Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Parental Alienation On The First Day Of Kindergarten

How To Cut Through Parental Alienation Like A Chainsaw Through A Shark Storm*

It was the first day of the 2011 NFL football season.   I woke up on my brother's couch, I had gone out of town to spend the weekend with him and some friends.   After a quick shower I decided to grab a beverage at a ubiquitous coffee shoppe because my brother was still asleep and there was at least an hour or so before the start of the first game. 

The gentleman in front of me in the coffee shoppe line was carrying a beautiful squirmy baby girl who was probably between one and two years old.    As soon as this little girl looked at me her face lit up and she automatically started cooing, giggling and reaching for me,   Under normal circumstances I would have just smiled and started a conversation with her father but today was completely different. 

There I was walking outside the parking lot wiping away robust tears of sorrow.    When the little girl reached for me in the coffee shoppe I just completely lost it emotionally and started crying like a child who just found out that their little puppy dog got run over by a truck and broke it's back in multiple places.

The reason that I wept in public was because that was the day that my twin daughters turned three and I was legally unable to see them because of an Order of Protection my then wife had placed on me while we were separated.   The order prevented me from coming within a certain radius of her which is why I just decided to go out of town.   I  fruitlessly attempted to reach out to a few of her relatives asking them to send me photographs of my daughters or even have them telephone me to at least sing them
Happy Birthday".   Long story to short I didn't hear from my girls for at least three weeks after their birthday and never heard back from any of their mother's relatives. 


I was watching Sharknado #2 while trying to coordinate dropping my daughters off on the first day of kindergarten that Monday morning with their mother.    The daughters mother and I divorced soon after their third birthday.  She had the Order of Protection removed and I was even invited to the girls "Meet The Teacher" night the week prior so I didn't find it odd to ask if we could coordinate both being there for the twins being dropped off to school the next day.    In hindsight, I should have just showed up without a heads up because I did anyway. 

After two unanswered e-mails and a few unanswered texts I received the following string of messages late Sunday evening: 

"Interesting" I thought, here's another event that my daughter's other parent did not want me to be a part of a milestone event.   Long story short I just went to the girls school the next morning.   Against my best hindsight judgement I attempted to phone and text their mother a few times to see where they were at but did not get any response. 

Eventually, I found my daughters.   Wished them well, told them how much fun they were going to have and took some Pulitzer Prize winning photographs of them before their first day of kindergarten.  

The moral of the story (aka.   How To Cut Through Parental Alienation Like A Chainsaw Through A Shark Storm):

  • Don't Always Assume That The Opposing Parent Is Attempting To Alienate Your Child(ren) Regardless of Past History:  Yes, I know that my daughter's mother was trying to push the girls away from me by making it illegal for me to attend their third birthday party as she confessed under oath in divorce court.  However, I wasn't sure that this is what she was doing for their first day of kindergarten. It may have been what she was doing but I didn't know that.                             Negative assumptions have a way of just causing worthless anger which could lead to a bad toxic environment.   Now I could have gotten  super upset about Sunday night's text and sent a really angry, vile hateful written message via e-mail or text giving her a piece of my mind.                                     Or I could have showed up to the school before the first day and bawled by ex out in front of my children and all other kids, parents and teachers and negatively affect EVERYONEs day, not just my daughters.    In summary, just focus on controlling yourself and your relationship with your child(ren) because there is nothing that you can do to change or control the behaviour of the opposing parent whether or not they are exhibiting alienating actions. 
  • Focus Only On What You Can Do And Take The High Road:   The first time someone told me about the "high road" concept I thought that they had fallen off their rocker mainly because I used to act as an emotional linebacker who was highly proficient of traveling the low road.  So much so that I prided myself in acting in this manner and re-telling tales in a braggadocios fashion to whoever wanted to or I thought was listening.   In a nutshell when you act from the high road you do what is best for the situation and you focus on yourself and what you can control.    I could have just not shown up for my daughter's first day of kindergarten and then proceed to tell my children that I wasn't there because their mom wouldn't let me go or that I tried to call but since their mother didn't answer I didn't know where to go so I just didn't go.    In summary; focus on what's important and what you can do.   Excluding some extreme situations, which unfortunately do exist to a degree, you do not need the alienating\opposing parent's permission to be a good parent for your child. 
Until we read again, 


p.s.   I am not a therapist nor do I claim to be an expert in Parental Alienation.   One thing I do claim is three plus years of experience in that type  of environment and have picked up a handful of insights over that time frame.   Feel free to reach out to me if you are going through a similar situation and want to talk to someone who has gone through a similar situation and possibly could help. >> jaxonxw@gmail.com

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