Question: Our family is in crisis. Our grandchildren are being raised in a non-christian home where there is a great deal of dysfunction, including emotional and verbal abuse. What advice would you give to us as grandparents? We feel we need to be involved however do not want to cause more conflict and risk being barred from seeing our grandchidren. Do you offer some type of conseling online or can you recommend reading materials that would help us? We are desperate.

Answer:
Dear Friend, Thanks so much for writing.
It's difficult as a grandparent to see your grandchildren suffering from emotional/verbal abuse because you are unable to intervene.
I suggest that you make yourself available to baby/kid-sit whenever there is an opportunity. This will give you time to build a good relationship with your grandchildren and give them time to open up about what is happening at home. Though verbal/emotional abuse is truly abusive - it is difficult to provide obvious evidence of this abuse to the authorities.
On the other hand, if the children indicate to you that there has been physical or sexual abuse - you will need to report it to the Child Protective Services in your State.
You may fear the repercussions of such reporting but, the safety of your grandchildren is your highest priority and you can ask to keep your name anonymous.
 

HOW TO REPORT SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT 
If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, the Dept. of Child and Family Services at (800) 252-2873 
Each State has jurisdiction over these matters, and has specific laws and procedures for reporting and investigating. 
In some States, all citizens are mandated reporters by State law and must report any suspicion of child abuse or neglect. 
Childhelp® USA National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD®
 
In the meantime you may want to receive guidance and counseling. We here at CounselCare Connection, P.C. offer online/phone counseling
 
May I also suggest that you do whatever you can to build your relationship with the parents (your adult child and spouse). This may take some effort and patience on your part since they may be abusive towards you and they may be abusing drugs or alcohol. Often, child abuse is the result of substance abuse by the parents.
If you can build your relationship - you may be able to gently confront them to get help for the substance abuse. It's difficult to do this but, with the Lord's help - He can give you the wisdom you need. If there is substance abuse you should learn all you can about addiction and codependency. Here's another helpful article about handling an Adult Daughter's Poor Choices.
 
Let us know if you would like counseling. If you want to see a professional in your area - check out the list of Christian counselors at: www.aacc.net
 
God bless you!
Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC
© copyright 2008 by Lynette Hoy, NCC, LCPC