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psychlady, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of a variety of mental health issues.
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My oldest daughter has mental issues that have not been

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My oldest daughter has mental issues that have not been dealt with (sociopathy?). She is 19 (20 in April) and very capable of doing things, but she's stuck in this cycle where she senses no hope, so she is not trying. I have been helping her within limits, trying not to be enabling, but I know that I have enabled her somewhat in my trying to protect her from the severe consequences of her actions.
A touch about my daughter. She inherited money and gets $1K/month. She owns outright a nice home in a good area that has an apartment that can be rented out for $450/mo. Because she BLOWS her $1000 on "whatever," the house has had all of the utilities shut off for almost 2 months, so the house is empty, and she's bumming around in a town 80 miles from home. (She also had a job from mid July until early October.)
Her van has been waiting repair in someone's garage since August, but she won't take care of it, so she's without transportation.
She has a son who was taken into foster custody for a rather silly reason. My daughter could have gotten her son back within a couple months, but she refused to follow the program that they initiated and was continuously verbally out of control and threatening. She last saw him in August. When they told her, "Go to two counseling appointments and make an appointment for the third, and we will let your son start coming home for weekend visits. If those go well, he can move back in with you within a few weeks." But she refused to go to counseling. It took her two months to finally make and keep two appointments. By then, it had been almost three months since she had seen her son, so now they won't let her see him until they have some big meeting mid-December. She could visit him with supervised visits, but she refuses to pay the supervision fee. He was 7 months old when he was taken into custody. He is now 22 months.
Every time she got into a bind since her son was taken from her custody, I helped her out because I didn't want her to have to face the consequence of losing him forever. But now she is doing NOTHING to get that son back. She also has another son, who is now 6 months old that she DOES have custody of. She's scared to death that someone will take him from her because she sees how easily they make the decision for removal. Almost 2 months ago, she asked me to watch her son for a couple days. She has only seen him a couple times since then. I have been very merciful and patient with her, but I have not ACTUALLY helped her by helping her because she is just getting worse and worse and worse.
I sent her an ultimatum Monday via e-mail and facebook that she had until Friday at 8 AM to arrange to get her son back, or I was going to contact her ex-husband through Children's Services and give him the baby. She's the type that will pretend that she hasn't been online, but she honestly might not get online this week. I told her that if she got the message and got in touch with me on Saturday, that it would be too late. Now it's Thursday, and I'm scared to follow through because her ex will never let me see my grandson and this will probably keep her from ever getting custody of her sons back. (Her ex was physically abusive and lives with his drug-abusing family.)
Please ... give me some advice! I promise to give bonus $ for serious, thoughtful advice.

It sounds like your daughter has mental health issues that cause her to be severely irresponsible. It is surprising that at least she is not diligent about seeing her son. I was going to say to call the father until you told me about how irresponsible he is. Your daughter may have a level of immaturity that is hindering her ability to be a parent. This may not be actual choice but a lot of people lack of the skills to be good parents. It is going to be difficult if she isn't willing to do anything. There are parenting classes for people who lack these skills. Nothing is going to change unless she can connect with someone. She has to want to be a parent. You have to find something that will mature her. If not then you can petition the Court for grandparents visitation or rights. She may be threatened at the thought of someone evaluating her because she knows it will reflect on how others see her. Reintroduce your offers to make counseling more affordable until she sees that she needs help. Someone may change their mind very quickly when faced with such consequences. Investigate mobile mental health units in your state where they come to her.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I guess I was not clear in my question. I'm sorry. I got jumbled with details. I gave her an "ultimatum" that stated make arrangements or I'm giving your son to his father. I am trying to jolt her into reality, but I'm scared to follow through. However, I'm at a loss at how to stop enabling her without harming my grandson by taking him away from this family, which is stable and close, and sending him to the extreme dysfunction of his father's family. (By the way, my son-in-law has never seen, met, or asked about this child and hopes that he is not his biological child. I'm 99% sure that he is his child, but they were separated when the baby was conceived, and my son-in-law was put in jail for a few weeks immediately after the conception for losing control for no known reason and beating my daughter up in front of church just before it started, which was his third domestic abuse incarceration in 4 months. He's angry at my daughter for having him arrested.) So I guess I just want advice. If I do not hear from my daughter by tomorrow morning, would it be continuously enabling her to engage in irresponsible behavior to not follow through with my promise? Or should I just go ahead and allow her to face the harshness of that consequence? My husband does NOT want to raise this child, so taking permanent custody isn't really an option. We have five daughters still living at home, ages 12 down to 1 1/2. I don't mind helping her out, but I feel like I'm making things worse.
And ... I have no way of knowing if she for sure got the letter, but I'd be shocked if she went more than a few days without finding a way to check her facebook or e-mail account. I sent it Monday.
Excerpt from my letter to her:
THERE WILL BE NO SECOND CHANCES, MICHAELA!!!! If I hear from you Saturday and you tell me that you hadn't been on Facebook, couldn't get to a phone, couldn't get on a computer, or whatever, it will be too late. Michael will already have Chaz. If I haven't heard from you by 8:00 Friday morning, I will get in the car, drive to DCS, and have them contact Michael, so I can arrange to leave Chaz with him.
Also, if you blow this month's allowance instead of getting your house back into livable condition with working heat, air, and water, AND START LIVING IN IT, then I'll inform Dave that the "allowance" is not being used for your well-being and encourage him to stop sending it in January. If you are not going to use that money to live well and support your children, then you don't need that money at all.
Does that sound harsh? Maybe, but sometimes the consequences of our actions have to hurt bad for us to wake up and do something about them. So it WILL NOT be something terrible that I do if I give Chaz to Michael via DCS (letting DCS know that you have abandoned your child, thus forcing me to have to contact them). It will be something terrible that you have done by neglecting your responsibilities. It will not be terrible that you aren't given free money to live on. It will be terrible if you don't step up and start taking responsibility for your own life. It sucks, but that's the reality of it all.
HOWEVER, if you get back into your house and prove to me that you are moving in some positive direction, then I'll be happy to help out with Chaz during the week, but you are going to have to have him every weekend beginning Friday afternoon until Monday morning AT MINIMUM from here on out. ...

It sounds harsh but this situation calls for harsh responses. This child is at risk. I know you feel guilty but dad isn't an option. The child will just be an inconvenience. Instead of calling dad you need to practice tough love and call Child Protective Services. You could make an anonymous call and they will remove the child. It is for his own good. You made a critical mistake however. Never threaten to do anything that you are not prepared to carry out. That gets across the harshness but it isn't going to happen and it shouldn't. CPS may call you or other relatives but at least he will be cared for. And that is her wake up call. I think your plan at the end makes a lot of sense. Stop enabling her and start with tough love. But be prepared to do what you say. If nothing changes call CPS.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks. I was prepared to carry out the threat. I just didn't want to do something to harm the child. CPS is potentially much more dangerous for the long term well being of the child, and they are not legally accountable for their actions or inactions at all, and they make up laws as they go, ultimately having more power than law enforcement, so I didn't want to involve them. I've made contact with my son-in-law's aunt. If my daughter doesn't come through for her child, then I will assess the father's situation and then ask the aunt to step in and help. Thanks.