When my daughter was younger, she deliberately did things that were bothersome, things she knew I would not like, things that would make me angry — not out of retaliation, but because her mother was getting her to keep secrets. In fact, she was still doing it even at age fourteen.
My daughter’s behaviour problem was due to parental alienation against me by her mother, Erin, which amounted to defamation of character. Erin caused our child to have issues with me, as though there was something wrong with me. This caused behaviour problems and ruined my relationship with her.
Abigail was also having serious behaviour problems at school. I strongly suspected it was coming from her mother, but I didn’t know what exactly. My only solution was to show her as much love, encouragement, respect, and all the beauty she had inside as possible. And for a short period, I rewarded her with privileges relative to how well she behaved. If I caught her behaving well, I gave her a sticker which she could use like money to pay for things she wanted. But I only had her a quarter of the time, and nobody else hopped on board with my attempts.
When I emailed her teachers for a rating of her behaviour on a scale of 1-10, they provided articulate descriptions:
Grade Primary Teacher, 2010, Abigail was six years old:
Thanks for your efforts with Abigail at home. Hopefully we will start to see some changes in her behaviour soon. She did not have a great day today. I would rate her day at about a 2 or 3. She was not listening and/or participating in class activities. She was often playing with her toy turtle (which I had to take away from her for the day) or looking at books, playing with blocks. She needed many requests to get ready for recess, lunch and after school. She was also quite physical with other students…grabbing pencils and books right from their hands as they were using/looking at them. She also had a couple of incidents where she was screaming and/or crying when she didn’t get her own way. The music teacher told me that she was going to write up a blue form for Abigail for her poor behaviour during music class. Also, she did not apologize to me as you had asked her to do.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for taking the time to describe her day. I really appreciate it. It really helps to understand some of the details. She was looking at her list of privileges this morning and talking about what she hopes to earn. How would you rate her day today? Also, she was supposed to apologize to you today, hopefully she did it this time.
Abigail did apologize this morning for kicking mud all over my skirt and legs. I could tell that she was trying to make an effort this morning. She was pretty good during centers this morning. This afternoon, however, she was not sitting with the group when asked to do so and she was making loud noises throughout the afternoon. She did get her things on at the end of the day in a more timely manner than usual. Overall, I would rate her day at a 4 or 5.
Well, that’s excellent to hear. She’s going to come home and see that she can earn some things, but some things she’s not going to be able to afford. Every single thing that she wants from now on, she has to earn. She wants to go to bed with a stuffie? That will cost her 1 sticker. She sees a new stuffie at a store that she wants, well, show me the stickers, that will cost you 10 stickers.
A couple days later I asked again for a rating of Abigail’s behaviour:
It turned out my attempts weren’t enough to address Abigail’s behavioural issues because they didn’t address the source of the issue. Two years later, Abigail was still exhibiting the same behaviour problems:
Grade Two Teacher, 2012, when Abigail was eight years old:
Abigail had, in fact, a very challenging day. She was very active, both verbally and physically, and she was not able to follow our classroom rules for behaviour. She engaged in a great deal of “baby-talk”, though she was asked several times to stop. She did not have a productive day in so far as work completion went. I am not sure why her day was so challenging.
As I noted in a previous blog article about parental alienation, Abigail’s teachers confirmed with me through email that Abigail’s behaviour definitely stood out in comparison to the other children.
This was troubling for me because I knew it meant my daughter was suffering.
As I stated to my friend, Tammy, when Abigail was almost seven:
Why did she hate school? She was suffering.
And it crushed my heart to have to do that to her. Luckily, though, it made me even MORE determined to make sure she is loved more than anything.
Not long before the above email from her Grade Two teacher, I had an important experience with Abigail that opened my eyes concerning the source of her issues was. Immediately after I had this experience, I relayed it to Tammy through private Facebook messages.
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From the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence (Now Stop Family Violence):
Possible Indicators of Emotional Abuse and Neglect Include but are not limited to:
Children [What Abigail was experiencing]:
• low self-esteem
• severe anxiety
• inappropriate behaviour for age or development
Adults [What I was experiencing]:
• severe anxiety
• overly passive/compliant
• social isolation
• substance abuse