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 Sat 09-Feb-13 08:23:14

Oh Poppy have done the skirt button thing here, and the uniform washing. Have also let down and re-hemmed trousers in order to give them a few more weeks without the 'has your cat died' comments.

This week I have also, in all seriousness, discussed with the pastoral office, just how much trouble I would be in if I took one of my year 10s to the opticians, signed as her parent and got her the much needed sight test and pair of glasses we've been trying to get her parents to bother with since she was a year 7.

I'm this close to doing it, she CAN'T SEE ffs.

poppy I did mean how could we help you in particular, but I also want to know how society can help these children in general.
What can I, myself, me do to help children who really need help?
If twatface our dear Prime Minister says he is abandoning everything to us, the Big Society, how am I to fit in and help.
I want to help but don't know how sad

MushroomSoup Sat 09-Feb-13 08:45:03

Jam - I've done this. But got parents to sign a letter saying they were happy for me to organise it all and have permission. Have done the same with the drs, the dentist, hospital appts....

lisad123everybodydancenow Sat 09-Feb-13 09:24:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lisad123everybodydancenow Sat 09-Feb-13 09:25:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lisad123everybodydancenow Sat 09-Feb-13 09:26:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

amillionyears Sat 09-Feb-13 09:30:24

This is why we should not judge.

But we also should remember that there kids' problems dont magically disappear at 18 years of age either.
Which is why we shouldnt also judge adults.

lisad123everybodydancenow Sat 09-Feb-13 09:44:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Goodtalkingtoo Sat 09-Feb-13 09:48:44

Can I just say that not all children with difficult lives come from poor council estate families, with parents who lack education etc etc

I have many. Friends who live in council areas, I have lived and grew up on a council estate and yeah some kids have a bad life, bad parents etc etc, but there are just as many who have good lives.

However I now live in an affluent area and know of at least 2 children who have awfull home lives but turn out to school everyday, immaculate nice clothes, dropped off in daddy's nice car on his way to work etc etc

One family the mother is an alcoholic, she has plenty money and hides it well, but drinks every night, her children when at home stay in their rooms out of her way. The children on the outside are quiet, kids, that's because at home they have to be.

The second family I know are really wealthy and have a beautifull house. However there youngest child is severely disabled, the mother cannot cope with this and the dad is never home. It is the oldest teenage daughter who provides all the care for her younger siblings as the mother is deeply depressed.

I am just pointing out that children from all walks of life can have difficult and challenging childhoods, but the ones who are well dressed, spoken, behaved and fed are the ones who are often missed.

scottishmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 09:49:03

jam I see your v concerned about the child,but no you cannot and must not sign for glasses or pose as the parent.you document your concerns to school.if necessary professionals meeting to plan what next.is there a child in need plan?

ballroompink Sat 09-Feb-13 09:51:31

I certainly didn't realise that most of this stuff went on in the lives of people I knew until I was a teenager. I grew up in a reasonably deprived area but my family and my friends' families were all pretty comfortable. I think one of the turning points was discovering that the badly behaved, volatile bully in my form at school had a very abusive home life and had had to deal with a lot. I remember being incredulous when she told a teacher that her mum couldn't write her a sick note because she couldn't write very well sad I remember the shock on discovering that one of my mum's nice middle class friends had an abusive husband.

These days I am aware of it; my DM and DSis even more so as they are teachers. But I know now how sheltered I was as a child.

scottishmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 09:56:36

an understanding and empathy of the daily grind people face really makes difference in attitude and behaviour
im nonplussed by mc blether about parties,clothes,activities,and schoolgate as is irrelevant froth
esp when you consider for some folk just getting by is challenge.

AlanMoore Sat 09-Feb-13 10:09:51

But don't you know it's all their own fault for being so disgusting and poor? If they wanted to they could read the Daily Express and pay their own council tax and be cats arse faced judgemental twats but they spend their £1000 a week benefits on fags & cider and stuff from Bright House and they're just not quite human. Like immigrants.

Not sure why OP was getting a bit of stick for being "naive", I went to a rough school and live in a rough area and I didn't realise the half of it either till I started my career training.

AlanMoore Sat 09-Feb-13 10:18:48

Ooh I didn't realise I was so ranty & cross today, sorry. Deleted lots of people off fb for posting stupid statuses about immigration & benefits. I get a bit annoyed at all the infighting instead of us all getting together and having a bit of an uprising!

I stopped going to the children's centre cos I was on the verge of starting a riot.

redexpat Sat 09-Feb-13 10:20:22

I got a temp job in a prison just after uni. Had a similar awakening, despite being state educated. I didn't realise that I'd had such a priviledged upbringing because my parents dressed and fed me and sent me to school every day. I know exactly how you feel!

