SW Florida. we have been there and done that with NO results.
Expert:  Howard replied 6 years ago.
This is a brochure from the Florida Children's Services Council, they are a non-profit organization. They may be able to direct you to the services that you need. I hope they can help.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
ok I see I am not getting through here. when I said intervention, I meant just THAT ..

Nothing has been mentioned that we have not already tried..Childrens Services Council. OMG are you kidding me.. can you say you get what you pay for ? There have been articles in the paper about these people, one therapist was arrested for molestation of a small girl, there is another one that was arrested for Felony DUI Hit and Run WITH injuries..and he was a MD, PHD..

I am requesting a full blown Dr. Phil Intervention !!! how do I make THAT happen ?
Expert:  Howard replied 6 years ago.
Therapists and Doctors are people, there are good and bad, Florida has a huge population, so, if there are a couple of bad apples, it does not mean that the whole box is rotten. I am sorry, but I do not know Dr. Phil personally, and the people in Florida that would know where and how you would go about this, it seems that you have a huge aversion to seeing. This is the Dr. Phil contact page, good luck, I hope that you find your answers you seek there.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I was there last night and left emails and voice messages.... I am on the phone with my sister who currently has the two youngest girls. This is an extremely stable home and they have called my son to come get the kids...they are completly incorrigable and listen to NOBODY...they are in perpetual time out..

We are out of options
Expert:  Howard replied 6 years ago.
Sadly, you are right that your grandkids are only a product of the behaviors modeled by their parents, and until they get help, nothing is going to change. Keep researching as well as persevering on behalf of your grandchildren and you will find the help you need to get the help they need. Keep pushing the agencies, they are just overburdened, and understaffed in these times, but there are people who's hearts are in the right place in those agencies. You just have to keep plugging until you find them.