My Girlfriend's Step-Father is an Alcoholic and Abuses Her Mother

Published: January 30, 2018
Dear TeenHealthFX,
So my girlfriend step-dad is a alcoholic and abuse her mom but her mom won't break up with him like they did a lot of times but they get back together she is 16 he came to her house at night when they broke up walked in the house and said where is the other guy when there isn't another guy there. So like what should she do?
Signed: My Girlfriend's Step-Father is an Alcoholic and Abuses Her Mother

Dear My Girlfriend's Step-Father is an Alcoholic and Abuses Her Mother,

TeenHealthFX recommends that your girlfriend speak to a trusted adult who can intervene on her and her mother’s behalf to ensure that they are not continuing in an unsafe and abusive situation.  She can speak to a staff member at her school, such as a teacher, school nurse, school counselor or the principal. She could also contact a child abuse hotline (information listed below) so she can describe what is going on and get some guidance as to how to handle things.

FX would also recommend your girlfriend meet with a reputable therapist, such as a clinical social worker or clinical psychologist. A therapist can help her with whatever thoughts and feelings she is dealing with around this situation, as well as intervene when necessary to ensure your girlfriend is safe at home.

Your girlfriend can also contact, or speak to her mother about contacting, The National Domestic Violence Hotline. There is useful information on hotlines, resources, safety plans and more. If your girlfriend lives in NJ, she or her mother can also contact the Jersey Battered Women’s Service (JBWS) 24-hour helpline, 973-267-4763.

The main thing right now is for your girlfriend to talk to trustworthy, caring, professional adults about what is going on so that she is not dealing with this all alone, so that she has the support and guidance she needs to deal with this difficult situation, and so that she has people who can intervene when necessary to ensure she and her mother are safe.

The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. Serving the U.S. and Canada, the hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with professional crisis counselors who—through interpreters—provide assistance in over 170 languages. The hotline offers crisis intervention, information, and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service, and support resources. All calls are confidential. 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453.

If your girlfriend lives in northern New Jersey and needs help finding a therapist, she can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area she can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in her area. She can also contact her insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with her school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in her area.

Signed: TeenHealthFX