to be surprised just how hard life is for some children/families?

(162 Posts)
SchoolNameChanger Fri 08-Feb-13 17:49:01

When my Dc were small I was working f-t and not really involved in their school life. Now I'm working p-t in their school.

I has come as a huge shock to me just how difficult life is for lots of families. From my financially comfortable, stable family life I just had no idea.

The child who is completely uncontrollable is actually a victim of child abuse and now living with foster carers.

The mother who doesn't manage to dress for the school run spent the night with severely disabled child and alcoholic father.

The boy who is regularly violent to others learnt that behaviour from his mother's boyfriend/grandfather/older brother.

The poor attendance is because the child has to get himself up and out while mum sleeps off her hangover.

Or because he's caring for seriously ill parents in another way.

Being asked for £10 for a school trip is make or break for lots of families.

Obviously I knew there were some people with really difficult circumstances, but I have been surprised at the sheer number of them. Also blush the way that "poor parenting" always has a reason behind it. The vast majority of parents do care and are doing their best, some have unbelievable things to deal with and/or no experience of what good parenting is.

Also most of the "difficult" children have experienced things that "normal" children could never imagine. We sometimes see people here talk about others' bad behaviour, but there is almost always an understandable reason for it, if only we knew (which we never will)

JambalayaCodfishPie Fri 08-Feb-13 20:40:53

It's sometimes heartbreaking but sometimes you are the only one who fights their corner, be it for the child or the whole family. Increasingly my job is about that.

Could have written this exact statement myself. Its exhausting. OP YANBU - people really have no idea.

Sugarice Fri 08-Feb-13 20:51:46

I worked in a state nursery attached to a school. I too was made aware of individual problems experienced by the children.

I was always first there setting up and would let in the occasional ones brought to nursery early by their older primary aged siblings.

It's a shit world at times, I left 7 years ago and I'm sure it hasn't changed.

marriedinwhite Fri 08-Feb-13 20:59:56

Children have suffered across the ages and it has always been very very wrong.

Behaviour in schools has got worse and worse because boundaries are continually eroded by liberalism and the shift to the lowest common denominator and an excuse based society. There is no excuse for abusing a child; likewise there is no excuse good enough for schools to allow the dilution of the education of the majority at the expenses of the majority; (some of the minority have bad lives; some of don't). In all cases though schools have adopted a stance of anything goes because some children are abused or disadvantaged.

Ragwort Fri 08-Feb-13 21:00:01

Loads of people live in very comfortable, blinkered 'bubbles' and have absolutely no idea of what life is like for many people - are they to blame for believing that? I don't know.confused. Even when people watch the news/read the papers they always think 'it wouldn't happen to me'. I have an incredibly pampered, comfortable lifestyle but I do quite a lot of (voluntary) work with people with very, very fractured lifestyles. But even amongst the volunteers there is sometimes the attitude that 'people are bringing these things on themselves' sad.

PeppermintCreams Fri 08-Feb-13 21:03:20


I grew up in circumstances that could be one of what the OP is talking about. I thought I was the only one in my white middle class school. I left school to work in a supermarket where my colleagues brought up children on minimum wages and heard about the odd troubled family, or customer. But it wasn't until I left to work at my local children's centre that I realised exactly widespread it is. Not just "poor people from council estates" either. Never judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.

diabolo Fri 08-Feb-13 21:07:44

Life is a nightmare for some people but it isn't just due to the recession, or Government cuts.

I work in Safeguarding at a school in deprived area of an affluent town.

We have a parent, who is unemployable, very low IQ, never worked, no skills, forgets to sign on, forgets to go for interviews, often has his benefits cut for missing appointments. He lives in a 1 bedroomed flat (had non custodial joint parental responsibility).

He lives on food parcels from a food bank and donations from his ex-wife. He never has money for his meter so no heating and his child complains the flat is cold when she visits and the only food she eats there is what her Mum provides.

What does he spend his benefits on? Not food, or heating or transport.

But he smokes 40 fags a day and is a borderline alcoholic by his own admission at CP meetings I attend with him, for his child.

