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To wonder why having a bed is a cp issue?

(79 Posts)
BrittaPerry Thu 08-Nov-12 21:21:04

I keep reading that one of the main things checked when ss visit is if the child has a bed and what state it is in.

Would they be upset if the child shared a bed with a sibling or the parents, or had a mattress on the floor?

(My two have their own beds, but both regularly sleep in my or each others beds - it isn't a huge leap to imagine this happening so much that someone wouldn't bother with wasting the space for another bed. Me n my sister shared a bed when we were under 5 in the late 80s, because my mum was worried I would hurt her climbing into her cot every night for a cuddle and we turned out fine.) (we are also thinking of getting that Ikea bed where the bottom mattress is on the floor to reduce the possibility of the kids hurting themselves falling out of the top bunk) (we have just started HE and I have a history of mental health problems that have led to a surprise SS visit in the past, so there is the slight possibility of the wrong end of the stick being got)

Spero Sat 10-Nov-12 00:30:04

Justgettingonwithit, that is a brilliant post and says it all. I am sad for your younger self and sad that no one rescued you. I hope you are a case of 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger'.

YerMaw1989 Fri 09-Nov-12 11:31:07

That 'protecting our children' shocked me when the parents had a bed but the child didn't. I think it depends what context it is in.

RainbowsFriend Fri 09-Nov-12 11:27:22

Thanks justgettingonwithit - that's a great reassurance as I do worry. And I want to take home and cuddle your younger self sad

Jamillalliamilli Fri 09-Nov-12 11:24:50

I grew up being passed from one bad situation to another. I didn't have my own bed, or often any form of bed, mattress, or sofa. I ranged from newspaper and what I was wearing, to my closest stab at normality; an extendible deck chair (teen in an adult’s bedroom who couldn't possibly be let sleep anywhere else!) with proper blankets, that tipped up and threatened to catapult you, or drop you in a crumpled heap if you moved and your bum wasn't in exactly the right place.

My existence was always temporary, my life a problem to be solved rather than lived or even enjoyed. Where and often how, I slept, wasn't a matter of any concern, including in fairness, to me.

With hindsight I can see that while I’d have thought it the least of my problems at the time, and one of the least obvious, it really was quite a good indicator of what was happening to me, depreciating status from an already low one, and lack of importance or permanence to anyone, which in turn left me open to natural predation.

A child without a ‘natural’ place to sleep, can be taken off by anyone, to anywhere, at any time, to anyone’s car or bed, quite reasonably, it’s not like it ‘should’ be somewhere else, or something abnormal’s happing.

There’s a huge difference between a well-loved child in an unconventional situation, (one of mine was allowed to live and sleep in a cardboard box that he’d decorated and denned for a weekend because he was having soooo much fun) and a child who’s unvalued, a problem, and has no place, permanence, or right to a space to call it’s own anywhere, drifting through life uncared about.

I've little faith in SS, knowing them (as an adult) to be a post code lottery of good, bad and indifferent, and range from intelligent, educated, and caring, to shockingly dim with poor literacy, and self serving, but honestly, any worried co-sleepers, happy mattress on the floor lot (and my cardboard box dweller) have little to worry about in terms of ‘do they have their own bed,’ in itself, it’s really not the actual issue.

MorrisZapp Fri 09-Nov-12 09:37:03

It's totally irrelevant if your otherwise loved and cared for child has no light in their room, sleeps on a mattress or shares with somebody else.

As has been said already, SWs would only be interested in these things if there were issues causing them to visit in the first place.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AudrinaAdare Fri 09-Nov-12 09:30:08

Sleeping arrangements are very complex.

When DS (with autism) was having horrendous issues and we lived in a two-bed DH and I would take turns to sleep with him, or on an air-bed in DD's room.

