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.

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athene1399

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Re: How do you explain the situation to school professionals?
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2019, 05:11:44 PM »
You can always explain how DS is at home when he's upset (how he behaves, what he says...). And ask the principal/teacher how you can support DS or see if there's other resources/programs at the school that could help. Explain he doesn't want to see a T, but ask what else you can do. That way you are asking for help instead of accusing. Just describe the behavior. You really don't know what's going no at your ex's, but you can mention DS comes home from there upset. Don't try to fill in the blanks, let them do that on their own. And just ask how you can make it better. I think you just describing it and asking how to help DS will show them what's going on. I doubt your ex is calling them asking them for help. Like everyone else said, you just have to let outsiders come to their own conclusions. No one really "gets" it unless it's their profession to get it (like they work with people with PDs), or they actually live it. And document who you talked to at the school and what they say. I hope things get better for DS soon.  :bighug:

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Associate of Daniel

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Re: How do you explain the situation to school professionals?
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2019, 09:32:31 AM »
It's taken ds's school 6 years to finally see the craziness of uNPD exH and not think of me as a bitter ex wife or crazy person.

But they are still tactful about how they speak with me about him.  I can see that they just want to let rip about what they think of him but they manage to not do it. They have to remain neutral.

I think they'll be glad to see the back of him.

AOD

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Goldielocks

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Re: How do you explain the situation to school professionals?
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2019, 10:33:06 AM »
Depending on which country you are in, there should be a named Safe-Guarding member of staff at the school that you and your son can turn to. She/He is the one who should know your situation the best and everything will be recorded by him or her. This person would also speak to other agencies on your behalf and with your full knowledge. I would ask about all of this at the school.

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turtlemama

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Re: How do you explain the situation to school professionals?
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2019, 09:57:40 AM »
Thank you all for your replies.  As it turn out DS7's therapist thinks it is best if DS switches to another therapist since DS won't open up to him.  We are going to try a female therapist.

On a form at therapy it asked about significant events in DS's life that would affect his mental health, and I wanted to say that when exuNPD and I were married, DS definitely witnessed domestic abuse.  But I know exuNPD would just deny it, and I feel it would be unfair to him. 

He's been acting like this great father lately (same story I know as a lot of people on here), has two kids now with the gf, even though I know in reality it is the same old act I'm sure. 

I'm just feeling frustrated about this situation.  And I know in my heart that I'm the stable one!

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athene1399

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Re: How do you explain the situation to school professionals?
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2019, 10:39:26 AM »
I hope he is able to open up to the new therapist.  :) 

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Whiteheron

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Re: How do you explain the situation to school professionals?
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2019, 09:28:34 PM »
turtlemama, I think it's worth a call to the new T to tell her (factually) what DS witnessed and the age he was when it occurred. You're not smearing the ex, you are staring facts. That being said, this is a one-on-one conversation between you and the T, not to be had in front of your ex. Your DS needs help and his witnessing these events has most likely affected him in some way.

I certainly let both kids' T's know about the verbal and emotional abuse the kids witnessed and were experiencing themselves. Of course I didn't call it that, I just gave examples and asked for help in guiding the kids while they were dealing with these behaviors, since I would no longer be there to buffer them from him.

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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Stepping lightly

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Re: How do you explain the situation to school professionals?
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2019, 12:52:33 PM »
Hi!

In our situation, BM tells the schools that the kids issues are due to our home- just an extension of her ongoing smear campaign.  So, if DH goes in and says anything that points that finger at BM- that is just going to escalate everything and not be helpful.

IMO, the best way to present is to be the parent looking to help the child, not determine the source of the issue.  If the school has an idea that the other parent's home is disruptive- that's really all you need.  Then you show up saying "from your perspective, what can I do to help this situation? How can I help the school? my child?"  Be the helper, not the accuser.  Make it easy for the school to reach out to you, and they know they will not get a dramatic "the other parent sucks" type response...but a "ok, how can we work together on this" response.  They don't want to be in the middle, they don't want to be dragged into a custody battle.