One of the most pressing concerns for parents who have been married to a sociopath or narcissist is how to prevent their child following that pattern of manipulative behavior. How does the healthy parent keep their child from becoming like the psychologically dangerous parent?
1. Teaching their child EMPATHY
2. Exposing the manipulative parents lies
So how do you go about teaching empathy?
Studies have shown that children who read have a higher chance of being empathetic. When children read stories about people, they can put themselves in the various characters experiences, leading them to feel what they are going through.
There are many books for kids that can open the dialogue about kindness and empathy toward others. Some I have posted as regular recommended reading on the blog. Due to constraints on room available below are additional books that may help. Recently I was going through some of my own books when I was growing up and rediscovered many well loved books I had forgotten about. Here are some that may make your list to buy…
The Journey of Natty Gann
Number The Stars
The Face On The Milk Carton
The Diary Of Anne Frank
The Joy Luck Club
Ramona The Pest
To Kill A Mockingbird
The True Confessions Of Charlotte Doyle
Rosa Parks: My Story
As parents we have several ways we can teach empathy
alongside encouraging our children to read...
3 Ways To Teach Children Empathy…
1. Realize that your child is his or her own little person. They may be small but they are already an individual, growing, changing each and every day. It's our role as parents to encourage our children to think for themselves, to model excellent behavior through our actions… even when it's challenging and were maxed out, were also there to encourage learning, self control, nice manners and good values. Other aspects we may include are faith and helping others. The biggest take away from this is communication. We have to talk with our kids. When we have conversations and ask "How did that make you feel?" it gets them thinking… it gets them thinking outside themselves when we ask "How do you think that made Caitlyn feel when Olivia was mean to her?"
2. Point out what your child has in common with others. So often in life our differences seem to be highlighted… maybe without intention but unfortunately it leads to limited thinking, hardened hearts, divided families and closed communities. This has a trickle down effect in our society and affects everyone eventually in a negative manner. Pointing out commonalties amongst people helps bridge that gap… when kids realize that everybody has feelings no matter if their black, white, or in between it stirs up love not apathy or hate.
3. Sharing the thankful mindset with our kids. Our children look to us for cues on how to behave. When were standing in a long line at Target and we begin to sigh, tap our foot and grumble it's teaching them "I don't have time for this", "I shouldn't have to wait"… etc. This is a time that someone who is confined to a wheelchair would love to have to wait on two strong legs. This is a time when someone who is housebound would love the opportunity to get out. This is a time to be thankful we are out, we are independent, we are beyond blessed to have the funds to stand in a line and make purchases. It's a time to teach perspective to our kids.
December 2, 2014
names have been omitted in this post
Exposing The Manipulative Lies…
I sat in the bright school cafeteria beside my daughter… the noise of the children created a din around us so we sat close to be able to hear each other. We were seated at a long table off to the side of the room. I watched as my daughter unzipped her hot pink trimmed leopard lunch bag from Old Navy and reach inside. As she pulled out a turkey sandwich, Lay's chips and Pepperidge Farm goldfish crackers that her dad had packed for her to eat, my eyes surveyed the contents. There appeared to be zero fruit in the lunch. My eyebrows arched a second time when I saw the two smallest items… Hershey candy bars, one of which contained nuts.
I pointed out why she couldn't consume them, reminded her how it's essential to always check labels and quickly confiscated the chocolate due to her nut allergy… mental expletives ran through my head about her father's incompetence and blatant disregard for her health and safety.
She began telling me of the previous nights events and I listened closely.
"Daddy put us to bed early, he was wearing his pajamas… but just to make us THINK he was going to bed. He changed into clothes later. It was late, I don't know what time but he let a lady in the house through the garage… I heard it open. Then he took her upstairs to his bedroom. I couldn't sleep. They were making so much noise… so the next morning I asked Daddy if anyone was there last night. And he said no. So I tell him I heard somebody and he says it was the neighbors getting home." she explained to me.
I listened carefully to her, nodding and affirming I was hearing what she told me and finally I reached into my navy handbag… fishing around for my iPhone... pulling it out, I tapped the code into it and accessed my photos. Pulling up the one I needed I set it on the cafeteria lunch table for her to view.
She looked down at it and gasped... "That's a photo of Daddy's house. Why is there a car in the driveway?"
"That Lexus is from last night. That belongs to the lady that came. When you started texting me last night upset about all the noise, I drove over and took a picture of it. And yet he told you no one was there, correct?" I affirmed.
"Yes, he lied! He lied to me! Again!" she exclaimed with indignation.
Exposing the lies of the parent who is lying, manipulating and orchestrating chaos in their children's lives is essential. It's essential we have concrete proof, we have facts of what our ex is doing to create havoc in our child's life because a parent who is continually placing their child in an unsafe environment; one that is causing anxiety and stress should have limited, supervised or in extreme cases zero time with them. It is critical to document everything the manipulative parent does to protect our children...
Because at the end of the day… they are counting on us.