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)

noisytoys Fri 08-Feb-13 17:51:55


ethelb Fri 08-Feb-13 17:52:02

Yanbu but it is depressing and makes you realise how much cameron and osborne dont even begin to realise.

Just out of interest were you not state educated yourself?

SchoolNameChanger Fri 08-Feb-13 17:55:23

Yes, I was state educated - in the very rough secondary I will do my best to avoid for my DC, but my friends were from families like mine. I just considered the rest to be bad kids blush

ZZZenAgain Fri 08-Feb-13 17:55:46

I don't really have your experience of it so can't speak about it with any real insight other than my own limited personal experience but I am sure you are right that a lot of families endure real hardship.

As to difficult children, well those that I have known personally have not had any particular mitigating circumstances. They were from stable homes with a reasonable income and not mistreated AFAIK and I am fairly sure of this. The bad behaviour was simply not addressed when it arose and allowed to flourish until it became ingrained behaviour. My experience may not be very typical though. THe children I know whose life conditions are hardest are actually very mature and also very pleasant to be around despite the turmoil in their home lives and the difficulty of their family circumstances.

I am sure it can be quite an eye opener to work in a school.

Dannilion Fri 08-Feb-13 17:56:25

YANBU to have had a sheltered life, but YABU if you never considered that 'difficult' children may well have 'difficult' lives.

WorraLiberty Fri 08-Feb-13 17:56:46

Blimey, what post do you hold to know so much personal info on so many children?

I was under the impression most of these things are on a need to know basis only?

Unless of course your job means you need to know all which case ignore me blush

lisad123everybodydancenow Fri 08-Feb-13 17:56:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sirzy Fri 08-Feb-13 17:58:43

I think you are right in as such as a lot of the time what is seen as 'poor behaviour' has reasons behind it and it's important to try not to judge without knowing the full story.

SchoolNameChanger Fri 08-Feb-13 18:04:33

Worra, You think that's a lot? that's a tiny proportion of the sad stories I could have mentioned - school of around 250 children. I don't know anything I shouldn't for my job smile

ZZZen. I think you are right, there are some children who are just naughty, but we have a head who is very good on discipline and those children are now under proper control (at school at least). The ones who haven't responded to the head's methods are all damaged in some way. I mean repeat offenders, not isolated incidents.

Absolutely the are some children living in very difficult circumstances who's behaviour is not poor, so it doesn't always have to be that way, but very often it is.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Fri 08-Feb-13 18:05:20

Not unusual, it's a messy tough world out there & there is no one rule or causality. Its great you now understand that smile

but don't go feeling all soppy about everyone, everyone has different lives and struggles and levels of goodness / blame. It's not 'they're all bad' or 'poor people have such difficult lives', it's about not jumping to conclusions and sweeping generalizations, either way.

SminkoPinko Fri 08-Feb-13 18:06:22

You are not being unreasonable as such and you sound like a lovely person but perhaps you've led quite a sheltered life up till now. a lot of people realise that real life is a tough struggle for many quite early on because they are the ones struggling or they mix with people who do. if you are relatively priveleged and haven't had much opportunity to mix with people in different circumstances how would you know?

SchoolNameChanger Fri 08-Feb-13 18:07:12

Dannilion, I know that now, but I was brought up with "I blame the parents" and very often it is what the parents have done/are doing which causes the problems, but I know now that's not the whole story and that those parents need support too.

ssd Fri 08-Feb-13 18:18:04

op, I find it amazing you knew so little before getting your current job...did you live in a bubble with no tv/newspapers etc? did you only socialise with your immediate neighbours?

of course there's a hard world out there, I try to teach my kids there's a world outside our cozy living room, I'm surprised others don't realise this.

what age are you BTW?

ZZZenAgain Fri 08-Feb-13 18:22:04

she did say that she was aware that some people had very difficult circumstances but was surprised at the sheer number of them (I am paraphrasing). She was not entirely unaware of it

dontstopmenow Fri 08-Feb-13 18:24:40

Just wanted to say thank you for your post op. It has made me really think about how critical I am (in my head) of other people I see on the school run - Thank you!

poppypebble Fri 08-Feb-13 18:28:56

I have seen an increase in the number of children struggling with terrible home circumstances over my 10 years teaching 11-18 year olds. I think this is probably because schools are much more on the ball about spotting things these days so we know rather than pretend we don't.

