Gary may think he’s protecting baby Leah by keeping her from seeing Amber behind bars, but experts tell HollywoodLife.com he’s actually doing more harm than good. Do YOU think Leah should visit her mom in jail? Read on for more details.
Poor baby Leah! The three-year-old hasn’t seen her mom, Amber Portwood, since she was sentenced five years behind bars in June 2012 for violating probation. And recently in an emotional interview with Dr. Drew Pinksy — from prison — the Teen Mom star revealed that her baby daddy, Gary Shirley, won’t let her daughter visit her! While Gary may think he’s doing the right, experts tell HollywoodLife.com this can be very damaging for little Leah.
“These are the years where the bonding takes place; where she integrates her mother as an object of permanence and as a role model,” Dr. Jeff Gardere, chief contributor to HealthGuru.com tells HollywoodLife.com. “It it is important for a mother and child to have a relationship. Today, bringing children into jail for visitation is not as damaging as it once was. They have certain areas designated for child visitation.”
And another expert agrees, adding that Leah’s potential anger or sadness will eventually come out either now — or when she’s older.
“The truth is that if a parent protects their child from the truth, they are only prolonging whatever reaction they predict will be there and in fact make it larger. The longer this little girl is ‘protected’ from the truth of who and where her mother is, the larger a deal will be when she finally finds out. And she will eventually find out because it’s the truth of her life and eventually the truth shows itself no matter what,” top parenting expert Dr. Phil Dembo tells HollywoodLife.com. “If Gary wants to help the development of his daughter, he would ease her into visits with her mother, keeping the story as neutral as possible and the visits and contact as ritualized as possible.”
Amber broke down in tears during her interview with Dr. Drew and revealed that she feels neglected by her family.
“I’ve sent papers to Gary to sign twice so he could bring Leah to see me, but he hasn’t done that. It makes me feel like I don’t even matter; I never mattered,” she told Dr. Drew.
Dr. Jeff Gardere says that Amber should seriously consider reaching out to legal authorities about this.
“She needs to take legal action. I don’t know the exact custody agreement but she needs to speak with the father civilly and appeal to human decency and their personal relationship. They need to consider the mental health of Leah,” tells HollywoodLife.com.
Amber is locked up in Indiana’s Rockville Correctional Facility for up to five years.
What do YOU think, Hollymoms? Do YOU think Gary should be taking Leah to visit Amber in jail? Vote and weigh in below!
— Reporting by Sandra Clark & Nicole DeBari, written by Nicole Karlis
More on Amber Portwood’s Prison Sentence:
- Amber Portwood Prison Protection — Fellow Inmate, Sugarfoot, Has Her Back
- Amber Portwood Prison Weight Loss — Drops 25 Lbs Behind Bars
- Amber Portwood In Jail — Slammer Time Has Teen Mom ‘Very Depressed’