Denial: Learned Behaviors

Part of a multi-segmented series on Denial


Most of us have acquired different learned behaviors since we were born. We get them from watching other people, generally our primary caretakers, and from our experiences. Learned behavior is defined as

one that an organism develops as a result of experience.

khan academy

The learned behaviors a child gets from watching their parent can vary from positive to very damaging. A child of an alcoholic can have alcoholic behaviors if the parent does not change their behavior or is in active addiction. Also a child being tugged between two parents in a divorce can cause very unnecessary learned behaviors.

It is common for children today to come from a family that is a split household. The difficulties that arise can be numerous and it takes two dedicated parents working together for the betterment of the children.

This is not always the case; emotions become involved, old hurts, and different parenting styles can cause problems. Adult issues are sometimes brought to the children, when they should be taken to the other parent, putting the child in the middle. This can make the child feel like they have to take sides. Parents are human after all and children do not come with How-To Guides. However, some do think they know it all better than others because they have taken a lot of parenting classes.

A different set of rules at each household is confusing on the best of days for the children. Not to mention the possibility of another person in the household if Mom or Dad remarry.

The dynamics of our family has become a jungle gym.

I am the parent that kisses ouie’s and sings to you at 1am because you cannot sleep. I am the parent that lets you sleep with me because you had a nightmare. I am the parent that dances in the rain with you because you want to skip through water puddles and soak me. I am the parent that has a water fight in the bathroom just because. I am the parent that cooks us grilled cheese sandwiches at 8pm (bedtime) to get you to go bed. I am the parent that goes through boxes of bandaids because you think they need to be replaced every 5 minutes. I am the parent that lets you wear my see through make-up. I am the parent that is going to love you no matter what and misses you terribly.

I am the parent that says unless you clean your floor up you do not get to play outside. I am the parent that says you will get in more trouble for lying to me than telling me you did a bad behavior. I am the parent that says you cannot go to a place I do not approve of and it does not matter if everyone else is going, or the entire town/your other current guardian thinks it is a great place. I am the parent that is going to say no and check it out before I say yes and regret it. I am the parent that will not let you smart off to me, or anyone else, then not apologize.

Now the other side of the jungle gym at the moment, which includes placement, social worker (SW), and guardian ad litem (GAL). They might do some of what I have listed above, or I would hope. However, from what I have seen they do not. However, they also lie to my daughter and have taught her to lie to me.

At a previous visit with her she was told one of the church services was a song group by Ms. Placement and so that is what she told me it was. The GAL also told me that “night church” was a book club; I am not sure if he told Lil One that or not. That is what he referred to it in correspondence to all of the DCYF team for our case.

We have to go back to last weekend’s visit to understand what happened tonight. I washed her clothes that she had on last weekend (from placement) and sent her back to placement in her pajamas (from our house) after a bath. She had spilled her dinner all over her clothes while eating; who does not get chili everywhere? Especially homemade chili. 🙂

For whatever reason Ms. Placement has an issue with the foster kids clothes not coming back at that moment; even if they were given to that particular child by their parents. It is like she owns them or something; but we never get them back even once our child is returned. So, what gives? I do not know; it is just strange.

Tonight, I open the car door to get Lil One out and the first thing she says is Mr. Placement is going to wash the pajamas before he sends them back. I was surprised she was the one giving me the message. It should have come from the SW or Visit Supervisor (VS); not my child.

Halfway through the visit she is sewing and I am braiding something for her. We are sitting on the sofa and Lil One brings up the clothes again. She asks if I was going to return them. By the time our conversation was over it turns out Ms. Placement is holding the jammies hostage because she thinks I am going to throw away her clothes. She told Lil One this-Uhh why? Holding clothes hostage? So mature…Lil One covered for them at the beginning of the visit….lying to me.

Later in the visit, Lil One asked me if she was going have a shower here tonight because she did not want Ms. Placements youngest daughter to give her one. It is common for this daughter to be rough with her when doing her hair in the past and evidently she is rough with showers too. She also reminded me, with with big eyes and mouth,

When baths do happen here clothes have to go back that night.

Lil One conversation with L. Younglove

I asked Lil One if she remembered how I explained to her there were adult conversations and kid conversations. She did, so I told her the clothes were adult conversations and she did not need to worry about it. She started apologizing profusely and crying again.

I reassured her she had done NOTHING wrong; this was not her fault and she did not need to worry about the clothes. This conversation should have taken place between the adults, not with her involved.

L. Younglove conversation with Lil One

During the first dependency Lil One would tell me during bath time about how Ms. Placement would say meanly (her word not mine) to her,

You’re Mom

Lil One, 2017 Quoting Ms. Placement

when it came to clothes that she wore to visits. Lil One would cry when she told me Ms. Placement would say it. Then say,

It makes Ms. Placement mad, really mad and I don’t want to see Ms. Placement mad.

Lil One, 2017

It all started with a pair of pants that Lil One barely could fit in that she was sent to me in and they were hers. I kept them for keepsake; they were a 2T from when she first started the dependency. One of her initial outfits and the only babyish clothes of hers I had left.

Now that I have sounded off about this. lol Yes I am pretty pissed off about the fact they are getting away with teaching my daughter to lie.

Here is my issue about it.

Children lie, that is just the way it goes. Psychology says it is a good thing because it shows their brain is developing (I will find the exact reference). They have to be taught to not lie. Lil One lying is not the issue.

My issue is my daughter being taught to lie.

This family claims to be good, upstanding Baptist church goers that help the homeless and needy.

They are teaching her that lies are ok if it gets her what she wants.
Modeling: There are different types of models. There is the live model, and actual person demonstrating the behavior. There can also be a symbolic model, which can be a person or action portrayed in some other medium, , such as television, videotape, computer programs. Behaviors that can be learned through modeling: Many behaviors can be learned, at least partly, through modeling. Examples that can be cited are, children can watch parents read, cook or play football. Children can also watch the demonstrations of mathematics problems, or seen someone acting bravely and a fearful situation. Aggression can be learned through models. Much research indicate that children become more aggressive when they observed aggressive or violent models. Moral thinking and moral behavior are influenced by observation and modeling. This includes moral judgments regarding right and wrong which can in part, develop through modeling.

I have always tried to teach her that this approach to life is not healthy. That you can get what you want in life by doing things the right way. Some times it might take working for it; but in the end it is worth it because it has value. Yes, she is only 6. It has been tailored to her age. A good example: clean your floor and you get a reward. It is not that complicated.

DCYF and the GAL/CASA’s have allowed them to get away with illegal actions. Now are completely allowing them to go against court orders, ignoring parent’s wishes when it comes to their own children, teaching their religion/values/morals/ethics to the foster children without the parents permission and/or against the parents wishes, and turning some children against their parents in the process. This goes against any reunification process that can happen.

Most Christian Doctrines follow the Ten Commandments, which I am sure the Baptists follow as well.

I have one: Fír Flathemon: Truth of Sovereignty

Basically: Just be honest.

Image credits: Featured, by Funderstanding; Top, by Clipart; First, by True Parenting; Second, by Recess Fandom-Wiki; Middle, by Lesson Learned In Life; Fourth, by Slide Player; Bottom, by

A side not to this article that I noticed after it was published. It has taken me three weeks to write with all the editing, rewriting, reediting and touchups. I finished it last night.

Categories: Denial, Family

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