Friday, April 9, 2010

Concerned for the Children

Deeply Concerned in Pennsylvania writes: My sister "Carole's" husband died a year ago, and her oldest daughter passed away four months later. Carole now has her daughter's two oldest children, ages 10 and 14.
Carole has been going out with men she meets on the Internet, drinking and partying on weekends and neglecting the kids. The 10-year-old had been receiving psychological help since before her mom died and was on medication, but Carole has dropped all of this help for the child. The girl had been molested by a relative years ago, and now with her mother gone, she's not moving forward in school or in life.
Some of us are willing to take the children from her. She seems not to care what happens to them. She devotes all her attention to the next guy she can be with. She has left the kids alone all night when she was spending the night with men. I'm not supposed to know this, but my adult niece found out from the kids. What can our family do to bring Carole back to earth and help these kids? -- DEEPLY CONCERNED IN PENNSYLVANIA

Dear Deeply Concerned (and you have every right to be),
It sounds like Carole has been through a lot in the past year. She lost her partner and she endured the greatest tragedy for any parent, the death of a child. I am a huge advocate of counseling and it sounds like Carole, along with the children, would benefit from this. However, this is something someone has to choose to do and since she dropped counseling for the 10-year old, she probably isn't ready to seek that kind of help for herself, but there's no harm in asking. Have you tried talking to Carole? I think the best thing you could possibly do is to be a support for Carole and for the kids. If you could be Carole's friend and sister then you could non-invasively suggest to take the kids on nights that Carole has dates or for a more extended period and Carole will not be threatened by your interception. Worse case scenario would be to get CPS involved. You know more than I do but my instincts are telling me that Carole is hurt and doesn't know how to deal with it. Being a friend and a support could allow for her to open up to you which could make a world of difference for all involved. But in the end, the children are the most important concern here and deserve to be in a safe and comforting environment.

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