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Re: What to do when you suspect emotional abuse?
Eglantine #1874449 04/05/12 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Eglantine
Abusive parents generally behave non-rationally.

One characteristic is that they tend to display completely different behaviour to outsiders and to insiders, and from one moment to the next.

Yes. My mother paid for the piano and lessons, occasionally made me practice, and made derisive comments whenever I did.

Quote
The best thing for the child is to have an adult who is normal to turn to. This has many advantages for the child. It's an escape, it soothes, it provides the child with a representation of normality that they do not otherwise have (incredibly important for their long-term well-being), and it's a place of safety when things get seriously bad.

I agree here also. Sympathetic and understanding teachers were a lifeline for me. I used to wish they would kidnap me and take me home with them. I also spent as much time as I could at friends' houses where things were calm, clean, and safe. I'm still grateful to those parents who put up with my almost constant presence underfoot (and eventually, an insatiable teen-aged appetite as well).

There are many grey-area situations like mine, where teachers & neighbors considered calling childrens' services, but never quite did, probably for lack of persuasive evidence. We were an upper middle class family, us kids attended an exclusive private school, my mother was a minor local celebrity, and I was never hit hard enough to leave visible bruises. What could they tell the authorities?


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Re: What to do when you suspect emotional abuse?
Morodiene #1874541 04/06/12 07:38 AM
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Tangleweeds, I completely agree about the importance of school and teachers... For many kids, school is the last place they want to be, but for abused kids it's often their only refuge from the 'home' nightmare (particularly where the abusive parent forbids any kind of outside-school contact with other children). My headmistress described my father as a "bloody-minded nightmare", and she was a nice Oxbridge-educated woman who never used extreme language, and never saw other than his 'nicer' public face. She pulled out the stops for me, including through her own contacts and social services to find me a foster family, when she realised what was happening. I owe her a lot.

It's a pity that in this case there is no school/teachers for the child in this case.





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Re: What to do when you suspect emotional abuse?
Peter K. Mose #1874553 04/06/12 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
Morodiene, in your safe studio you are literally giving this young girl a voice. That is profound. You might even offer to see her twice a week instead of just once, and call it a scholarship. Keep yourself part of the sphere of influence, if at all possible.

We're with you.


Actually, I do see her twice a week. She is a rare talent and so I had suggested that early on. Usually they keep up with it.

I called up the mother yesterday just to talk and open up the lines of communication between us. I told her that her daughter had told me that she was told to quit voice because she wasn't keeping up with her school work and chores. I told her that I have had students in the past where music becomes all-consuming for them and that I agree 100% that school and chores need to be a priority and backed her up on that. But I also let her know how talented her daughter is (she said that she never sings for her, which is common for kids to be afraid to sing for their parents), and that to stop lesson would be such a shame. She was delighted to hear that her daughter was talented and mentioned that she does fell overwhelmed about home schooling. I suggested that she contact her church to see if anyone there knows of a homeschooling co-op in the area to help her out. I also recommended against entering her daughter into pageants which she had been thinking about doing, as I find them to be pretty destructive to children who are developing artists.

All in all, we had a very good conversation, and she agreed to let her continue lessons with me. They will not be moving from the area for at least another year, and she was fine with doing Skype lessons while I'm back in WI over the summer. I'm glad that we were finally able to talk, and hopefully I have alleviated some of the anxiety that the mom has and will no longer use lessons as a means of manipulation. I also understand her frustration with home schooling and sometimes just being able to tell someone how you feel is huge.


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Re: What to do when you suspect emotional abuse?
Morodiene #1874594 04/06/12 10:05 AM
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This post, for some reason reminds me of the time my very own teacher was able to label my very first depressive episode. I turned 18, and I guess I was lucky because legally I was an adult, so I had a bit more autonomy. I didn't have issues at home but it took a while for my parents to understand my 'craziness.'I rolled up to lessons, apparently looking very tired, and my teacher cared enough to call me after a lesson to ask what was wrong and I sobbed and told him about what kind of a terrible person I was. I was glad that he was there to listen and direct me to the right help (doctors and the like).

It's good you talked to the mother morodiene. It's also good that you are there for the girl. Sounds like a good resolution. The world needs to be full of caring teachers like you.

Re: What to do when you suspect emotional abuse?
Morodiene #1874784 04/06/12 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene

All in all, we had a very good conversation, and she agreed to let her continue lessons with me. They will not be moving from the area for at least another year, and she was fine with doing Skype lessons while I'm back in WI over the summer. I'm glad that we were finally able to talk, and hopefully I have alleviated some of the anxiety that the mom has and will no longer use lessons as a means of manipulation. I also understand her frustration with home schooling and sometimes just being able to tell someone how you feel is huge.


Hi Morodiene, Thanks for updating us. All-in-all, doesn't sound like an abusive situation, possibly a difficult one. In a home-schooling situation, I can easily imagine things getting very tense between mother and daughter, and reasonable discipline (or just attempts to instil responsibility and a work ethic) may come across as quite unreasonable - when told through the eyes of a child, who just needs to let off steam - and who may not have many outlets.

Just as well she has piano lessons!

Edit: But I don't mean to say that it was wrong of you to suspect. Your radar is on. It is quite OK to have suspicions, when something strikes you as abnormal.

Last edited by ten left thumbs; 04/06/12 05:12 PM.
Re: What to do when you suspect emotional abuse?
Morodiene #1875101 04/07/12 10:24 AM
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Your latest update is certainly a positive one, Morodiene. And with the "instant news and instant solutions" flavor of an Internet discussion board, there's a temptation for us all to smile now and move on to the next PW teaching dilemma.

But of course your vignette remains a deep concern, and doesn't get fixed with one phone chat: a mom may indeed by hurting, but our worries are more about a scared and perhaps desperate little girl.

Our thoughts remain with you and that voice student, as your teaching evolves with her.

Re: What to do when you suspect emotional abuse?
Peter K. Mose #1875221 04/07/12 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
Your latest update is certainly a positive one, Morodiene. And with the "instant news and instant solutions" flavor of an Internet discussion board, there's a temptation for us all to smile now and move on to the next PW teaching dilemma.

But of course your vignette remains a deep concern, and doesn't get fixed with one phone chat: a mom may indeed by hurting, but our worries are more about a scared and perhaps desperate little girl.

Our thoughts remain with you and that voice student, as your teaching evolves with her.


Thank you. This is far from resolved for this girl, I'm sure. But now I have opened the lines of communication with the mom and the child still gets to have her lessons, so it's a step in the right direction. Perhaps at some point the student will make a stand for herself, but that's not my call. All I can do is be a safe place for her.


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Re: What to do when you suspect emotional abuse?
Morodiene #1875960 04/09/12 12:55 AM
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Sometimes these reactions are just a way of blowing off steam and one has to be careful to jump to any conclusions based on a few discussions with the student. On the other hand, if it is a chronic situation, I would be suspicious that there was something more to it.

My experience has been that often people are so reluctant to deal with an abuse case, that they readily turn the other cheek and assume the child is the problem. I am not suggesting that one should immediately suspect it, but to not close the eyes to it either. In a normal home situation, there will be up and down days. This is to be expected in a family and at that age for a child. But in a bad situation, there will be no ups. Not just for a couple weeks, but there simply are no up days. It's impossible when living in an abusive environment. I am speaking from the view point of having been a child in such a situation.

Be encouraging and, as many others said, to give her a safe place and show that you are prepared to listen if she wants to talk. Trust is especially important. Whether there is abuse or not, stressed kids need a trusted person to talk to.

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