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How do I help my grandchildren to become carefree kids again

(16 Posts)
1Gran Sat 12-Dec-20 21:05:28

Hi everyone.
My son has been in a relationship for the last 13yrs with a woman who suffers with mental health issues and addiction issues
They have 2 beautiful kids together.
One day the woman is fine the next minute she is trashing the house and attacking my son and even attacking her own mum.
She self harms and has suicidal tendencies.
All in front of my grandchildren.
Recently my son split from this woman but the woman is an unfit mother.
Over the 13ys I have heard her say so often she is going to get help but she doesn’t.
This has obviously taken its toll on my grandchildren.
The 10yr old boy has become a hermit and suffers from depression.
At 10yrs old!!
I never heard of depression when I was 10!
Their childhood which should be a happy and carefree time has been taken from them.
He doesn’t socialise with friends and stays in his room all the time.
He is also being bullied online and at school.
His head must be so messed up.
My granddaughter is 3 but is a right diva and may well have bipolar but is too young to be tested yet.
My son is so worried about leaving them with her.
I have threatened to call social services as this has got to stop.
My son says they will take the kids away from him too but I don’t know.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

EllanVannin Sat 12-Dec-20 21:15:52

Social services must be contacted as this is an unacceptable situation in which to bring up children. I'd phone them up if I were you as children's safety is paramount and this way of life is very damaging for them.
They need to be in a safe place. Is there any possibility of them being with you ? Or any other family member ?

OceanMama Sat 12-Dec-20 21:31:19

You cannot diagnose 3 year old with bipolar.

Things like depression can be genetic. Also, being bullied is a likely trigger for depression. Of course his home situation isn't easy as well but there's more to the big picture here. Sure, we hadn't heard of depression as kids but there were depressed kids. We just got a pat on the head and were told to cheer up.

I can understand how worrying this situation is for you. If you are concerned for the children's safety, then social services may be the way to go. They can provide family support and help the mother get support for herself. Obviously I can't have a window into what they will do but I doubt they would remove the children from your son if he's in a different household and providing good care.

Is there a mental health crisis line you can call if the children's mother is in a bad place (like self-harming or suicidal)? She says she will get help but doesn't. Has someone offered to accompany her to get help? Can someone take her to the emergency room if she needs it? These sorts of things might result in connection to a team who can provide help. It might just need someone who can step in and help the mother, who might not feel able or might not know how, to get that help.

Your son might also be able to ask for an emergency court hearing to get full care of the children and supervised visitation with the mother.

Just some random thoughts.

1Gran Sat 12-Dec-20 21:54:01

Yes I did say the 3yr old cannot be tested for bipolar as she is too young.
I have every sympathy with anyone with mental health issues but how do you get help for someone that doesn’t want it?
She has made appointments before to seek professional help to sort her issues but she doesn’t go even with support from family and friends.
She won’t go near any professional,or doctors as she thinks they will take the kids away.
It doesn’t matter what help is offered you can’t make that decision for them they have to want to get help.
I would be there for her too coz on her good days she is a nice person.

Hithere Sat 12-Dec-20 21:55:21

What oceanmama said

Your son can also look for mental health care of his 10 year old.
If he is truly depressed, he needs help now.
I wish I had received help at that age myself

Hithere Sat 12-Dec-20 21:58:02

Your son must step up immediately and request emergency custody now.

He must do something about it now instead of damaging his sons more

1Gran Sat 12-Dec-20 22:01:41


Social services must be contacted as this is an unacceptable situation in which to bring up children. I'd phone them up if I were you as children's safety is paramount and this way of life is very damaging for them.
They need to be in a safe place. Is there any possibility of them being with you ? Or any other family member ?

Oh there is lots of family which are willing to have the kids even for just awhile while she gets sorted out but she doesn’t seem to want to take that step regardless of all the support.
I will ring social services to get some advice and find out what their procedure is.

1Gran Sat 12-Dec-20 22:03:47

Yes I have said that my grandson especially is going to need some counselling too.

OceanMama Sat 12-Dec-20 22:09:49

Like you have said, you can't help someone who won't be helped. If they are a danger to themselves or someone else you can call it in. Sometimes that is the best you can do.

The children though, they can't help themselves. They need adults to step in for them. Either their father, your son, needs to take action now, or you should call social services to intervene on their behalf.

1Gran Sat 12-Dec-20 22:22:31

Thank you for all your advice.
You have all been so helpful and I am sorry if I sound a bit stern in my replies.
I am just so worried about the situation so I do apologise.

Bibbity Sat 12-Dec-20 23:04:31

You are not qualified to deal with this.
He should not allow her to have the children unsupervised.
You have both failed these children. So now you need to step up. If your son will not step up and be a good father then you need to protect them. It’s your duty.
Call social services. Call the school. Call their health visitor.

ElaineI Sat 12-Dec-20 23:20:35

Agree with other posts - you can't diagnose bipolar in a small child - probably all 3 yo children behave this way. 10 yo is a worry but children of this age can suffer depression. DD2 works in CAHMS under 12 team and they have a programme of input with children and parents to diagnose and treat mental health issues but WL is huge and service totally understaffed so you need to really push for help. Must be a huge worry and I hope your son has the support of social services, GP, police and has had initial referral done for children due to Mum trashing house and being aggressive to him and her mother. If not then your son needs to request it or you can even anonymously. I don't know if you are UK though as laws may be different if you are not. An adult needs to step in for these poor children.

paddyanne Sat 12-Dec-20 23:27:37

If she thinks she'll lose her children she wont go for help.thats quite commn with mental illness.She needs to be reassured that no one will take her children from her before she'll get the help she desperately needs.If she's been like this for a long time why has your son sat back and allow the situation to deteriorate? It was his place as husband and father to look out for their welfare and he has royally messed up.Would you expect any young woman with severe post natal illness to react differently than she has and yet you would surely rush to help.It may well all be linked to PND.get her help and offer your help to her but dont threaten to remove her children .that may well result in her suicide .

Smileless2012 Sun 13-Dec-20 14:04:03

1Gran please don't threaten to contact social services; contact them if your son refuses too; tell him you'll do so if he doesn't.

These children need help and so does their mother. As things currently stand they shouldn't be left alone with her, for her sake as well as theirs your son needs to do something. If he can't or wont then I'm afraid the burden of responsibility is yours.

travelsafar Sun 13-Dec-20 14:12:43

Oh how my heart bleeds for these poor sad children. Get help for them, no one else is going to. Maybe start by contacting the school for the boy and see if they have a way of getting him some help. Not sure who you would approach about the girl unless she goes to a nursery which may have contacts. such a worry for you.

BlueBelle Sun 13-Dec-20 14:40:53

I can see why you aren’t in love with this lady but throughout your post you call her ‘that woman’ she may be a lady with mental health problems but she is still a person and the mother of your grandkids She probably is very scared and unable to control her behaviour but far too worried to seek help
If your son has been in a relationship with this lady for 13 years and had two children well spaced apart things must have been alright for a long time
Is the grandsons diagnosis of depression a formal one ? Many 10 years old prefer to stay in their room especially if there is a ruckus going on in the house if he’s getting bullied at school surely he needs a father to sort it out
A 3 year old won’t be displaying bi polar, her behaviour may be completely normal for a three year old girl wanting attention
Who is doing this diagnosing

It sounds as if your son needs to up his game can’t he take the boy out and do things with him on a regular basis instead of letting him sit alone in his room
If he’s put up with this behaviour for 13 years which is a long time what has tipped him over to leave the sinking ship wouldn’t it have been better for him to stay while the kids are small