Grandchild in an unstable home.

I am in my late 40's have a granddaughter (Ally) who by no fault of her own has a mother who is 17 now. My son was 22 at the time of her conception and now resides in a state facility for statutory rape. Will call the teen mom Chrissy has a history of being a party kinda gal and seems to like being a mom only when its cool. My granddaughter lives with Chrissy and Chrissy's alcoholic father and there is very little stability or schedule. My granddaughter is taken from kids house to kids house where parties are rampant. I have since this baby girl was born had opportunity to take her for weekends and overnights with NO hassles from teen mom or other grandfather. Ally turns 2 this month. It would take about 2 hours for Ally to even smile or connect with myself/boyfriend/aunt etc. Upon returning granddaughter to her custodial home after a weekend Ally would cry and not want to go to her mom. Always broke my heart! I have since moved out of state for work and am no longer able to rescue Ally per say every weekend or just pop in to check on her. I have asked Chrissy and her father if it would be ok if I brought Ally to TX for a month or so over the summer and they on a number of occasions said I could have her whenever I wanted her for as long as I wanted her. But my fear is of what it would do to Ally to come here for the summer and be stable happy and scheduled and then have to return to the chaos. My question is: Is it going to be more traumatic to take this precious little girl for a few months and then in theory throw her back into that mess of a living arrangement. I would love to attempt custody of Ally but Grandparents have NO rights or what I can gather. Child services has been called on this family before but I don't want to go that far seems so extreme. Ally is fed bathed and not abused physically as far as I have seen thus far. Just the emotional toll it takes on her at 2 is tremendous. Any assistance here would be helpful.
Loving Grandmother

Ben's Answer:

This is a heartbreaking situation. And far too common. This girl, from what you describe, is suffering some serious trauma and by any psychological standards is experiencing neglect. It sounds like she has a healthy attachment to you. As painful and traumatic as it may be for her to leave your care, the months she spends with you would be a light in the dark that could save her from a life of total despair (if it is that bad at her house). Sometimes, later in life, it's those scattered times, those few positive, loving experiences that give a person meaning, and hope and a reason to live. I suggest doing all you can manage to do for her. I've seen many teenagers whose lives were literally saved by a caring grandparent, when they had nowhere else to turn. If she can establish a positive relationship with you now, she may come back to you later, if things get even worse.

I'd call child protective services just to get their advice on the situation. You can even call anonymously.

I know it's painful to be in your position. But you could save her years of future pain, by being in her life now.

Take Care,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist

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