Educational Child Abuse

Educational child abuseEducational Child Abuse is the harm done to a child by a parent or caretaker who deliberately keeps the child out of school, taking them out repeatedly early, or otherwise preventing a healthy child from being in school consistently.

Although this blog deals extensively with mental child abuse, I thought I’d expose a growing problem that’s also abusive to innocent children.

The motivation is usually a very selfish one of the parent: they’re either too emotionally dependent on the child so they keep them at home, or they are too lazy to ensure that  the child is in school on time every day.

Parents that are capable of educational child abuse are usually abusive in other manners as well. So if a child is being educationally abused, there’s a high likelihood that the child is also being mentally, sexually, medically, or physically abused.

An interesting phenomenon is that of child abuse when the child is being home schooled. There is a serious argument to be made that children are more susceptible to being abused when they are yanked out of school and placed into home schooling. With home schooling, the signs of any form of abuse can very easily be hidden from the public. After all, many of the reports of abuse to authorities are made by schools across America.

Remember Andrea Yates, the mother who drowned her five children in Texas? Not that there’s a defined connection, but her children were home schooled…

Educational child abuse is not yet well documented as a form of “child abuse,” but it’s clearly takes place in too many households and needs to be exposed.

 

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The narcissistic parent

narcissistic parents

Narcissistic Parents

In my study of mental child abuse I’ve noticed how prevalent it is that the child abuser is highly narcissistic.

What’s a narcissistic parent? It’s someone who is self-absorbed, authoritarian (watch out for their outbursts), negative, a know-it-all, never culpable or blameworthy for anything, highly critical of others, secretive, cunning and conniving, manipulative, exploitive, stingy with others (but not themselves), ungrateful, a pathological liar (twists the truth with incredible ease), envious and competitive, deaf to other’s opinions, has zero empathy, doesn’t listen, doesn’t seek agreement (not a single ounce of agreeableness), brags and exaggerates, plays favorites (and it’s a rotating favorite list at that), has no boundaries, never asks you any questions, inept at basic manners, lacks a sense of humor (especially at themselves), and excels at making others feel guilty… He or she is one unhappy person who can successfully convince their targets that they are needed, and that without them their targets would be nothing.

Looking at these traits, how many of them apply to your parent or ex? A narcissist will have most of the traits listed.

There’s a simple reason why the more a parent brainwashes his or her own children (or dishes out any other form of abuse), the more narcissistic tendencies they have:

It takes an extremely selfish and sick parent to inflict such harm onto their own child.

Any mature parent can set aside anger or hurt from a divorce and keep their child on neutral ground by refusing to enroll them in the middle of the conflict. But a narcissistic parent will be hell-bent on minimizing or even outright destroying the child’s relationship with the ex and unable to place their child out of the emotional turmoil. They can’t do it. In fact, they will actively bring pain to their own kids. That’s how mentally ill they are.

So how do you counter these parents, and is there hope for changing them? A sobering quote:

“Trying to reform narcissists by reasoning with them or by appealing to their better nature is about as effective as spitting in the ocean.”

That has been one of my biggest frustrations with my ex, thinking that reasoning with her and letting her eventually calm down and see for herself that I’m a good Dad would temper her behavior towards our son. But it never happened, and her actions even got worse over time. The sad reality is that you can’t change the narcissist. They don’t have the self-awareness or humility to see that they’re out of control and need help. They’re incapable of introspection. It’s deeply unfortunate, especially if your ex is the custodial parent and has ample amounts of time to transfer these narcissistic  traits onto your child.

The only recourse for you is to be a normal parent, providing needed contrast for your child. It’s very important to insist that any behaviors in him or her that mimic your narcissistic ex are stomped out immediately. So if your child is flippant, rude, and lacking manners– and they will on many levels when they’ve been living with a narcissist– don’t tolerate it.

“The narcissist is governed by his or her feelings, the decent person is governed by his or her obligations” – Dennis Prager

Since a narcissistic parent is governed by his or her feelings, they don’t have the ability to own up to their obligations to shield their child from emotional heartache, adult issues, stories of how bad Mommy or Daddy is, etc. They will actively get the children involved in the conflict.

These parents are a vortex of negative energy, and will suck the life out of those around them. Children of narcissists suffer, and they come in two camps: those that are aware of this parent’s bizarre, completely irrational behavior “Yeah, there my Mom/Dad goes again…”, or they’re not and are mentally and physically smothered by the parent. Sadly, lots of these children end up inheriting the narcissist’s traits, supporting the findings that many children of narcissistic parents become narcissists themselves.

The reality is this. Once the children become adults, the only way for them to not further suffer under the tyranny of a severely narcissistic parent is to move away from them. Creating physical separation, and thus limiting contact, from a parent might seem like a bad solution. But the alternative is living a life of suffering. Remember, the narcissist will never change. After all, he or she isn’t the wrongdoer or person with flaws. Everyone else is.