I teach in a fairly average comprehensive with a mixed intake and just in my form group (28 kids) there are 4 who SS are involved with in some way and another 5 regarded as 'vulnerable' because of their home lives.

lisad123everybodydancenow Fri 08-Feb-13 18:36:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Andro Fri 08-Feb-13 18:48:09

I'll admit I had no real idea how difficult life was for some people until I went to university - my father being able to easily pay all my costs made me realise that I was beyond fortunate materially.

ssd Fri 08-Feb-13 18:55:37

I cant believe these blinkered lives going on

andro, did your parents never discuss money with you then?

comingintomyown Fri 08-Feb-13 19:00:47

My life wasnt blinkered but if it was why and how would I know

Anyway there is a big difference between reading or being told something than seeing it experiencing it first hand

HollyBerryBush Fri 08-Feb-13 19:09:26

TBH, I have seen so much "shit"as I have in schools, no one deserves the life some children lead, let alone children. I'm quite desensitised now though sad been there too long I think.

Andro Fri 08-Feb-13 19:14:21

ssd - Yes, in terms of the importance of savings, sensible investments and balancing my current account (which was never difficult, I only spent a fraction of my allowance whether at home or uni).

Lara2 Fri 08-Feb-13 20:23:41

Even very little children carry round a shocking amount of emotional baggage everyday sad. If you can imagine it, it happens. That's why school can be so important - a safe, warm place where they have no real responsibility, people are nice to them and it's a predictable routine. It's appalling that emotional development is no longer part of the curriculum after the Early Years. 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.

kim147 Fri 08-Feb-13 20:40:17

I work in inner city Leeds. I don't know what goes on in their lives at home but I see the effects at school. It's heartbreaking - so much crap going on and this recession does not help one bit.

But there's so much more going on and people at the top do have lives so far apart from the people at the bottom.

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

£10 for a trip is make or break for us. sad

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.

CabbageLeaves Fri 08-Feb-13 21:51:42

What experience are you basing your statements on married?

marriedinwhite Fri 08-Feb-13 21:54:10

As a parent; as a manager in education; on two years of a child in a top 100 comp in London, on experience in a deprived inner London borough.

HollyBerryBush Fri 08-Feb-13 21:54:32

married that is a very insightful comment, I think you have nailed society on the head there.

how many times do we have to see heinous crimes in the press get lesser sentances becaue of a tragic upbringing which are mitigating circumstances?

MariusEarlobe Fri 08-Feb-13 21:55:28

Agree with Kim.

I've worked in a inner city school in Bradford where 45% had no breakfast OR tea and the school meal was the only meal a day apart from tea and biscuits.

Where children came in filthy.

The boy who at 8 was that desperate for attention he would climb all over me the whole time.

The children who stole food, a boy who snuck back in after home time to get the thrown away reminents from the bin after the Christmas party sad

The kids who we knew we're going home to an empty house.

The children who's divorced mum and dad were amicable and died in a crash on the way somewhere and the step mum took them all on, big Asian family.

kim147 Fri 08-Feb-13 22:03:02

"a liberal or empathic approach seeks reasons for behaviours not excuses for beahviour"

Exactly scottishmummy

I totally understand the reasons the 5 and 6 year olds I work with are so so angry. Defiant, scared and angry with the world. No denying that handling them takes up a lot of teaching time and has a massive impact on the other children.

Other things I've noticed - I was asked to look after the y6 children who did not have their PE kit. 10 children. Was it a coincedence they were the ones who caused trouble in the class?

Or the children whose parents are late to pick them up on a daily basis? Not a one off but regularly. Same children with issues in class.

These children often have no one there for them. Except the adults in a school who often have to be the responsible parent for them. I wish Government and society could tackle many of these issues but where the hell do you start?

CabbageLeaves Fri 08-Feb-13 22:03:38

A manager in education covers a multitude of roles. I was meaning more do you connect and talk to parents?

My best friend works in the 'worse' school locally The tales she tells are heartbreaking. I agree that fags and drink play a heavy role in some parenting inadequacy but some parents love their children but are trapped by poverty, lack of education, lack of aspiration, abusive relationship (parental and partner), ill health, personal tragedies, mental health. The think that she says works over and above all behaviour management? Positive reinforcement of good behaviour. Hard discipline fails.

