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My 5 year old step daughter is starting to show strange behavior and we are very concerned

We are very concerned as her bio-mom, is an alcoholic and hears and sees "gosths hears voices" etc. She suffers from severe paranoia. Is it normal that a 5 years old is playing happily and suddenly in the blink of an eye becomes hysteric, repeating the same thing over and over again and wants to go home? She loves her daddy and knows she is safe with us, she tells us how scares she gets when her mom screams and yells using her "crabby" voice. She is a bright girl, we dont ask her anything but offer her a safe and happy home but lately she has these disturbing episodes. The mothers boyfriend seems to be good to her and tries to "calm screaming mommy down". Is this little girl afraid to be happy when she is is with her daddy and me?. She told us this past weekend that her mommy get angry if she had a good time with us. Advise PLEASE as we dearly lover her. Legally our hands are tied.

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Asked by wildwood at 3:24 PM on Jan. 13, 2009 in General Parenting

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Answers (5)
  • It sounds like mom is suffering from delusions and hallucinations. I would see if there isnt a genetic background to scizphrenia. If there is then your sd could be displaying early signs of paranoia. Counseling would be best for her to get in there and see whats going on in her mind. You know what I mean?

    Answer by gemgem at 3:30 PM on Jan. 13, 2009

  • I agree with gemgem. It sounds as though mom has some kind of problem, and the daughter is either showing early signs of it or is very, very scared by it, which would be understandable. I'd definitely see about some counseling, and try to get the mom into some kind of counseling or something.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 3:48 PM on Jan. 13, 2009

  • Why are your hands "legally tied"? If a parent is showing signs of mental instability, then you should contact a state office (such as child services) and bring up these instances so that further investigation by a third party can be done. Also, if your husband has visitation rights, then he also has rights to take the child to a doctor or mental helath specialist to help diagnose any problems the girl might be having. This would go a long way into helping any changes in living arrangements or getting the mom into some kind treatment. And, yes, the girl could be reacting to her feelings of happiness as well. Kids can love their parents despite how they are treated, and then feel bad if they feel like they are "betraying" the other parent. I would again suggest that you contact an outside person like a therapist or the state.

    Answer by ozarkgirl3 at 3:52 PM on Jan. 13, 2009

  • It does sound as if the mother is schizophrenic. It is more likely at this age that she is just modeling her mother's behavior, because schizophrenia generally shows up at a later age. While she is in your care, I would get her in to see a therapist so she can learn how to cope with her situation. The therapist could help guide you through whatever legal changes you might need to make to get primary custody. Aside from the schizophrenia, it is also a serious problem that she is living with an alcoholic. If you can verify these claims, you do have a case to take to CPS. Good luck. It's wonderful that you are showing such care and concern for this little girl.

    Answer by evwsquared at 6:08 PM on Jan. 13, 2009

  • I'll agree with the above, that mom is dealing with paranoid schizophrenia. You need to contact a family law attorney to have th custody case reopened. Also, get the girl in to see a child psychologist. Someone who can evaluate her behavior from a more detached standpoint. You're too emotionally invested to give testimony on mom's affect on the child.

    You need the judge to re-examine the existing custody arrangement, but I have to warn you, what will MOST likely happen is that you will get a temporary order of custody, mom will be ordered to see a psychologist to have her behavior and fitness evaluated. When she's diagnosed, the judge will order her into therapy. If she shows good progress with therapy and medication after a short time, the existing custody order will be unchanged.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:16 PM on Jan. 13, 2009

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