Finally, here is a quote I would like to share that was left in the comment section, below, from a reader:

“The narcissist has no conscience and no feelings for others, especially their own children. The only thing that matters is their own selfish ego– coercing, manipulating, causing chaos, and damaging lives everywhere they go.”

Have a question for me about narcissistic parents? I’ll answer on future podcasts and posts. Thanks! – John

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Turning all phones off during the child’s birthdays, for Thanksgiving, Father’s Day, etc.

It’s been a rare holiday or birthday that I’ve been able to speak to my son. And never has my son initiated a call to me for these important dates– even Father’s Day.

Of course we know that kids aren’t generally aware of these dates and to reach out to loved ones, which is why they usually need a parent’s guidance. In a divorce, that means the parent with the child should help the child reach out to the other parent on these special days. However, a parent bent on minimizing or destroying the importance of their ex will place barricades up to keep the child from connecting to the other parent. It’s simply sick.

Recently on a big holiday, my son’s mother conveniently produced cell phone technical issues and the ridiculous “phone was being charged” argument. Nevermind that almost every phone can be used while it’s being charged.

This difficulty and sometimes outright inability for you to get through to your cute loved one(s) is a telltale sign of that parent’s hostility towards the child having a solid relationship with you. These parents brainwash their children on top of the gag on their child’s communications, and end up harming the child considerably.

One way to take the bull by the horns on this is to ask, preferably via text (so that it’s documented), a few days earlier when’s a good time to call on that day. If it becomes a recurring theme, then it’s time to contact your lawyer and consider a strongly worded letter for starters, up to a full blown hearing. Don’t let this parent get away with such awful behavior!

Think about what this teaches the child:

1. Important occasions don’t warrant even minimal telephone contact with the other parent

2. Ignoring the other parent on Father’s/Mother’s Day, a birthday, or Christmas is completely OK

3. Ignoring your siblings, uncles, and other relatives is also completely OK

It’s sad that parents routinely pull this ploy on their kid’s relationship to the other parent. It’s despicable.

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Medical child abuse (Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy)

Medical Child Abuse

Most experts in child abuse aware that there’s three forms of abuse:

  • Mental/emotional
  • Physical
  • Sexual

However, what many aren’t aware of is one of the most DEADLY forms of child abuse:

Medical child abuse.

Its most common form, and only formally recognized form of medical abuse, is that of “Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.” MSbP is a very serious — and often deadly– form of abuse whereby the parent, usually a mother, inflicts real or fake injuries and/or symptoms to her own child in order to gain attention or sympathy. (read this article for a primer on MSBP).

It’s deadly in that an estimated 10% of kids whose parent has MSbP dies as a result. In fact, it has been estimated by authorities on the subject that approximately 20% of children who are thought to have died due to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) actually died from a parent with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.

In my case, the issue that really stands out is that my son’s mother is never, ever thrilled when batteries of tests come back negative or he recovers from his many “illnesses.” However, when talking about his ailments, many of which are severe, she goes into graphic detail. Yes, we’re talking about a mother that literally gets excited about pulling my son out of school (100 days the past 2.5 years) for medical testing, check-ups, surgeries, etc. However, when away from her, does my son continue to have these supposed illnesses?

Nope. They’re virtually nonexistent when he’s with me, his Daddy.

So when talking about child abuse, it’s important to understand that there are five kinds, not three. And they’re all simply intolerable, as they’re harming the most innocent of us!

  • Mental/emotional
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Medical
  • Educational
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Brainwashing and custodial parents

Brainwashing by Custodial Parents

Brainwashed by Custodial Parent

Who has more inroads to damage a child psychologically, the parent with whom a child spends 85% of the time, or the other parent (also known as “noncustodial” parent)?

Clearly, the custodial parent has the most opportunity to brainwash, align, and otherwise create distortions and lies in a child’s mind. And because women are overwhelmingly awarded custodianship in divorces and paternity suits, the majority of emotional abusive parents are women (to be clear, this does not mean that fathers do not brainwash).

Living with the child nearly full time provides a lot of opportunity to shape a child mentally and emotionally. Custodial parents have a lot of bearing in their child’s upbringing due to this massive imbalance of time awarded them compared to the noncustodial parent. And this time can either be productive or destructive.

Which is why it’s important for courts in America to grant meaningful visitation to the noncustodial parents, especially if mental child abuse is alleged. But sadly the opposite often happens– one parent is actually denied the ability to seek counseling for an abused child.

So sadly, the parent with the most time with the child has the best opportunity to damage her own child psychologically… and if that’s happening to you, it’s time to get the court and CPS involved.

