Don’t let fear stop you from doing what’s right

  • Sunday, March 30, 2014

Did you know there is some form of violence in 50 percent of relationships? And, thankfully there is help and hope.

Dear Liz,

Am I meddling or helping? I babysit for my 4-year-old granddaughter, the youngest of my daughter's children, while she and her husband work. Her husband is, well, very controlling and a bit scary to us. He is blocking the 4-year-old's medical care – deemed necessary by her pediatrician – and they have the insurance to cover it. Am I out of line for just taking her during the day when I have her? We fear his anger and that he might “punish” us by taking the grandkids from us. What do we do?


Dear “Scared,”

How sad that your daughter is married to a man you describe as controlling and scary. There are legal requirements, through the S.C. Department of Social Services, for children to obtain required medical care – or the parents are liable. It even has a name, “Medical Neglect.”

If your 4-year-old granddaughter needs special care, someone must follow through. It sounds as though those parents NEED your help, so he would be only inconveniencing himself to not have you babysit. YOU are doing them and your grandchildren a great service.

You do not mention your daughter's stand on this – if she is too scared to go against his wishes, the problem is even larger. I'd start with the pediatrician and let him or her know what is going on. He, as a professional in this state, has an obligation to report if a child is at any risk. Perhaps, as a doctor, your son-in-law will listen to that authority before the doctor has to report.

People often do not want to get into the “middle” – especially of what sounds like an abusive relationship. And for good reason – it is one of THE most dangerous situations our law enforcement officers have to deal with because of the complex nature of the problem. It is not uncommon for the victim to turn on the police (who are there to help the victim!) to “protect” the abuser. In any event, get good counsel and proceed. We have to stand up for children, as it sounds like you do. I'd (quickly) discuss this with clergy, a good counselor and even a family law attorney to know the best way to proceed. Very sticky situation. By the way, your daughter may need to know she is NOT stuck in the situation but must quietly proceed. Here are some resources that may help you (and others): www.dss.sc.gov and www.handsonhealth-sc.org. My prayers will be with you as you proceed to do the right thing to remedy this problem. I truly want to know the steps and outcome. For anyone in a potentially dangerous domestic situation, please seek help immediately through the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE(7233).

There is a lot of great help locally, especially through “My Sisters House.” No one, and especially children, need suffer the horror and long-lasting consequences of this type of dynamic in what should be a loving, safe home!

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