AIBU to not want to feel like rubbish parent because of health staff who've barely - if ever - seen my children

(74 Posts)
charitymum Wed 23-Jan-13 19:56:22

Had bit if torrid time last month or so. Could be worse I know but 13 yr old DD had shingles; 10 yr old broke her leg at school; 22 month old - well just nearly two and 6 month old on and of hospital with viral wheeze.

School nurse - who I've never seen at school - called to tell me she had to so an assessment on 10 yr old as she in a and e so much. I understand-I run a children's charity I get it. But when I suggested I was happy with DD development etc. she became demanding that I do assessment and said it was not normal for child to hurt themselves so much and it probably meant she had coordination probs or 'something else' going on.

When DP took her to minor injuries he was made to feel like crisp because he was not dad and they asked 6 times why I wasn't there. Likewise when he took our DS into hospital and I stayed at home with other 3 all they could ask was where is mum?

When I was in with DS last week nurse got angry because I refused to fill in form that checks for child protection because I was looking after wheezy son and because nothing on it was relevant to his care. She became obsessed with how many dads there were to my children and whether I had social worker.

Now final straw health visitor has called - same day so feeling paranoid - to say hospital said DS is obese and they would like to check him.

Like I say I get the need for checks but I am an educated, national expert in education and child development, who has four thriving kids who neither school or GPs have any concerns over.

Now I feel like total failed mum because people who don't know kids have sat in judgement.

Andro Thu 24-Jan-13 15:43:22

At least if they've done things 'properly' they haven't been negligent in their duties. - and then they hide behind this when it all goes wrong!

TroublesomeEx Thu 24-Jan-13 15:13:16

Unfortunately, there isn't any room for discretion in these cases. Everything has to be done 'by the book' so that people are protected if something goes wrong.

At least if they've done things 'properly' they haven't been negligent in their duties.

The LA/Govt doesn't like recognising individual circumstances. It's not precise or clear enough.

Lovelygoldboots Thu 24-Jan-13 15:09:29

Given the recent case in Plymouth then yes there cant be assumptions that anyone with a crb clearance is not a risk. But, does a parent not have the right to disagree with a social worker or health care provider. I am not talking about embarrassment, but ripping up the red flag rule book and engaging with children and families with discrete support that recognises their invidual circumstances.

TroublesomeEx Thu 24-Jan-13 15:07:12

That's ok doodle.

We made an enquiry about someone under Sarahs' Law and got a 'positive' result.

The police give you the result of the check but they raise a safeguarding alert automatically with the local authority who complete an Initial Assessment to check that the children are safe.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Thu 24-Jan-13 14:43:39

Folkgirl. Do you mind if i ask what caused the safeguarding alert? (just being nosy, ignore me if you want!)

TroublesomeEx Thu 24-Jan-13 14:10:04

I'm surprised you're so defensive about it actually.

I'm a teacher and have also worked with voluntary organisations and vulnerable people in one capacity or another for a number of years.

Unfortunately, and through none of my own doing, I have found myself on the receiving end of a 'safeguarding alert'.

Is it embarrassing? Of course it is. But given that I understand why the measures are in place, I'm actually just pleased to see that they are implemented when appropriate and that they are rigorous.

I've certainly not complained about them, however inconvenient they may be.

I'm surprised that an educated, national expert in education and child development can't see why these measures/questions/checks might be appropriate tbh. They can't treat you any differently than they could treat me any differently.

My CRB, qualifications and employment history counted for nothing when someone thought my children might be at risk (they weren't).

shagmundfreud Thu 24-Jan-13 14:06:03

YANBU,

I got a call from SS after ds1 fell out of a trolley in Ikea and cut his head (not badly enough to need stitches, but needed to be seen in A&E.

They told me 'be more careful next time'. hmm

Also got a letter from SS telling me I shouldn't use physical discipline on my children (I don't usually but had slapped a packet of tablets out of 12 year old dd's hand when she was threatening to kill herself because I'd confiscated her lap top, and then slapped her another time after she swore at me and kicked a hole in the door. We'd been referred to CAMHS because of her self-harming and a child psychologist asked her if I'd hit her - she said yes).