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Munchausen by Proxy 101

Munchausen by ProxyWhat is Münchausen by Proxy Syndrome?

Münchausen by Proxy (origin of this name) is a severe form of deliberate child abuse, usually by mothers (over 90% are women according to one study), whereby the mother deliberately attempts to get her own child sick via falsified physical, physiological, and/or mental symptoms. This is done through exaggeration of symptoms, actual inducement of symptoms, or an outright lie about symptoms.

Why mothers will do this:

  1. To gain the attention and sympathy of the doctors and nurses
  2. Attempt to bring the mother closer to the child’s father
  3. They are depressed and insecure
  4. Absentee mother or father in their own childhood
  5. Desire to control their child
  6. Show their indispensability to the child’s welfare
  7. Restore family cohesiveness
  8. Limit or prevent the child from being with the father through onerous doctor visits

Why it’s such such a deadly syndrome:

  1. 9% of the children die
  2. extremely difficult to diagnose
  3. mothers rarely will admit to it and attend psychotherapy
  4. the abusive parent often seems caring, and is often in the medical profession herself

Children with MBPS:

  1. lots of illnesses in a short period of time
  2. frequent visits to doctors, hospitals, and health clinics
  3. illnesses cease to exist when child is away from the mother
  4. child doesn’t respond to treatment
  5. often assists the mother with deceiving the doctors

Mothers with MBPS:

  1. Often have the same symptoms as their own child
  2. Were abused themselves as children
  3. Often a bad relationship with the father of the child
  4. Often don’t know how the illness occurred
  5. Excellent manipulators; convincing
  6. Are “helicopter moms;” very controlling
  7. Enjoy the attention they receive from caring for their “injured” child
  8. Often are in the medical field themselves
  9. Are attention seekers

Notes:

  1. common for child to exhibit genuine symptoms
  2. exaggeration of symptoms
  3. often mothers are in the health care field themselves
  4. mother has personality disorders in all cases
  5. mother lashes out at any questioning of her motives or actions
  6. mother is usually the custodial parent and has the time to inflict the harm to the child
  7. constant office or hospital visits
  8. most mothers know what they’re doing, and hide their acts aggressively
  9. mother often is not happy when good news appears
  10. rare
  11. one of the most severe forms of child abuse because it can be deadly

Why it’s so hard to stop the harm to the child

  1. Difficult to diagnose or prove
  2. Takes varied forms
  3. Courts and lawyers know little to nothing about the disorder
  4. Child Protective Services (CPS) knows little to nothing about the disorder

The most important task is to protect children immediately from mothers with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. And that has to take place through the courts or Child Protective Services (CPS). Unfortunately, their task is made difficult by the difficulty to prove it, and even if it seems provable with lots of evidence, getting judges and child advocates to understand it.

Sadly, in the meantime the child suffers, and often dies.

Bottom line: the child needs to be removed from the abuse, which means the child must be removed from the abuser.


[Final comment]

Difference between Munchausen and Munchausen by Proxy:

Munchausen is faking your own illness
Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy is faking illness in your own children

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Quote of the Week

Tragically, an ex consumed by revenge will gladly sabotage their child’s loving how you get pfizer viagra feelings with the inducement of false hatred.” – www.brainwashingchildren.com

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Brainwashing grandmothers

Grandmothers who brainwash childrenA parent bent on destroying their own child’s relationship with the ex often have a family member quite willing to take part in the brainwashing…

The grandmother.

Over the years I’ve heard my son’s grandmother enough times to see first-hand how she’s hurting my son’s relationship with me. And I realize that what I’m hearing is only the tip of the iceberg, sadly.

Just a few weeks ago, during a long vacation, grandma tells my son halfway through (paraphrasing),

You’re on the downhill slide!

Translation: The sadness of having to spend time with the other, “lesser” parent- your father- is getting close to ending! Then you’ll be back with us and away from the monster…

Another thing she said that showed how selfish she was during one summer saying to him on the telephone how many hours until she sees him again (I can’t remember the exact number, but it was in the hundreds). And for about 5 minutes prior to that, she asked him nothing about what he was doing (we were out of the state on a trip to the lake). She went on about all the things he was missing back home! Learning absolutely nothing about her grandson’s exciting trip to a large lake…

In many families, the grandmother is the dominant figure in the entire family tree. Which is perfectly fine. But when the grandmother uses her power to aid (or in my situation, lead) the effort to sabotage her grandson or granddaughter’s relationship with his or her own parent, it’s downright despicable.

[Now, this is not to say that grandfathers don’t brainwash children. They can and do. But the reality is that in the vast majority of cases, it’s the grandmother who’s highly emotionally vested in the grandchildren, and as such if they feel aggrieved by a child’s ex-wife or ex-husband, many will go to many lengths to harm that person.]

