boyfriend's child reports domestic abuse at mom's home


I am emailing you with the hope that you may be able to provide me with some guidance on a very serious and troubling matter involving domestic abuse. My boyfriend and I see his 9 year old son every other weekend. He's a great kid and we love him very much. What's extremely concerning to us is that he has confided on a number of occasions that he and his younger brother are witnessing frequent physical abuse occurring between his mother and her live-in boyfriend. I have reported my concerns to DHHS but nothing has been done. I'd like to take him to a professional to talk about the disturbing things he's saying including seeing his mother kicking her boyfriend and being kneed in the hip, punched in the back of the head. I don't know where to bring him on the weekends when we have him to talk to someone about the worrisome things he's saying. He describes the frequency of their arguments as being "one day they hit, the next day they don't". Also, I worry that he is learning and mimicking this behavior as he has repeatedly been in trouble at school as a result of physical altercations with a number of students. Basically, my heart breaks for the poor kiddo and I want to believe that there is some help out there somewhere for him to feel safer and happier. Thank you for your time, I feel helpless and sincerely appreciate it.

Jim's Reply:

Your status as a girlfriend doesn't give you any particular reason to intrude into the lives of the children. While I understand that you may feel connected, you aren't. If you believe there is abuse occurring and you've reported it to the appropriate people, you're done and you shouldn't try to interfere. If you try to take a child to a professional without the permission of both parents, you're asking for trouble. Enjoy your relationship with your boyfriend, be sympathetic to his problems with his former marriage and stay out of it.