The HV told me that SS would take a dim view of DH being in DD's room at night because she was eight at the time. We stopped doing it and were quite shocked that it might be an issue. Still don't know what a social worker would have made of that given no other concerns...

socharlotte Fri 09-Nov-12 09:18:03

hesterton-I was thinking about this this morning .My mum always used to fold back all the duvets in the morning and have the windows open to air the beds everyday.People don't seem to do this nowadays

RainbowsFriend Fri 09-Nov-12 08:29:36

hesterton - our mattresses on the floor are actually on the bedslats on the the floor (so just took off headboard/legs IYSWIM) for just this reason smile

MammaTJ Fri 09-Nov-12 06:45:21

I have beds for my DD and my DS though they are rarely both in their own beds. DD will wander downstairs to watch TV in the night and DS usually comes in with me once I am in bed.

I did once get reported (maliciously) to SS. They came and investigated and I was surprised that the SW did not ask to go upstairs or look in the fridge. Both warranted with the complaint that had been made (though not really because it was lies).

pigletmania Fri 09-Nov-12 06:04:45

Apart from that, though her room is basic (she pulls down ornaments, lights etc), she has a clean bed and basic furniture with some toys, though I take them out at bed time as she messes about with tem

pigletmania Fri 09-Nov-12 06:02:38

Oh dear dd 5 does not have a light sauce in her room. She has ASD and wake up in the middle of the night flicking the switches and messing about disrupting her sleep and making her behaviour bad at school. Needless to say she sleeps much better, messes around less. We will put it back when we feel she is ature enough not to do this

Hesterton Fri 09-Nov-12 05:19:15

The damp is from us, not the rain... We put out litres of water from our bodies over a few weeks as we sleep...

Maybe I'm being overly fussy!

VintageRainBoots Fri 09-Nov-12 05:11:41

Hesterton: We lived in rain-free Los Angeles, USA at the time. No risk of damp there wink.

We also covered the mattress in one of those allergen-free mattress cover things.

Hesterton Fri 09-Nov-12 05:06:07

For those of you who have mattresses on the floor, do remember to turn them regularly; the reason bed bases are slats/boards with holes is because the bottom of the mattress eventually gets damp without the ability to air. It will become a blissful quagmire for dustmites and more.

VintageRainBoots Fri 09-Nov-12 04:59:16

Our daughter briefly slept with just a mattress on the floor (no bed frame) but it wasn't a money or space issue. She was really young (a year old) and I was afraid she might roll off the bed in the middle of the night and hurt herself. I reasoned that I'd rather her fall nine inches from the top of the mattress to the floor than two feet from a mattress lifted off the floor.

Once it became clear that she could stay on the mattress without rolling off, we got her a regular bedframe for the mattress.

Regardless, though, her bed linens were always clean, she always had ample blankets/quilts at her disposal, etc.

Loveweekends10 Fri 09-Nov-12 04:47:33

I watched a series of programmes recently called protecting our children about social workers doing just that.
Anyway it followed one little boy. His parents had not bought him a bed. He had to share the dog bed! So social services went and bought a bed but the dad had to put it together. The dad didn't put it together.
Having a place of your own to sleep is a basic requirement. It's a sign of neglect if that's not happening.
My kids have their own beds. It doesn't stop the youngest coming in with me at times though. That's ok.

brdgrl Fri 09-Nov-12 01:18:10

sorry, I was being a bit flippant there - I hope I haven't offended anyone. I do seriously wonder what "other people" (her friends' mums...) must think about DSD not having a bed, though!

brdgrl Fri 09-Nov-12 01:15:04

My DSD (17) sleeps on a mattress on the floor. We've offered to get her a bed (in fact offered may be putting it too softly), but she says she doesn't want one. Every so often she brings up the fact that she doesn't have a bed, usually in the company of others, as a way of making herself sound like a deprived child. Cue me saying "you keep refusing one!" and still probably looking like a bad parent. It is maddening. I guess we should get SS involved...

Devora Fri 09-Nov-12 01:05:28

Ginny, that is awful - but thank you for sharing it. I do get slightly irritated and exhausted by these threads where perfectly respectable caring parents, who will never get entangled with social services, start clucking about 'ooh, what will ss say about me, are they going to take my little Timmy into care' despite countless posts from people with ss experience assuring them that it is all about context.

