Tragic Missing Mom Story Has Kids Hopeful on Thanksgiving

dinner tableWhen I first heard about Susan Powell, the Utah mother who went missing almost two years ago, the first thing I thought about were her two young boys. Her youngest son was only 2 years old when she first disappeared! 

Losing your mother would be traumatic for any child, but I think it might be especially damaging for a toddler. The boys have been separated from their father, too, as of September. But the boys are living with their grandparents now, and the grandparents are doing something extremely important to help the boys cope: they're keeping regular routines.


I can't imagine how traumatizing the last two years have been for Susan Powell's kids. When my son was 2, his bond with us was probably the most important thing in his life. He was like a yo-yo, clinging to me one minute, and then running off to explore the world. Feeling safe and secure with his parents gave him the confidence to test his brand-new independence.

Take away that security and small children can feel vulnerable and unsafe. That's why I'm so glad Susan's parents have stepped in to care for them. They have established meal times, bed times, and activities, according to a report they filed as part of the custody battle they are fighting with the boys' father, Josh Powell. "We do have family night where we play games and talk to one another. That is not going to change as part of our weekly lifestyle," says the boys' grandfather, Chuck Cox. The boys are getting therapy, and that's important, too. But I think having a stable home life is just as important for helping these small boys cope with the confusion and stress swirling around them.

That's why I hope the boys' grandparents keep custody with the kids. Josh Powell lost custody of the boys in September when his father (with whom he lives) was arrested on voyeurism and child porn charges -- yeesh! If that's really what's been going on in that home, it's all the more reason to keep the boys with their maternal grandparents! But regardless, life seems safer and more supportive at the grandparents' house. My heart breaks for those two little boys, but I think those regular family dinners are going to help get them through these troubled times.

Do you think Susan Powell's kids are better off with their grandparents than with their father? Have you seen regular routines help small children cope with stress?


Image via bfhoyt/Flickr

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