I'm a fairly zero tolerance mum but my DC have had pretty stable family life so that is expected and consistent and they are capable of meeting it. I suspect I'd fail miserably parenting a foster child from a background of abuse

marriedinwhite Fri 08-Feb-13 22:04:13

Is it best for some children to stay with their parents (mothers) regardless of everything else then? Could not alternative forms of care with lessons learnt from what went wrong in the past not be better for some children?

minouminou Fri 08-Feb-13 22:04:57

Bloody hell, Marius.
What shocks me is the cigarettes, though. £10-15 per day; money that could be spent on food.
I knew a girl years ago....21-22 or so. She had rotten teeth - all of them grey, chipped, broken. Apparently her parents never bought them toothbrushes or toothpaste, never took them to the dentist, despite it being free. They spent money on fags, booze and shite food.
The impact on her life, because of the state of her teeth, was awful. She was a nice girl, but was working on a chat line when I knew her. She daren't do anything else, as she didn't want people to see her teeth too much.

Little things like toothbrush or just don't think. Add that to greater abuses or neglect, and it's a life ruined.

Roseformeplease Fri 08-Feb-13 22:09:39

A friend works in a school with real problems, in the nursery with 3/4 year olds. Two children were sent to play "house" in the Wendy house in the corner. They immediately started throwing things and screaming "Fuck off" at each other. When my friend intervened, the children were not angry with each other, they were "Just playing at Mums and Dads". Breaks your heart - they were 3.

ukatlast Fri 08-Feb-13 22:12:25

YANBU I have always had a very strong social conscience but it was only when I got involved with running a Parent-run playgroup on the council estate opposite my private estate as a SAHM 10 years ago that the reality came home to me.
A lady I befriended had a drug-abusing OH whom she had turfed out numerous times, she had anxiety and depression issues but fortunately her kids were pretty well-behaved and didn't seem to have been too damaged.
Her situation was one of the better ones though as someone else said, these people have been given this social housing because they have got 'issues'. I was more used to council housing being for working people - like one set of my grandparents lol.
That was the eye-opener, the extent of the underclass. Think its getting worse not better...people and especially women make a lot of bad choices in their lives. When I had to move abroad, I got the playgroup taken over by the Surestart centre.

minouminou Fri 08-Feb-13 22:20:31

It makes me wonder if the idea of restricted benefit debit cards is such a draconian measure. You can't buy booze, fags or gamble with them.

I'm sure there'd be a thriving exchange scheme going on before long, but it might dissuade some people some of the time.

CabbageLeaves Fri 08-Feb-13 22:26:07

Does anyone have up to date facts about outcomes for children in care?

Don't think there is an easy panacea married. I think we all wish there was.

not the greatest reference but from a quick google

minouminou Fri 08-Feb-13 22:32:57

Has liberalism failed?
It has it just failed a sector if society? A sector that could do with being propped up and kept in line by a stricter code?

I'm no Tory, like MIW, but I wonder if liberalism has removed essential strictures from society. People who would always have got on and done well/OK have done just that, but the ones who would never do that we'll, but would scrape by with a bit of help/carrot/stick (bit tipsy, forgive me) have been left to fester and fall.

Adversecamber Fri 08-Feb-13 22:35:48

I grew up in a horrific family, at one point some of my siblings were in care and the sister above me in birth order was in care from age 7 till adulthood.

Alcoholic stepfather, seriously abusive , horrible Mum, not enough food, lots of beatings. After my stepfather died my Mum had a breakdown and I was basically her carer at age 13.

All of us have some kind of issues, I have anxiety. Fortunately through education and a caring DH I have a decent life. My siblings have fared far worse, two of them have serious MH issues.

Both of my parents actually had decently paid jobs they were just selfish bastards.

Adversecamber Fri 08-Feb-13 22:43:43

Cabbageleaves regarding outcomes of dc in care.

Well my dsis as mentioned above left care and has had a series of seriously abusive relationships and low paid care and cleaning work. She has serious MH issues and will only speak to me and one other sibling. She also has problems with alcohol. She has never had much money, has never had a proper holiday in her entire life and is now 50.

marriedinwhite Fri 08-Feb-13 22:46:44

Adversecamber I'm so sorry - I wish it had been different for you.

minouminou Fri 08-Feb-13 22:47:01

Adverse...can you explain why she's never had a proper holiday?
Sounds like a weird Q, but I'm wondering what has prevented her.

AmberLeaf Fri 08-Feb-13 22:52:22

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

Min £10-14 per day =£70-100 per week and he manages to buy booze too?

What would he as a single person get in JSA per week? about £71?

Something doesnt add up.

