Dr Phil: I’m Not Unstable; Give Me My Children Back
How do you help someone who does not want to help herself? Dr Phil met a family that does not know where to go next. Jennifer is a 40-year-old mother of three. However, her children, ages 6, 18, and 20, now all live with her parents, Anne and Charles. According to the grandparents, Jennifer’s life is so unstable that her family thinks she may suffer from mental illness and her parents say they had to step in and provide a safe space for the children. However, with a custody hearing coming up, Jennifer is convinced that this is all a ploy to take her kids away.
The grandparents believe that Jennifer has been putting her 6-year-old daughter in danger. Charles and Anne want to see their daughter well, but they believe she is unwilling to acknowledge or deal with the issues in her life that she needs to address. They would love to see her back at the head of her family, but no one believes Jennifer is prepared for that in her current state.
Dr Phil: Supervised Visits After Losing Custody
Right now, Jennifer has weekly supervised visits with her 6-year-old, but she says she is ready for that arrangement to end so her children can be back under her roof immediately. However, she has a lot to lose at the next custody hearing, because Charles and Anne have begun the process of formally adopting their young granddaughter.
Jennifer feels like she is fighting an uphill battle, because it appears the deck is already stacked against her. In her view, her parents committed fraud in order to gain custody of her family out from under her. She said her parents started rumors that she was Bipolar or Schizophrenic. Dr Phil explained that those would not necessarily rule her out from having custody, and added that her doctor did not mention them in his report.
Dr Phil: Did Her Parents Ruin Her Reputation?
What other fraud does Jennifer allege her parents committed? She suggested that her family coordinated a campaign to suggest that her behavior was erratic and her statements were irrational. She thinks they teamed up to get their stories straight. “They all gave information that was completely negative about me, and some of it was not true at all,” Jennifer said, though she did a lot of rambling in making the point that she has never committed domestic violence.
When Jennifer’s parents, Charles and Anne, joined the conversation onstage, they explained why they intervened in their daughter’s family to begin with. They felt that the young girl’s life could be in danger, even though they are retired and had not planned to raise another child at this stage in life. Charles and Anne said they used to babysit when Jennifer would go out and party with her own daughter. This led to plenty of family disputes.
Dr Phil: Give Me Money Or My Daughter
“Even since we have had custody of my granddaughter, we have had to call the police when [Jennifer] comes to the door, to get her to leave,” Anne said. She also added that Jenny should be aware of the Bipolar Disorder diagnosis she once received, noting that her daughter did not follow up on the recommended treatment.
Jennifer disputed the allegations that police have been involved in removing her from her parents’ home. She wanted to split hairs here and tried to cling to any passing detail. Dr Phil wondered whether she was showing up at their door at all hours, demanding money or her daughter, which she did admit. She also butted heads with her parents about access to her child late at night.
Dr Phil: Teen Daughter More Mature Than Mom
Next, it was time for Jennifer’s 18-year-old daughter Sarah to join in on the family fun. Sarah said she is concerned that her mother is mentally ill, and recalled that she often talks about what seems like nonsense. Sarah said that she has often felt like the mother in their mother-daughter dynamic, and she is also disappointed that her mother has pawned her children off on others.
Sarah said she has watched her mom mooch off of and manipulate men to get whatever she wants. She said that she moved in with her grandparents at age 17. There, she and her younger daughter have much more stability and structure in their daily routines. Sarah sat next to her grandparents on the stage with Dr Phil and Jennifer.
Dr Phil: Troubled Mother Vs Family
Sarah confronted her mother directly, saying that she seems to not be accepting responsibility for her own part in everything that has transpired. “If you really want help, you’re going to have to man up,” Sarah said, as part of a long speech. She had a much better head on her shoulders than 99% of the people who appear on that stage, so someone in that family must have done something right along the way.
Jennifer had something she wanted to say, but she had a lot of trouble getting it out. After a lot of coaching from Dr Phil, she finally got some traction, though she once again was not making the clearest of points. Jennifer said her father does not like her and that he now says the same things her ex-husband used to say about her. She did a lot more verbal tap dancing, and even Dr Phil couldn’t decipher what she was getting at.
Dr Phil #HelpingGrandparents: Custody Questions
Do you think these #HelpingGrandparents are doing the right thing? Sound off on social media or leave a comment to express your opinion about this show. Then come back for part two of this story, when Jennifer’s 20-year-old son joins the conversation.
Have you ever been in the middle of a custody battle? This is a challenging life situation, but you can navigate it by remembering to put the needs of the kids first. Providing for them should come before any other obligations.
Think about whether you have shown up for and/or completed all scheduled visits with the children. Have you taken advantage of every opportunity to see them? Have you maintained your financial obligations and/or provided for the children’s other basic needs on an ongoing basis (this might include paying child support)?
The best thing to keep in mind when it comes to matters of custody is that this is not about you and your ex, or whatever you may still have between the two of you. Make the kids the priority as you go through the process. For more parenting advice, pick up Dr Phil’s book, Family First.