You have my sympathy - it's horrible to think that your name is on a file somewhere with SS....

Andro Thu 24-Jan-13 14:05:49

One thing I've never understood about sw's is why they either don't listen to the children they are supposed to be protecting (child of one of my friends - sw's actions had devastating consequences which could have been avoided is the sw had listened and acted on the child's fears) or make the child(ren) in question feel like crap (my DS). Are they so busy ticking boxes that they are not taught how to interact with children?

(Yes, I'm sure there are a lot of very, very good sw's out there doing a great job in difficult circumstances)

Lovelygoldboots Thu 24-Jan-13 13:57:48

Narked, that is my experience. I think your theory is spot on.

Narked Thu 24-Jan-13 13:51:58

I totally understand why the OP was defensive and the pointlessness of many of the checks and questions. Unfortunately, if you don't play their game and nod and and tick the boxes you are likely to attract their attention, and once they start they can fixate.

It's one of my personal theories that the reason some of the horrific cases happen under SS 'supervision' is that they are more wary/suspicious of people who challenge them and ask questions than those who, whilst they're there, nod and cry and accept everything they say.

Lovelygoldboots Thu 24-Jan-13 13:44:08

Not

Lovelygoldboots Thu 24-Jan-13 13:43:35

No, of course I dont assume sworkers are telepathic. But you cant assume that all parents are abusers. That means parents who are not as confident as me and not as able to press for what I justifablly thought was the correct diagnosis for my daughter will not seek treatment or support understandably. More and more families will slip through the net and that is the tragedy. Nit sparing parents feelings.

EldritchCleavage Thu 24-Jan-13 11:52:33

One thing I firmly agree with you on-this rigid assumption it always has to be the mother who attends medical appointments with children, and suspicion of anything else. We get this a lot.

DH is biological father, at home parent, we are married, etc etc. But still this happens to us. It is outrageous really. If we both attend, HCPs just talk to me. When I say to ask my DH as he's with the children all day, they let him speak then still ask me the follow-up questions. He honestly gets treated very badly sometimes. It is not inherently undesirable or suspicious for fathers to be in charge of their children, either occasionally or generally.

cory Thu 24-Jan-13 11:48:38

Lovelygoldboots Wed 23-Jan-13 22:12:44
"I have been on the receiving end of this kind of thing and to everyone who says the op is being defensive, well you have to defend yourself when you are being questioned about every aspect of your family life and would like to ask how they would feel if it happened to them"

I have plenty of experience of this, having been suspected of abuse once and investigated by SS on two further unrelated occasions. I still say I wouldn't want another child to die or be put at risk to spare my feelings.

But better after support for parents who have been unjustly accused (and their children) would be a desiderandum.

cory Thu 24-Jan-13 11:46:28

"There was a thread recently about a child who had died from methadone. Lots of talk about over stretched social services. There needs to be more joined up thinking and less box ticking. Its hunting for demons that aren't there."

How do you mean? Surely the demons were there? Those parents' right to privacy came at the cost of the child's life! Or do you mean SWs should have telepathic powers to know from the start which parents can safely be left unquestioned and which are hiding something dangerous?

No, I wasn't abusing dd- there was a medical reason for her condition. But there will have been other parents who presented the same, said the same things, looked as convincing as me, who were lying to the professionals to cover up abuse. They haven't got a crystal ball to tell us apart.

Lovelygoldboots Thu 24-Jan-13 11:38:08

The term "red flags" encourages some hcp to continue a train of though in which they assue there is no smoke without fire. The idea that if you have nothing to hide means you have to put up with some officious person questioninf your family life is not true. You have a right enshrined in law to privacy. There was a thread recently about a child who had died from methadone. Lots of talk about over stretched social services. There needs to be more joined up thinking and less box ticking. Its hunting for demons that aren't there.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Thu 24-Jan-13 11:16:14

As for your job, sadly HCPs and others with expert knowledge are particularly good at concealing abuse when they are the abusers. I want to stress that I am not suggesting for a moment that this is what is happening in your case - I am just making the point that the HCPs/SWs have to treat everybody the same, whatever their background.

That's true, you can't expect to be treated differently to other people because of your job. If you did they wouldn't be doing their job properly.