Child neglect is usually evidenced by a cumulation of issues, not just one. All of us have empty fridges sometimes, but if your fridge was empty every single time a social worker visited, she might want to know why. It's normal for our children to get headlice, but a child who is constantly infested, with no apparent attempt to treat it, would raise alarm bells. Some families choose to let their pets sleep on the beds, but if a child was forced to sleep in the dogbed, questions would be asked. It's not difficult to understand.

Sorry if I'm being narky. It's just that it all helps this idea that social workers just swoop in and grab children for ridiculous reasons that defy common sense.

and that is why they inspect rooms ginny - it's all too common sad

ginnybag Fri 09-Nov-12 00:09:19

A bed is a statement of your attitude to your child - it's where they go when they're asleep and most vulnerable.

It doesn't have to be a perfectly crisp, white linen confection.

No-one on here has said anything worrying - 'siblings like to share' - you got them a double, to be more comfy. 'They climb, or fall' - mattress moved to floor to be safer, or futon bought. 'My kids cosleep' - large spread of mattresses so everyone has enough space to be comfortable.

It doesn't have to be perfect - just warm, clean and appropriate.

I've seen why SS look at beds, in the form of a friend's nieces' room. She was house-sitting for her brother and SIL once over and phoned me to ask me to come over because she's found something that made her worried for her niece's. Bear in mind her SIL had specifically told her not to go in the kids' room, here, and she'd only opened the door to drop in some clean clothes that she'd washed for them - I'm glad she did.

The rest of the house was okay - not great, but okay. Mum and Dad's room was beautiful. The girl's room was disgusting.

The smell from the sheets and the mattresses made me gag - no bed frames in either case. The carpet was stained, mouldy and damp. The walls were, literally, smeared in shit. There was no light bulb and the window was blocked by a broken wardrobe and a broken dining room table.

That couple were putting their preschool aged daughter's to bed each night on stinking mattresses on mouldy carpet in a room with no light source.

It was horrendous to see, and made depressingly worse by the contrast to the parent's own room. It said, in one snap-shot, exactly what they thought about their children and exactly what their priorities were.

If we'd obeyed mum, though, and stayed out of their room, I'd have dismissed my friend's concerns, told her rein in her overly-picky house-keeping standards and she would never have summoned the nerve to call SS, and those children would still be living like that. As it is, they're safe and happy with their grandma, as, no shock, SS found a myriad of other issues when they started digging.

piglettsmummy Thu 08-Nov-12 23:41:41

Wen I had a visit from ss they
Checked the state of her room / bed etc. I'm sure they only check to make sure they actually have one and it's clean and not soiled/ filthy etc. yanu! Don't worry!

dashoflime Thu 08-Nov-12 23:39:45

YANBU to wonder.
I had an erm.. social services scare and all sorts of things went through my mind. For instance someone once told me that a SW once commented on her piles of clothes. I had piles of clothes in my bedroom. So I had a little speech prepared for the unlikely event that the SW wanted to look in there. I was going to say:
"We prefer to buy furniture as we can afford it rather than get into debt. With a baby on the way a wardrobe for this room isn't a priority. I keep the clean Jumpers folded here, T.Shirts are under the bed in these crates and this bag contains dirty things for washing"
Needless to say, my prissy little speech was not needed. blush
As others have said, they are looking for an overall picture that indicates abuse or neglect. Your Ikea bed sounds fine.
That said: complacency is never recommended. You were right to ask.

Snazzyfeelingfestive Thu 08-Nov-12 23:37:51

I really don't think most or all of the situations described here even come close to the situations where this is an issue. I watched the Protecting our Children series on BBC2 earlier in the year which followed social workers. The first episode showed a child of I think 3-4 who didn't have his own bed. In fact he didn't even have a bedtime. The parents let him run till he dropped, and then he slept where he dropped, in his clothes. The parents themselves had a bed, of course; in fact they had an iPad angry but it didn't seem to occur to them that their son might benefit from actually being put to bed, in a bed.

The social workers arranged for a bed to be bought for them, and delivered. On the next visit it was still in pieces waiting to be assembled. That child was removed from them and, as I remember, thrived with foster parents. There were many issues there but the lack of a bed was emblematic of the absence of any care or thought for their son. As I said, very different to the scenarios people are talking about here.

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