Adversecamber Fri 08-Feb-13 23:00:30

Lack of money as always low paid and also fear. Abusive partners of hers have basically lived off her as well so she has just never had spare money, they have destroyed her mind and she has agoraphobia now.

poppypebble Fri 08-Feb-13 23:06:26

Just in the five weeks we have been back at school since Christmas I've personally spent my lunch moving the buttons on a skirt that was too small for a girl in my form because it was hurting her to sit down and her mum was not able to buy her a new one, I've engineered spilling a drink on a boy so that we could wash his uniform in the textiles room as I don't think it had been washed since September, I've 'accidently' bought too much to eat at lunch and shared it with another girl and I can't count the pens, pencils and rulers I've provided. I run homework club everyday because many of the children have nowhere to do their homework and then get in a cycle of detentions. The HOY went home with a student to show the parents how to treat for headlice.

These children cause me sleepless nights - it is half-term this week and I worry who is looking out for them when we can't. They don't really cause me behaviour problems, apart from being unable to fulfil certain expectations e.g. uniform or getting parents to sign their homework diaries. The children who distract from the learning in lessons tend to be the children who have been brought up to think themselves superior to others - and that certainly isn't these children, who have been taught to think of themselves as worthless.

minouminou Fri 08-Feb-13 23:09:07

What are we storing up for ourselves as a society here?

poppy thank you for all that you do for these vulnerable children. thanks

How can we help? What should we be doing?

OxfordBags Fri 08-Feb-13 23:25:04

Scottishmummy is spot-on about Liberalism. Far from it being the reason for these problems, it has alleviated many issues and removed much of the stigma around discussing abuse (and even poverty).

Rates of child abuse and neglect have not risen since the past. In fact, they have gone down, if we're going to go back beyond the 70s. Rates of incest, for example, are estimated to actually gone down, due to people living in less isolation and taboos on talking about it lessening. Children have always lived grim lives, albeit some times in ways that don't exist any more due to certain modern inventions and cultural mores. My father, who is in his 70s said a very astute thing to me recently - that one of the reasons why people get rose tinted glasses about childhoods of the past is that the majority of kids had very little, were treated very harshly and had no rights, so people who should call their childhoods abusive don't, as their experiences were the norm, ergo discussions about past childhoods can overlook how bad things could be for too many kids.

He is also a historian and always points out that every generation has an obsession with problematic youth. There was a massive problems with delinquent boys and young men in the 50s, easily comparable (although not with as many fatalities) as today's gun culture.

Liberalism gave us the NHS, the welfare state. It gave disenfranchised parts of society, such as women and non-whites greater equality and rights. It introduced dialogues about the rights of children and what constitutes abuse into our society. And so much more, but you get my point.

Without Liberalism, terrible childhoods would be so much more prevalent.

poppypebble Fri 08-Feb-13 23:28:48

Ah, thanks Norks, but I love my job. I don't like that these children are so vulnerable, but they are mostly lovely and so happy just to have someone pay some attention to them. When I move between main school and sixth-form I have at least 3 little followers who want to carry my bags for me so that they can have some attention and a little conversation.

I don't think it is any worse now than it ever was for the kids, but I think we know about it more now and get involved more. We shouldn't write these kids off at all, we need to provide the role models and care that they lack at home. We should crack down on the bullying of these children by those more fortunate and we should wonder why it is that SS won't get involved in the case of a 12 year old living with drug addicts who is left alone for days on end and who is neglected in every sense of the word.

How about poor behaviour due to diagnosed SN? Or those who disrupt because of those special needs and the school does fuck all to put measures in place to help deal with those special needs. And once they are diagnosed still refuse to acknowledge they are failing said child

Or the mum who isn't dressed for the school run because her autistic son has disrupted family life so much that no one gets any sleep because he has threatened to kill his younger siblings if they make a noise. The three younger ones cannot get into a proper sleep pattern and so are sleepy in lessons

Or forgotton book bags and pe kits because mum is dealing with autistic son. Mum is educated and knows how to be a parent but because of lack of money and lack of support means she cannot help her children the way she wants to.

Because this is MY life and MY experience. I really wish the Cameron's and the osbournes and the Goves in this world would live for just a week in the world of people like me and others who genuinely struggle then maybe we would see some changes.

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 document your concerns to school.if necessary professionals meeting to plan what 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.

diabolo Sat 09-Feb-13 16:36:19

Amber just seen your comment in reply to my post last night.

If you check my posting history you will see that I have worked in Child Protection for some time and now, and I don't tell lies. I am not a benefit basher. 95% of the poorer families at my school are perfectly normal people, doing the best they can for themselves and their children.

I have no idea how this parent survives, or what he smokes or drinks, (I don't actually socialise with him you see).

Wandering in with your "something doesn't add up here" comments is very insulting. I'm sure his daughter thinks something doesn't add up about it too.

diabolo Sat 09-Feb-13 16:37:31

for some time now, that should read.