AlanMoore Sat 09-Feb-13 10:27:32

I had one friend who only had one set of clothes, my mum always used to make us do some messy play and send her home in something else so she could wash her stuff properly. Apparently my nana once buying a new pinafore and swapping it with this girls cos it was so stained and worn sad

JambalayaCodfishPie Sat 09-Feb-13 10:30:07

We don't have a school nurse anymore. She went last year.

Her sights got so much worse in the past twelve months. Concerns have been documented. The children are known to social services too. Nobody seems to able to just take responsibility for it, iyswim. And it's such a simple FREE thing to fix. I guess that's what makes me so angry.

JambalayaCodfishPie Sat 09-Feb-13 10:30:15

We don't have a school nurse anymore. She went last year.

Her sights got so much worse in the past twelve months. Concerns have been documented. The children are known to social services too. Nobody seems to able to just take responsibility for it, iyswim. And it's such a simple FREE thing to fix. I guess that's what makes me so angry.

scottishmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 10:35:15

known to ss do you mean has a sw?in that case inform sw?can you email call the sw
I understand your frustration,but do talk to the sw emphasize your concern

Eebahgum Sat 09-Feb-13 11:04:53

I've known about, worked with, and helped (as much as I can) children like this throughout my career. It always amazes me how many of these children are wonderful, caring individuals (despite the fact they go home every night to the kind of home I would be uncomfortable spending 5 minutes in). Since having my ds it breaks my heart even more that not all children are born equal. In fact, some have the odds stacked against them before they're even born. The people involved with these children & families are chipping away at a very big iceberg. I wish I knew a better way to help. X

aamia Sat 09-Feb-13 12:41:58

I teach too, and have done some supply. In a new class, the ones with problem homes are painfully obvious. So many succeed despite their backgrounds, but many do get dragged down by it, and become the next generation with a drug/drink habit because the memories are just too painful to bear. You do what you can to help, but it never seems like enough.

CabbageLeaves Sat 09-Feb-13 14:00:09

Can I just say that not all children with difficult lives come from poor council estate families, with parents who lack education etc etc

Going back to this from Goodtalkingto. Friends of my DD were educated (solicitor/teacher) but I think there was a level of domestic abuse/mental health issues. Mum committed suicide when her DC were 14 and 16.

Child in my DD's class (age 10) - her father died in an accident a fortnight ago. I don't know but suspect there is no financial back up for that family

I have a friend who is v middle class and naice. Dad is a high level professional on £150000 a year ish. Mum starts drinking after lunch if her day has caused her stress (nails not the right colour when manicured maybe...) She becomes irrational, weepy and nasty by evening and finds child care too difficult. Her DD had no boundaries and often slept over with her older boyfriend at 14 (some might think this is fine of course...I suspect it was an easy option for friend though). Dad is stressed and drinks a lot as well. Living with volatile angry drunks must be hard. They do give their DC lots of financial support...just not a lot of time, patience or good example. (3 out of 4 children have 'gone off the rails' so far)

Could list other examples but I don't personally know any parents who spend benefits on drink and fags (accept it happens however). There isn't an easy answer. The last example I gave would be astonished to be considered anything other than a naice family.

marriedinwhite Sat 09-Feb-13 14:47:27

Why don't schools call in the parents who are severely neglecting their children and read the riot act? Not much point in teaching PSHE if the children are suffering under the teacher's noses and nobody picks up the parents about it. Mandatory parenting support in those circumstances and potential benefit cuts - referral to social services if improvements do not take place. I would happily pay more tax for better services that do practical and realistic things sto help instead of spending money on renaming Xmas as Winterval and employing GBLT advisers, etc

RunnersWorld Sat 09-Feb-13 15:17:28

LOL married, what do you think happens after the schools "read the riot act"?

We have a wonderful learning mentor who is regularly in touch with parents of children whose attendance is poor, who are getting sent in with inadequate lunches, who are filthy or falling asleep in class. Sometimes there's an improvement for a short time, but the best she can really do is show them that someone at school is looking out for them, even if it's not happening at home.

CabbageLeaves Sat 09-Feb-13 16:02:00

The naughty parents apologise and go home vowing to do better RW (get given lines if they don't improve?)

I really don't think you have a grasp of the day to day challenges for some families and teachers married. It's not as simplistic an issue as you make out

I'd personally like to have it out with some parents but recognise it might make me feel better but wont fix the issue. How will the abused parent react? How will the aggressive parent react? What change will you see in the house of a family on benefits? Not all benefit families are smoking and drinking their cash.

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