In the process, of course, hurting not just that ex but a child or children as well.

So, how do you combat a grandmother’s actions that are harming your relationship to you son or daughter?

First, start documenting all comments, texts, voice mail messages, and actions. I use Google Docs for all my notes on the evidence of my son’s brainwashing. Then, once you have this evidence hire a lawyer and see about calling a hearing about this abuse. Now, don’t get your hopes up about the judge taking assertive action. Most family law judges are clueless about PAS*. In my case, the judge to this day has done absolutely nothing to warn the mother despite audio and video evidence, and my testimony on the stand. But you still need to make this effort– wouldn’t you like to know your father or mother held a court hearing over the mental brainwashing that was occurring while you were a child? Show some initiative that sadly too many parents lack.

Secondly, place your child into therapy with a child therapist well versed in *Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS).  This will help your child immensely in the recovery efforts. Having a neutral third party talking to the child about you can do a lot of good.

Third, and I’ll write about this soon as a separate topic, enlist the help of a person who your son or daughter really likes or loves. With some well-timed words talking about you (the targeted parent), and sharing their feelings about you, your child will now have in front of them a huge disconnect: between what they’ve been hearing about you by the brainwashing parent and grandparent for years, and what they’re hearing now from this trusted, liked person.

Last, I highly recommend the book Divorce Poison by Dr. Richard Warshak (order here). He just came out with an updated edition, and it’s terrific. It’s essentially the Bible on Brainwashing.

Don’t just think that brainwashing of children is done by parents. It’s done by grandparents too– and this double-barreled assault on the child and his or her relationship to you can be brutally effective in destroying the child’s opinions, attitudes, and feelings…

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Quote of the Week

Cauldron of hatred

Cauldron of hatred

Although some brainwashing parents may avoid conflict with you, inside they’re often a boiling cauldron of hatred and hostility. – www.brainwashingchildren.com


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Brainwashing children: The four levels of abuse

The Four Levels of Brainwashing Children

The Four Levels of Brainwashing Children

Brainwashing children to despise a parent falls into one of four categories of severity:

  1. Glancing insult
  2. Direct attack
  3. Relationship assault
  4. Relationship-ending coaching

Glancing insult
The glancing insult, also called a “drive-by put down,” is a derogatory remark said to the child about a parent. These are off-the-cuff remarks whose purpose is to instill doubt and negative opinions about the target parent.

Examples include:

“She’s picking you up at 6pm, if she’s even on time”
“So your father didn’t seem to care much about what you thought, huh…”
“You know I love you more than anyone else in the world does, don’t you?”

Direct attack
A direct attack is a slew of words plainly at plainly disparaging you, and thus your relationship to your child.

Examples:

“Your father is an inconsiderate jerk”
“If your mother wasn’t such a messed up soul, your time with her would be much more fun”
“Your mother is a terrible mother, that’s for sure. I can’t believe she did that—what a moron”

Relationship attack
When the source parent tries to harm the parent-child relationship by attacking visitations, minimizing telephone and email contact, and insinuating that time spent with the target parent is bad for the child.

Examples of what such parents will do:

Being “unavailable” all week to receive phone calls from the target parent to the child
Not returning any calls, texts, or emails made by the target parent
Telling the child, “You have complete family here with me and your Dad (step-father), yet he’s again ripping you away from us this Christmas”
Telling the child, “You only have 5 days left with her, then you’ll be back and safe with us.”
Withholding letter, postcards, and emails from the child

Relationship-ending coaching
The most deplorable thing a parent can do to their child is the final step, coaching the child on how to completely break off contact with their own parent.

Some of the things the source parent will teach the child include:

  1. That once the child is 18, he/she no longer has to be in contact with the target parent anymore, and is encouraged to do just that
  2. That once the child is 18, if a boy he can change his last name to something different like his step-father’s last name
  3. That once the child is 12, he/she can go in front of a Judge and state how awful the target parent is, and of the desire to move in with the source parent and not be with the targeted parent at all anymore

Wrap-up: Take the high road
You’ll sometimes feel overwhelmed at correcting the brainwashing being inflicted upon your child. A brainwashed child will act in truly heart-wrenching manners, and you’ll often not even recognize him or her anymore.

But hang in there. Read this blog, discuss with other loved ones your frustration, and read the book “Divorce Poison,” take your complaint in front of the Judge in your case, and you and your relationship will be rewarded one day for your refusal to take part in counter-attacking the other parent.

Be a loving parent, don’t discuss the other parent in a negative light—ever—and take the high ground. Lastly, find a good child therapist who does “play therapy” with children, and you’ll be doing the right things to slowly undo the damage done to your child’s mind.

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