IAmLouisWalsh Sat 09-Feb-13 16:46:04

marriedinwhite because no-one cares.

Every weekend I say goodbye to a boy who goes home to the most horrific circumstances, well known by SS. One Monday he will not come back. Short of kidnapping him, what do I do?

KellyMarieTunstall Sat 09-Feb-13 17:21:00

Amber-you do realise, I hope ,that when a figure is quoted ie 40 cigarettes per day, that does not necessarily mean that exact amount is consumed each and every day ?

Nor that the cigarettes are being bought at legitimate outlets for recommended retail price.

Nor indeed that each cigarette actually come out of a pack.

It is a well honed skill making a new cigarette out of the nub ends of several old ones . Someone experienced in this will always pinch out their cigarette rather than crush or throw it away to ensure a good amount of tobacco left in each nub.

Yes a single persons JSA is £71 .00 per week paid fortnightly and sometimes the last few days before payday are grim indeed.

I also have worked in very deprived areas and realised then that that angry children were the ones who had been terribly damaged by adults. In most of the schools there are fantastic nuture group teams who give those children a lot of stability and consistent boundaries. The children love being in the nurture group but invariably funds are so tight that each child can only access it for short timetabled sessions. Then they go back to the classroom to create havoc again.

More of these are needed and for longer periods-all the way through to key stage 4 for some. But it always ,always comes down to money in the short term. sad

AmberLeaf Sat 09-Feb-13 17:46:49

Diablo, not doubting your credentials. but based on what you initially posted, that didn't add up.

Also to KellyMarie
No if someone says 40 a day, I assume they mean 40 a day, or something very close to it.

I know all about 'butt rollies' yes, just have to respond to that sort of thing, its a thing at the moment isnt it? families on benefits shouldnt be given cash because it all goes on drink and drugs.

More feasible to suggest someone buys two large packs of tobacco [bootleg of course] that would be £10-15? cheap booze?

No one would be spending £71 per week on booze and fags alone.

AmberLeaf Sat 09-Feb-13 17:52:46

Sorry that was a bit disjointed [I was on the phone!]

Sorry if you felt insulted Diablo.

I don't 'know' you as such on here and wrongly assumed you were coming at it from a different mindset than the one you actually are.

scottishmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 18:07:02

love the notion that read riot act,a strict ticking off will v deluded
if you manage in education you'll know staff cant just read riot act to solve an enduring issue
takes time for problems to build takes time and intervention to resolve problems too

amillionyears Sat 09-Feb-13 18:18:54

I came to the conclusion several years ago, that there are no weher near enough police, social services personel, prison places etc.

So the Government, or the system, or call it what you want, therefore, in reality, just tries and deals with the worst cases.

The rest of it is effectively just left.
And that definitely includes child neglect.

Happy for someone to come on and tell me I have got that wrong.

marriedinwhite Sat 09-Feb-13 18:28:31

Because nobody cares. Because nobody tries. Because some people have never been told and never been shown. Because society has to start somewhere and do something more proactive than complain. Because the children are worth it. Because it might make one child's life better - because it might make a difference.

Failing that, campaign as hard for increased taxation ringfenced for these children as the teaching unions have campaigned for pensions; the non introduction of performance related pay, etc..

I grew up in the 60s and 70s. I also grew up in a very deprived part of the South - the Isle of Thanet. Some girls came from a dreadful estate, some girls were farm hands daughters in tied cottages, some girls grew up with bigotry. Looking back I can begin to imagine which girls were probably abused and/or knocked about a bit, or hungry or not treated very well emotionally - one girl had to leave school at 16 (and she got 8 A grade O'Levels) to bring in cash - and because she was only a girl. Some of those girls had dreadful lives in all likelihood. None of them misbehaved, nobody did in fact or at least not to any great extent or to a dangerous extent, because all of the them knew what the school's expectations were and knew that they could and would be expelled.

My position in relation to boundaries and consequences remains.

I will add, I also had an incredible headmistress who had been a misssionary in China. I am aware now that on occasion she stepped in for the welfare and wellbeing of her girls way above and beyond what would usually be expected.

amillionyears Sat 09-Feb-13 18:34:46

I was a volunteer with fostered children, [as well as being a foster mum] for 6 years.
People do try, and people do do stuff.

But it will never be enough to reach everyone.