If you don't like people spending a few minutes telling you stuff you already know then either you stop them and tell them that you know xyz as you've spoken to the Dr about it/researched it/or whatever, or you accept that you have a bit of a chip on your shoulder about it. Someone telling you something you already know is really not a big deal.

charitymum Wed 23-Jan-13 22:35:06

Lovelygoldboots that is really rough. Well done on getting to bottom of it. I do think school nurses have place but they can be challenged when faced with specialist conditions and even sometimes developmental concerns.

In truth with cuts to provision we will see more tick box and less support - not good for staff, parents or kids.

Andro Wed 23-Jan-13 22:34:49

Almost anyone would get frustrated by continual assumptions OP, you are far from alone!

The tick-box knee jerk reaction culture puts conscientious parents through hell whilst still failing to catch a significant number of abusive situations. SW have a lousy habit of doing too much talking and assuming, whilst not doing nearly enough listening.

Jomato Wed 23-Jan-13 22:34:38

I think Charmingbaker has a very good point. Try to look on the positives, you know your children are well looked after and there is nothing to worry about but isn't it good that there are professionals to keep an eye on those who aren't. I took my DD to the GP at 16 weeks old because she had a cold and I wanted her chest checked. She also had a fairly large scratch on her face, I was annoyed that the GP didn't ask about it, especially as she had a group of medical students with her. She should have asked and she should have been teaching the students that they should ask. Ticking boxes isn't a perfect system by any stretch of the imagination, but it works better than when things used to be ignored.

charitymum Wed 23-Jan-13 22:30:32

And honestly in RL I'm a nice level headed non defensive human being!!

charitymum Wed 23-Jan-13 22:27:17

No I get that the professional background does not make a difference - not IQ as someone else said - but in all my years doing this from other side I would always try and start from asking parent option/input first. It puts parent in an equal expert position and you can better gauge where you need to start discussion and what input useful. Two lectures today on areas that I possibly knew more about than them and not one question about how DS or DD was now. I'll call them both up and tick all boxes tomorrow-I know I need too because else they will red flag- but today their approach failed me and if I'm thinking twice about taking my kids to hospital again - and I have nothing to hide - then a parent who needed significant support would potentially be even less likely to go.

And - professional hat on - there is limited evidence that non biological father figures in home increase risk p abuse or neglect - or that men cannot assume caring roles in health scenarios. Just like assuming that lawyers don't abuse babies a system that flags step dads or fathers rather than mothers attending hospital rather than mum risks looking for abuse and neglect in wrong place. Best defence is less tick box and more school nurses, HVs and social workers that have repeated supportive access to families skilled in relationship building and trust forming.

Delayingtactic Wed 23-Jan-13 22:26:08

I can understand its upsetting but what are they meant to do? If a parent states they are an expert in child development / protection should red flag never be looked at? Of course not. Children will have normal accidents / illnesses but for a very small percentage it is indicative that something is amiss at home. It might just be that a bit more support / education is needed or it might be that action needs to be taken. No health care professional should make assumptions without at least looking into the situation first. It's incredibly difficult to spot those who are truly at risk but what else are they meant to do?

Charmingbaker Wed 23-Jan-13 22:18:49

I meant - half of today in A&E.

Charmingbaker Wed 23-Jan-13 22:16:17

I also work in child development and both my boys have been in and out of hospital since summer ( indeed I have spent half of radar in A&E). Every time I go in they ask if we have a social worker, health visitor (who had seen DS2 last when he was a week old, he's now 2) has regularly seen us. I am very knowledgeable about my children's conditions and do not need extra support, I also know that developmentally their are no concerns. However I find it very reassuring that these checks/ contacts are in place. I have seen professionally the damage that can be done when there is no 'whole picture' approach, and any steps that help reduce this are fine by me.
I also know how stressful it is when children are ill, and how frustrating it is when it is you having to chase everything up and mistakes are made. I have found it hard work with 2DCs, so credit to you for coping with 4. Try not to take any if it personally, you have got nothing to hide. Most importantly don't forget to look after yourself as well, make sure you get some me time, even if it's just half an hour in the bath.

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