Child Poverty is real in the UK, but often, at least in my experience, is a result of very poor choices by some parents.

marriedinwhite Fri 08-Feb-13 21:23:53

Common sense from daibolo

superstarheartbreaker Fri 08-Feb-13 21:28:25

I went to a private school and many of the children there felt abandoned by mum and dad as they were sent away to boarding school. Ok so not as rough a life as the poor but I think there was a case of one little boy whose parents were divorced and they used to argue about who should NOT have him every holiday sad. Many of those rich kids came from 'broken' or difficult homes but at least had the cushion of cash.
I am a single mum and I work but claim so I can say I've seen both sides of the coin. I think if mum and/or dad are emotionally there for kids that is the most important thing. Sadly things like alchoholism and drug abuse work against such emotional closeness.

superstarheartbreaker Fri 08-Feb-13 21:29:28

I guess my point is that there are many kinds of hardship and many types of family irrespective of money.

superstarheartbreaker Fri 08-Feb-13 21:31:03

marriedinwhite...I don't think liberalism has in any way condoned child abuse.

superstarheartbreaker Fri 08-Feb-13 21:31:24

Many middle class married couples abuse children too you know.

snowmummy Fri 08-Feb-13 21:33:55

I'm always surprised that people don't understand that many 'difficult' children come from families with problems.

scottishmummy Fri 08-Feb-13 21:37:31

im not surprised in least,small but significant minority of families have dreadful socio-economic situation

FarBetterNow Fri 08-Feb-13 21:39:38

Cigarettes are £7.00ish per 20.
40 per day equates to approx £100 per week.
So thinking laterally, is the high price of cigarettes creating child poverty?

scottishmummy Fri 08-Feb-13 21:40:59

thats not price of fags,can get em cheaper off market or certain shops under counter

manicinsomniac Fri 08-Feb-13 21:42:13

Absolutely YANBU. I could tell many similar stories (but don't quite dare to on here) and I work in a private school in the home counties. Any child can end up in shit circumstances for any number of reasons and it's so sad for those children.

Thingiebob Fri 08-Feb-13 21:43:04

I think this is an eye-opening post. Especially when I constantly see judgy threads on Mumsnet slagging off the 'mum who can't be arsed to get dressed in the mornings' or 'stingy parents not spending enough/not bringing a birthday present' and so on...

I think people assume that everyone leads similar lives. They don't. Makes you stop and think.

kim147 Fri 08-Feb-13 21:43:09

I have worked in this inner city Leeds school for ages. The stories and the sheer anger the children have is unbelievable. 5 and 6 year olds who are so full of hate and anger.

I spent an afternoon in a little village school in an expensive part of North Yorks.
The contrast could not have been more different. Their main concern was looking after their ponies.

Next day I was back at Leeds restraining a y6 boy who was going to "fucking kill another boy" - took 3 of us to hold him back.

If I told you the lives of the children I deal with, it would break your heart.

married - what should we do with these kids? I kind of get what you're saying and my heart goes out to those children who do behave but see this stuff. But the liberal in me worries about those children who are full of anger and bring it into the class.

What do you do?

mrsbunnylove Fri 08-Feb-13 21:43:27

all you say is true, op. and there are some whose background is so bad it will be kept from you, even though you work with them. and the people who know are not allowed to say, even if they see that other children are at risk from the damaged child.

yet mumsnet would like you to believe that everything is just fine. and they'll censor your posts if you tell the truth!

MariusEarlobe Fri 08-Feb-13 21:44:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

marriedinwhite Fri 08-Feb-13 21:46:07

Liberalism hasn't condoned child abuse but it has condoned all disruptive and dysfuntional behaviour because it might be caused by abuse.

scottishmummy Fri 08-Feb-13 21:47:18

utter rot

marriedinwhite Fri 08-Feb-13 21:48:47

Well, I would be happy to pay more tax to fund specialist units with the skills and expertise to support and help these children on either a part-time or full time basis. I am also btw Tory to the core and DH was brought up in inner City Leeds and might have attended the school you work at now. Esp if Alan Bennett and Barbara Taylor Bradford went there.

scottishmummy Fri 08-Feb-13 21:50:44

a liberal or empathic approach seeks reasons for behaviours not excuses for beahviour
its tired and cliched to trot out oh look what liberalism has done, the leftie softies

Sidge Fri 08-Feb-13 21:51:34

I was a school nurse for a while, covering a huge patch ranging from incredibly affluent to incredibly deprived.

What I was initially surprised by was the sheer numbers of children experiencing low level neglect - not enough to warrant a Child Protection Plan but to warrant monitoring, support or a Child in Need plan.

Some parents are disadvantaged, some are lacking in experience and support, some are just lazy, selfish and have other priorities than their children sadly.

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