And there are charities galore.

scottishmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 18:52:28

oh dear you do trade in tired cliché one care,fault of liberalism,read riot act
despite an overwhelming demand upon public services,people do care,staff care
yes it could be better,but in uk we have services free at point of use, other countries haven such equivalent services

landofsoapandglory Sat 09-Feb-13 19:33:28

I agree with Goodtalkingtoo. My DC come from difficult circumstances, I am disabled and DH is Armed Forces so often away, but because they are well turned out and their homework is done on time, usually, no consideration is given to them.

Of course, there are some DC who need extra consideration than others, but it is not exclusive to those in poverty or those who are badly behaved.

married you say no one cares.

and yet on here we have testimonies of lots of people who do care and who are making a difference, no matter how small, in their daily lives.

I volunteer for Homestart and for a Mental Health Charity. My role is to provide support and friendship. I try my hardest not to judge. It's not much. I wish I could do more.

What do you do?

marriedinwhite Sat 09-Feb-13 20:37:15

What do I do?

We sponsor three instruments and instrumental teaching at the dcs old state primary school for families who cannot afford it.

I work in the public sector, in a very deprived area, for £20-£30k less than I could command in the private sector to put something back.

DH takes young people off an inner London estate to a premier league football match once a month and sponsors their football training with the same club. He also does a monthly two hour pro-bono sesssion on the same estate every other month.

I also cook 30 meals once a month for a homeless charity.

I think it's fine everyone doing incremental things but what is needed is a sustained campaign to increase tax by one penny in the pound, ringfenced for children who really suffer to ensure they receive the specialist help they need.

kim147 Sat 09-Feb-13 20:40:03

Maybe we could just spend less elsewhere and prioritise welfare and family support.

But what budget areas do we cut?

And how do you help children in such circumstances? Because a lot of people do care.

scottishmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 20:56:37

are you frontline married?do you know that people care,if so why such tired cliches
I'm struggling to imagine you in public sector with your pov,ESP the read riot act

amillionyears Sat 09-Feb-13 21:10:13

marriedinwhite, what you and your DH are doing is great.

But, from the Gov pov, when say some money is say saved from a, the money is not then extra spent on b iyswim.

I often see people say, well if we tax motorists more, then more can be spent on potholes.
But the Government never works its spending like that. Or not that I have ever seen.

amillionyears Sat 09-Feb-13 21:11:35

Also, a lot of so called "problem families" will be the last ones to want or accept "help".

amillionyears Sat 09-Feb-13 21:13:13

I do admire your thinking though.
And to be fair, some ideas a bit like this do end up getting off the ground.

kim147 Sat 09-Feb-13 21:14:52

I didn't think die hard Tories worked in the public sector - especially in the front line.

marriedinwhite Sat 09-Feb-13 21:20:24

Was that meant as an insult Kim147? I don't work in the front line but I support those who do.

Dollyboo Sat 09-Feb-13 21:21:09

Gosh- just read through this entire thread. It's truly heartbreaking. Having been privately educated with a sheltered upbringing I was naive in seeing how some families live. I have worked in nurseries where many of the children are referred by SW and the experiences the children have had in their few years of existence are truly awful. Sometimes you just want to take then home and show them what normality is.

marriedinwhite Sat 09-Feb-13 21:21:43

I do find it interesting that the left wing feels it's OK to be offensive towards "die-hard" tories. Interesting that the same level of offence doesn't seem to be delivered the other way.

scottishmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 21:23:38

are you frontline married?what role (be general not seeking exact)are you practitioner

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 09-Feb-13 21:25:50


As much as I disagree with many of your view points regarding lots of things, I do love it and have a little private giggle when someone who is unfamiliar with your posting asks in a sarkie way what you do for those less fortunate.

I know it shouldn't but it amuses me,often for ages.

scottishmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 21:27:28

I see your not frontline, it shows. you support frontline?
if your one of the it/hr/corporate I can assure you it's not the's not actual professionally orientated frontline knowledge or training
yes the it/hr/corporate staff support but it is not akin to frontline.v differnt ethos and professional training

kim147 Sat 09-Feb-13 21:27:55

"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."

You really think benefit cuts are going to help the situation? It will only make things worse for the children. And social services struggle enough with funding issues and poor publicity to play a majo role. Look at the issues they have. And do you think the parents are going to listen?

The Tories do not support the public sector. The Tory press hates the public sector. We're all liberal do gooders or people who wanted a job for life and a gold plated pension. Schemes that could make a real impact have suffered under this coalition. It's been left to the so called Big Society to make an impact and the Tories don't give a shit.

marriedinwhite Sat 09-Feb-13 21:28:32

Well how nice that you enjoy taking the piss *sockreturningpixie*.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 09-Feb-13 21:36:08

I didnt mean that married, I just meant that I recall from your previous posts that you do a great deal both in time and money,things that most people wouldn't be bothered to do either with time or money.

