How do you explain the situation to school professionals?

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turtlemama

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How do you explain the situation to school professionals?
« on: March 15, 2019, 09:47:05 AM »
So things have gotten better for DS7 at school the last 3 months and he has been having far fewer issues. However, this past weekend when he was with his Dad, something happened and he came back to my house angry and upset. It was so bad that he had a bad headache and threw up.

I knew this was affecting him internally and it ended up with him having a bad day at school and I was contacted by the principal.

If I tried to explain to her that DS7 is being emotionally abused by his Dad (and DS7 denies saying it was him who came up with the idea) I end up looking like a spiteful ex-wife.  But obviously exuNPD is affecting DS7.  It was over not letting him stay with his Dad extra time because of a work trip and his change in schedule. (I had valid reasons).

What are my options? He is still refusing to talk to his therapist.  The principal is already aware of drama at exuNPD’s house and how his girlfriend yells and screams at DS7.

I somehow want this documented because uNPD is now threatening to take me back to court.

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Penny Lane

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Re: How do you explain the situation to school professionals?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2019, 07:27:03 PM »
I'd make the distinction between "telling the principal so she knows it's your ex's fault" vs "telling the principal so she better understands the problem." DH and I have gone back and forth on this sort of thing in his life and where we've arrived is that he shouldn't purposely badmouth BM just to make her look back (not that you’re doing that! But to avoid even the perception.) But neither will he hide her bad behavior if someone else needs to know (or even if it just makes the situation easier if everyone knows how badly she's behaving!) Maybe that philosophy could guide you to the right middle ground here?

If the principal knows about the yelling and stuff, could you ask her for help? Like, as you know we've been working with DS on regulating his emotions. But I continue to run up against problems with yelling, etc. at his dad's house. Do you have any resources that might be able to help?

If not, maybe just let it go? You've done so much work on this I'm sure the school understands how hard you're trying.

I'm so glad to hear your son's issues seem to be lessening! And believe me, I am CERTAIN you had valid reasons, no need to defend yourself there!
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 07:49:10 PM by Penny Lane »

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Whiteheron

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Re: How do you explain the situation to school professionals?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2019, 10:59:02 PM »
Right or wrong, I've told teachers/administrators at the school that the kids seem to have a hard time at dad's house. No labels, no descriptions, no finger pointing (kind of?). I've had teachers approach me about DS in particular. I've been told by a few different teachers that he seems depressed, not himself, really down, etc. At the time I blamed it on a "bad home situation" and that I was aware DS was having trouble and that I was taking steps to remedy the issue.

What I did with DD was to get her seeing the school counselor. That helped - I was asked to describe her home life and let the counselor know that stbx was mentally ill and that DD was having a hard time with some of his behaviors. No blame, just sympathy, as if stbx couldn't help it (even though he is in control of his own behaviors and chooses to act the way he does).

I have also called the kids' T's beforehand and let them know what's been going on, if there's something in particular that's concerning me but that I'm not certain DS/DD will bring it up in T. I do always give the T permission to let whichever child know that I called before hand and let the T know such and such was going on. For DD, especially, this opens up the door to talk about (or not) subjects that she might find difficult to bring up on her own. Otherwise DD will refuse to talk to her T about anything other than the girl drama at school.  :roll: I do emphasize that neither their dad nor I will know what is said in T. Neither one of them believes that 100%...maybe that's why your DS is reluctant to speak to his T?

You could talk to the T and let him/her know you're concerned because you've seen behaviors from DS that you find alarming, without mentioning abuse or his dad. Tell the T that it seems to happen after a weekend with dad, but you're not certain what's going on. I find that in order to stay out of it and not get in trouble for alienating, I play dumb, give the T (or GAL) enough crumbs to get them started, then hope like heck they can piece together what's going on. So far it seems to be working - I heard from my L that the GAL is hearing things in line with what I've been saying (to my L)...and I know the GAL recently spoke with DD's T. So maybe she sees it?

It's so very frustrating to not be able to tell everyone what's going on. I just think of how much it would help the kids if I could just say...
but I can't. So I drop clues and hints wherever I can and let people draw their own conclusions. Meanwhile I'm over here fretting and worrying myself into near anxiety attacks, hoping like mad that people will see the truth.



You can't destroy me if I don't care.

Being able to survive it doesn't mean it was ever ok.

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sevenyears

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Re: How do you explain the situation to school professionals?
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2019, 03:49:11 AM »
IME it is a tight line to walk between keeping the school informed and not blaming. Like WH said, it is frustrating not being able to just say what it is.. I've found that people don't understand when I explain it - it is better to describe what is going on and let them draw their own conclusions. Professionals are usually pretty insightful.

My DD7 had problems at school, and the teacher asked to meet me. I informed my stbxh, who insisted on coming to the meeting as well. During the meeting, I explained some of DDs experiences without identifying stbxh as the source. Each time, he either denied her experience or blamed other people as the source of her trouble. I don't know if the teachers got that his behavior towards her is the cause, but at least they know what the causes are and that we are in a pretty conflictual divorce/custody battle. While I want the custody dispute to end as soon as possible so that we can all move on, I think the longer this goes on, the wiser the teachers will be to the problem, without me actually blaming him. At least I hope so.