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Adult Children

Question:

dear dr. schwartz, I let my daughter and her boyfriend move in with me and my girlfriend, they have a one year old which she and i adore but there is alot of stress because they dont know how to raise my grandaughter properly, both are iresponsible and have many issues, but i dont want to see the baby hurt anymore, what can i do?

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Answer:

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p>You are raising some important issues with this E. Mail but it is somewhat unclear. For the sake of clarity, I will answer each of the two possibilities that you imply might be happening with your grandchild.

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p>1. When you report that your daughter does not know how to raise her child, it implies that she may do things differently than you did as the mother of the baby. Many mothers and grandmothers disagree on child rearing practices and quarrel about them. Some of the areas of disagreement may have to do with frequency of feeding, how long to allow the baby to cry before feeding and other similar issues. The fact that there are four adults and a baby all living under one roof at this time can cause enough stress to bring about chronic complaining and disagreements about how the baby is being raised.

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p>2. When you state that your daughter and her boy friend are irresponsible and that you do not want the baby to be hurt any longer you raise the specter of child abuse. If the child is being abused or neglected then there is a legal responsibility to report this to social services. The law obligates people to report any suspicions of child abuse or neglect and this is for the protection of the children. Abuse and neglect go way beyond minor disagreements about child rearing practices. The harm done by abusing and neglecting parents can cause life long emotional and physical injuries to children. There are also those tragic cases that result in the death of the abused child.

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p>When social services is called a case worker is sent to the home to investigate the situation and discover whether or not there is any evidence of child abuse or neglect. This investigation usually includes interviews with everyone in the home, as well as of friends and neighbors. If is determined that a child is being abused one of several steps may be taken, depending on how serious and dangerous the situation is.

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p>In cases where social services has determined that there is abuse and the child is in danger, he or she can be removed from the home and placed foster care pending determination by the courts as to what happens next. Today, judges try to keep families together. Therefore, the judge may award temporary custody of the child to relatives, such as grandparents. When there is no other choice, children remain in foster care. In the meantime, the biological parents are given the chance to prove that they can act as responsible and caring parents to the child.

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p>It is also possible for grandparents to sue for permanent custody of the child. This is difficult to do as it involves proving that both parents are completely incompetent to raise the child.

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p>The main point behind all of this is that the safety, health and well being of the child is paramount. That is the reason why everyone is obligated to report abuse to the authorities.

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