I recall it because I admire it.

So when someone's asking you that question in an attempt to put you down because they are making assumptions, its funny ( well to me but I am rather odd)

marriedinwhite Sat 09-Feb-13 21:43:21

OK - thanks sock

I don't work front-line. But neither do I have to work in supporting services in the public sector and even if I say it myself I am bloody good at what I do and could do it elsewhere for far more; but I chose not to. I also have good relationships with the front line staff and do my very best to support them and fight their corner where necessary. That isn't the case for many front-line staff in many similar organisations.

scottishmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 21:47:51

your posts,the tell em as it is read riot act,you clearly do not understand
fair enough it's not your job to really know how it goes,you suggested you did
you're not immersed in public sector professionally or bound by statutory duties and conflicting demands

amillionyears Sat 09-Feb-13 21:55:07

Havent a clue what is going on here now confused

marriedinwhite Sat 09-Feb-13 21:55:41

Oh, I think I am Scottish.

ssd Sat 09-Feb-13 22:06:30

sm, does any of that matter? married and her dh probably do as much as someone in the front line bound by all the rules there, just in a different way

mrsbunnylove Sat 09-Feb-13 22:07:52

arriving late, as usual. the school where i work has a team of mentors. part of their role is to offer parenting classes. to parents of our pupils.

married, you do good.

transient populations/families make it difficult to provide the support everyone needs. some families, if ss or even school, show an interest, immediately move on.

amillionyears Sat 09-Feb-13 22:12:25

married, have you read any of those, what I call "white" books. The ones where children descibe how they grew up in poverty, abuse etc.
I read the first ones that hit the shelves, but not all the later ones.
Those books are quite an eye opener to some people, myself included.

They look at things through the childrens' eyes. And it helps to get a whole family situation into perspective.

scottishmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 22:14:10

My opinion is marrieds recommendations are not commonly held by public sector staff
she had stated she is public sector,I queried in what capacity,she clarified not frontline
perfectly legitimate to query,seeing married did bring up working public sector

PenelopePisstop Sat 09-Feb-13 22:15:10

I am frontline and agree with all the teaching staff on this thread.

It looks like it 's not just my area where Social Services are shockingly poor. Have we any SW's on here? Maybe they could explain why they don't appear to do anything until something really shit happens.

scottishmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 22:18:09

good grief I hope you're not recommending all that awful misery lit as good read
the sepia pictures and ghastly titles, I find it incomprehensible people read that stuff

kim147 Sat 09-Feb-13 22:20:16

"It looks like it 's not just my area where Social Services are shockingly poor. Have we any SW's on here? Maybe they could explain why they don't appear to do anything until something really shit happens. "

I would guess no funding, lack of resources and an overwhelming caseload. Plus pressure on them if they make mistakes and are over zealous or don't react soon enough.

porridgewithalmondmilk Sat 09-Feb-13 22:21:24

I don't think more money is what is needed to solve this particular problem. If I had as little as £10 a week I would prioritise feeding my child above anything else. The problem is a mindset not a financial issue. I wouldn't describe my political leanings as conservative but I am in favour of benefit reform.

PickledInAPearTree Sat 09-Feb-13 22:22:08

I was about to say the same Kim.

amillionyears Sat 09-Feb-13 22:29:30

scottishmummy, Have you read any of it?
Like I said I used to read it when it first came out.
But then there were loads of them, and you could almost guess what was going to be in them. And I think, it was revealed that some writers were actually making it up or at the very least, embellishing or somewhat copying.

But yes, they do offer some insight imo.

poppypebble Sat 09-Feb-13 22:30:04

Poverty doesn't stop people being good parents. I grew up in poverty myself and was loved and had everythingI needed. Neglect and abuse happen in all social classes. The girl who goes home to drug addicts is poor, yes, and SS don't care even though her attendance record at school is less than 60 %. They sat through the CAM where her parents turned up 30 minutes late and unable to participate because they were giggling constantly and then said 'nothing for us to get involved with'.

It is a very mixed intake where I work and I two of the children in my form considered 'vulnerable' have middle-class parents who just don't give a shit. One was left alone whilst the parents went on holiday (12 years-old) and another has a largely absent father and a mother who drinks (and turns up to parents evenings drunk and demanding).

