With Amber back in jail, eyes now focus on poor Leah, her young daughter. Our child behavior experts tell HollyBaby.com exclusively how Amber’s poor decisions could negatively impact her little girl’s life.
Teen Mom‘s Amber Portwood will spend the next five years in jail for failing to clean up her drug problems, leaving behind her three-year-old daughter Leah. We asked experts to weigh in on how Amber’s continued troubles and incarceration might affect little Leah as she grows up.
At her young age, our doctors agreed that steps must be taken to protect Leah emotionally, or there could be dire consequences.
“As [Leah] gets older the fact that she cannot bond with her mother might give her issues with trust because that’s what she believes a women should be,” says Dr. Jeff Gardere, a family psychologist.
Dr. Gardere warns that since Amber has drug problems, Leah may even have a genetic predisposition of having them herself, saying “We do know that drug and alcohol use has a genetic competent, so it puts her at risk.”
These problems will not manifest until Leah reaches her teens, but if there isn’t someone who can be there for stability there’s going to be a issue, warns Dr. Gardere.
Additionally, Leah can possibly be going through anxiety or even depression at her young age, says Dr. Susan Abbot, a family psychiatrist who works in a private practice in Manhattan.
Signs of depression will be the most telling when Leah is reunited with her mother. “Is she being angry at the parent or shunning her? Is her behavior clingy or anxious? Her reactions would gives clues to the nature of the bond.”
Given the sad warnings, what’s the best step for Leah?
“Leah needs to know that someone important to her isn’t abandoning her and thinks highly of her,” said Dr. Abbot. “Depending on who the primary caretaker is, they should discuss with a pediatrician whether the child is showing normal behaviors of her age — is she able to socialize with other kids, play with them, care for their feelings, is she continuing to develop?”
“A 3-year-old doesn’t usually know what jail means,” concluded Dr. Abbot. She advises that Leah be told in very basic terms that “mommy made a mistake and now she has to make up for it. It’s going to be all fixed.”
— Lorraine Chow
More Amber Portwood news:
- Jail Will Hurt ‘Teen Mom’ Amber Portwood More Than Help, Experts Say
- ‘Teen Mom’ Catelynn Lowell Reacts To Amber Portwood’s Prison Sentence
- ‘Teen Mom’ Cast Spill Amber Portwood Drama Details: ‘It’s Hard For Her Daughter’