How do I protect my grandson?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

What or whom should be helpful in making sure his visits with mom are not harming him mentally? I don’t know who to contact for example on christmas eve the child told me he and his dad that he had been choked again by his cousin and he thought he was gonna die that time. His mom knows this older cousin has done this in the past but refuses to supervise them, even says it did not happen and now has sent the child on a day visit with one of her drug user friends and the same cousin that chokes him in a over crowded veh. They couldn’t put on seat belts.

& She tells him to say things like Satan I rebuke you to us and that he must say a protection prayer anytime he is @ our house. She is now in a rehab program but so far still acting and talking nutty andnot treating or talking to her son about 8 year old topics.

I’m also concerned that for now (she’s only been in rehab a few weeks) if we should give her so much unsupervised visition because clearly she’s acting like she has more than a drug problem and feels what she does with or exposes him to on her visits is none of our business but I have Legal Guardianship and temp. cust.

She has put him in harms way so many times over the past 3 years I’m really afraid of what may happen on future visits. Also there is a peace order in place due to threatning, agressive, harrassing behaviors in which I agreed to allow her to call my home no more than twice a day but she calls 3,4,5,8 how ever many times she wants to and the child has begun to refuse to take the phone and I don’t know if I shuould add him to the order to protect him from her nonsense or what should I do? Please respond,I need to know the best thing to do for the sake of my Grandson.

A: What a sad and difficult situation. You must be heartsick for everyone involved. The most important thing you told me is that you are your grandson’s legal guardian and have temporary custody. I’m not a lawyer and laws do differ from state to state but generally having legal guardianship means that you are the person who is responsible for the well-being of this child. That means that it is up to you to protect this child from emotional and physical harm. It’s clear that his mother is not thinking about his welfare. You have evidence that being with his cousin puts him in danger.

I urge you to contact your attorney right away and get clear guidelines about what you are legally entitled to do to protect this little boy. If it is possible for you to prevent visits to the extended family and to put firm limits on how much his mother contacts him and what she can say to him, he will have a much better chance to grow up emotionally healthy. Please don’t delay on this. Call your lawyer. Then follow your good instincts and exercise your authority to keep your grandson safe.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 24 Feb 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). How do I protect my grandson?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/02/24/how-do-i-protect-my-grandson/