I would really appreciate hearing your thoughts about a situation that involves my children. Their mother sends our boys 8, 13, and 14 to their grandma’s house for childcare. Their 30-year-old aunt lives there and she is an untreated schizophrenic. i have urged them to arrange treatment for her. She refuses medication and her family does not press the issue, as “it’s a free world”.

My concern is for the safety of our children and the potential emotional or psychological trauma that could be caused by spending time in the house with their aunt.

The aunt frequently has screaming fits when she sees the color yellow, if the Wii video game is left uncovered, if she cannot open a door with her feet…she refuses to use her hands. I hope to hear from you.

A. Generally speaking, individuals who are experiencing untreated symptoms of psychosis pose a greater risk of violence than individuals with a psychotic disorder who adhere to treatment.

You did not mention whether their aunt has a history of violence but what you know with certainty is that she is schizophrenic, she is not participating in treatment and has frequent screaming fits. In light of those facts, I believe that it is inadvisable for your children to be in her presence.

I would make that same recommendation if their aunt did not have schizophrenia but had frequent screaming fits.

It’s unpleasant to be in the presence of someone who is uncontrollably screaming. It would frighten both children and adults. The potential for emotional and psychological trauma undoubtedly exists.

If you have additional questions, about this or another issue, please do not hesitate to write again. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Sep 2012

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2012). Are Kids Safe around Person with Untreated Schizophrenia?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/09/29/are-kids-safe-around-person-with-untreated-schizophrenia/

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