Teen Mom 2's Jenelle Evans has been through her fair share of volatile relationships throughout the past few years, and we're starting to worry about how her penchant for hot-tempered bad boys will impact her 3-year-old son Jace. Wetpaint Entertainment reached out to acclaimed psychotherapist and best-selling author M. Gary Neuman, who (not too surprisingly) affirms that Jenelle's pattern of abusive relationships could affect Jace "quite negatively" in the long term.
Follow @MGaryNeuman on Twitter for more info, and be sure to check out his new relationship program Neuman Method, as featured on The Today Show and Katie Couric.
"Jace will likely be quite negatively affected," Dr. Neuman told us, "but since he is so young, there is much greater hope that the damage can be undone."
So what can Jenelle do to ensure that Jace doesn't go down the same sordid path of partying, drug abuse, and ultimately becoming abusive himself?
"From this point on, the child must experience greater structure and not be put in a situation where he loves a mom who offers him an unstable and potentially abusive upbringing," Dr. Neuman stresses. "He also needs a proper father figure, which can be filled by a grandfather, uncle, or somebody who moves in the direction to care for him and be that stand-in father."
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like Jenelle's current husband, Courtland Rogers, can be that strong male figure Jace so desperately needs. Courtland was arrested back in March after Jenelle pressed multiple domestic abuse charges against him, alleging that he assaulted her while she was pregnant (she later miscarried and he pleaded guilty). Courtland was arrested yet again on April 23 after a fight with Jenelle turned physical, and according to the police report he's currently facing charges of simple assault and felony heroin possession. Jenelle was also arrested after the alleged incident and is due in court on May 14 to face felony drug charges.
Jace thankfully wasn't present for either of these altercations as far as we know (Jenelle's mom Barbara currently has full custody of Jace), but he has been present for a number of blowout fights between the Teen Mom 2 star and ex-boyfriends Gary Head and Kieffer Delp — which, according to Dr. Neuman, can have serious long-term consequences.
"When children witness abuse, they adopt a fearful view of daily life which causes them potential severe anxiety and panic as well as growing up feeling powerless," he advises.
Thankfully, Jenelle's fully aware that she has an addiction to toxic relationships and has even begun seeking help to address her issues. "I need individual counseling and therapy … for being addicted to relationships," Jenelle recently explained. "I can honestly admit this about myself and can't seem to help it unless I continue to get the help I need through therapy."
The first part of fixing a problem is admitting that you have one, right? Hopefully Jenelle's latest arrest is the wake up call she so desperately needs to turn her life around and ultimately provide a healthier, more stable environment for Jace.
Lindsay Dreyer is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @LindsayNYC.