Recently, my stepsons' mother told my husband and me that her husband has been hurting her children (my stepsons). The last incident (the worst, she said) involved him "spanking" the youngest hard enough to leave a long bruise and picking them both up by the head, shaking them and screaming into their faces. He has a long history with CPS and I have spoken with his ex-wife who believes he has been molesting her daughter, as well as abusing her daughter and son (the reason she divorced him). The boys' mother seemed very concerned at first, using terms like "It's a deal-breaker. He can't beat my kids," but has changed her tune to "God made marriage first and children second, so I have to stand by my husband. Children leave you, a spouse is forever."
My husband and I have contacted CPS and all have been interviewed. CPS said that they have determined abuse has taken place, but it doesn't look like they are going to do much about it. All that has been done so far is the boys' mother and stepfather have signed a contract stating that their stepfather is not allowed to be alone with the boys, discipline the boys (verbally or physically) and that their mother is not allowed to discipline them physically. The boys are already staying with their mother and stepfather 50% of the time.
Since the contract was signed, the children have said that their stepfather has started to kick and hit the dogs (stating that they are animals, so it doesn't hurt them). My husband seems relieved that the drama is over and doesn't want to take any further action. I'm afraid he is in denial. As a concerned stepparent, do I have an obligation to do more than has been done regardless of my husband's preference to let it go? I believe that the boys are in danger of being injured or worse. Would it be more harmful to them to try to remove their stepfather from their lives, or to hope that he can learn (at age 45) to control his temper?
Read another response by Mitch Green, Matthew Silverstein
Read another response about Ethics