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Child abuse??

I have 2 great step kids. Step daughter who's 7 and step son who's 5. We have a 70/30 split with their mother and stepfather. I should mention here that we have very poor communication with mom/stepdad. Out of blue at dinner the 5 year old says "daddy when I'm at moms house I cry for you at night and mom gets really mad and locks me in my room. " with a few additional questions we found that mom turned the door knob around and locks it from the outside and does this so frequently that the 5 year old learned how to pick the lock with a wire hanger which caused mom to change the lock to one he couldn't pick. The 7 year old says that she stopped telling her mom that she misses her dad because she is afraid her mom will lock her in her room. We are outraged by this. Not really sure how to handle it. Do we use the cops, OCS, or the courts???

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Asked by Anonymous at 6:26 PM on Feb. 14, 2011 in General Parenting

Answers (12)
  • I think that you should at least talk to their mom about it. It kinda sounds like abuse to me!

    Answer by PhoenixsMommy10 at 6:28 PM on Feb. 14, 2011

  • Neither. Locking a well fed and otherwise taken care of child in a room is not child abuse. Confront the parents first to ensure the validity of what the kids are saying. Tell them how you feel about it and take it from there. And try to improve communication with them.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:32 PM on Feb. 14, 2011

  • I would start out with counseling for the kids. Find out as much as possible and then go to CPS. I normally would want to give the Mom teh benefit of the doubt but if this is what goes on then those kids will pay for it. Keep a journal of everything said and talk to your lawyer and again a counselor/therapist. If CPS does get involved and Mom is not doing this then all will be ok. Just remember that telling her your concerns might change things temp but could make things workse on the kids. If she does in fact turn the door knobs around then thats a major safety issue. God forbid a fire started and they couldnt get out! I personally would have you or dh go over and ask to use the bathroom. Then check the door knobs. Take a pic on your camera phone for proof if this is all true. GL!!

    Answer by Steph319 at 6:33 PM on Feb. 14, 2011

  • And when I say go over there...I mean when you pick them up or drop them off

    Answer by Steph319 at 6:34 PM on Feb. 14, 2011

  • I would go to the courts and try to get a guardian ad lidem (sp?). That is a court appointed caretaker for the kids. The guardian ad lidem has no other interests but the kids and will report back to the courts with their opinions/findings and recommend what is best for the kids. If you can't get that try to get a CASA (court appointed special advocate) to do the same thing.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 6:40 PM on Feb. 14, 2011

  • This is child abuse! Even if the child is well fed it is never okay to LOCK them in a room. That is mental abuse. There's nothing wrong with sending a child to their room but you can NOT lock the door or leave them in there for hours. Serious psychological problems can develop from this kind of treatment such as claustrophobia, severe separation anxiety and more. However, I would take her to a therapist who would be able to tell if this actually happens or if she vying for extra attention. With the details she's given you though (changing locks, learning how to pick the previous lock) I doubt she's making it up. If the therapist determines that she has, indeed been put through this I would seek his advice on who to go through.

    Answer by MamaStuart at 6:50 PM on Feb. 14, 2011

  • I agree with Rosehawk, go to the courts and try to get a guardian ad litem. Their only concern is the children and their well-being. The door knobs being turned around where they can't be opened from the inside is a major issue if there was a fire or something like that. I would get the kids to see a counselor and maybe consult CPS. What Steph319 said is correct, too. If you drop the kids off/pick them up, try asking to use the bathroom or something and check the door knobs and take pics if possible. Kids can fib, I don't believe that your kids are doing so, but sometimes it happens. Always good to make sure-but I don't think I would talk to their mother about it, it would probably only make it worse for them.

    Answer by Tawneekitn at 6:54 PM on Feb. 14, 2011

  • locking them i a room is abuse. they cannot go to restroom,get drinks and could be in danger of fire etc. and there is also dangers in the room. there was a little girl who died after jumping off her bunk bed with a sheet that got entangled around her strangling her. what kind of mom would do that to a child:(

    Answer by WildCat73 at 7:04 PM on Feb. 14, 2011

  • This is child abuse. I would go to the police department and talk to them about whats going on. I would also set up counseling for the children. Set up a court hearing and change her visitation rights.I work with child abuse and this is wrong what she is doing. I would do something as soon as possible before something happens to one of the children.

    Answer by princesschilly at 7:44 PM on Feb. 14, 2011

  • Just had another thought while reading through the posts after mine. You can go to/call your local police station and ask for a welfare check on the kids. OR, the police station closest to where the kids live with their mother. You will stay anonymous to the mother, and there will be a record that a welfare check was conducted and the results. That may be another way to raise concerns about those kids when they're not with you.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 10:02 PM on Feb. 14, 2011

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