PenelopePisstop Sat 09-Feb-13 22:33:06

porridge if nobody prioritised feeding you when you were a child why would you think that was a priority for your own child. The sad fact is that some people had no proper parenting themselves so have no idea how to do it. It seems the most obvious thing in the world when you have been brought up in family that puts their children first. But it's also the obvious thing the other way around.

ssd Sat 09-Feb-13 22:33:43

amillionyears, keep away from those awful books, seriously

porridgewithalmondmilk Sat 09-Feb-13 22:36:29

penelope - I appreciate that but again, have to say that therefore I do not think flinging more money at the problem will solve the problem. As has already been highlighted here middle class families can be abusive too, and there are many more ways to not meet a child's needs than not to feed them or keep them warm. In fact in some ways neglect is the easiest of the four key areas of abuse as it tends to be something a child is lacking that can be (relatively easily) provided - unfortunately it tends to come hand in hand with the other forms of abuse too.

amillionyears Sat 09-Feb-13 22:39:55

ok ssd, best if I do I expect.

PickledInAPearTree Sat 09-Feb-13 22:52:01

I was just about to say a million I have heard some are made up..

I flat shared with a social worker and our book shelf was miserable viewing I've read lots of them too.

Not sure which are supposed to me made up but that's sick isnt it.

amillionyears Sat 09-Feb-13 22:56:42

Perhaps the earlier ones weren't, and some later ones were?
Fairly easy to make up I suppose.
I agree, that is sad.

amillionyears Sat 09-Feb-13 22:58:13

What about the Torey ones?
I assume, hopefully correctly, that they are true?
Someone on MN last week or so was saying that the Torey books are popular reading for teenagers, which I thought was nice actually.

PickledInAPearTree Sat 09-Feb-13 23:02:20

I can't remember those ones.

I read the kid and the dave pelzer ones.. There was an awful one she had where the mother moved around and kept getting the daughter operated on. Awful stuff.

amillionyears Sat 09-Feb-13 23:13:28

Yes, I read the kid and the dave pelzer ones..and some more but I dont want to upset ssd!
Dont think I read the one where the daughter kept getting operated on.

I think the one I stopped on was the ugly book and the one after that. Because her mum claimed it was untrue. I think that case went to court, and it was the daughter who was found to be telling the complete truth, and not the mum.

For some reason, it it making me smile thinking of you sharing a flat with a social worker, and you reading her misery books on her shelf. She might/must have had loads of them!

PickledInAPearTree Sat 09-Feb-13 23:16:13

There was not one normal book in there mine were up in my room.

I had a date once and I saw him look at them with fear!

PickledInAPearTree Sat 09-Feb-13 23:16:55

She has all the biographies of serial killers too

amillionyears Sat 09-Feb-13 23:18:38


Jamillalliamilli Sun 10-Feb-13 11:16:26

If I have to choose then YABU to be surprised, but I can’t work out why being loved and cared for would make people so un empathic and detached from reality that it would come as a surprise.

I find this idea that you can’t give or work out what to give, what you didn’t have, hugely offensive. I’ve never read a misery book and don’t want to, but do the people who write them say that?

I honestly don’t want to be rude to anyone but are people really so detached from half of society that they have to read misery lit to understand other people’s lives?

Goodtalkingtoo Sun 10-Feb-13 18:08:17

Not all poor children with parents on benefits are unhappy or badly treated.
Not all neglected children grow into neglecting parents
Not all wealthy, working parents know how to be good parents.
Just because a child turns up at school with trousers too short doesnt mean that they had no dinner the night before. Maybe mum chose a healthy meal over
New trousers

Neglect comes from all walks off life, and regardless of how sheltered an upbringing, to say you didn't realise other people had such struggles means a lot of people are walking around with their eyes closed.

To help these children people from all walks of life need to open their eyes and look around on ground level not from their high horses

diabolo Tue 12-Feb-13 21:00:58

Some of our poorest families produce the brightest, nicest, cleanest, most intelligent children we have. Sadly lots of them have never been out of the County we live in and have no desire to do so. I ache for the lack of aspiration in their lives. Even though many are capable of going to University, it doesn't even figure on their radar and nothing we say as a school seems to impact on that.

Some of our few m/c families are the ones most in need of Family Support Workers, with their children needing a few lessons in empathy and manners. Nastiness abounds where there are a huge % on FSM and who get help with their uniform costs. Some m/c children have many material possessions their peers don't have, but little love or guidance.

Neglect does not belong exclusively to the poor. Doing my current role has really opened my eyes to that. But I do see many cases where parental choice on how to spend what little money the family has, DOES impact, massively.

Amber - I've asked around - roll-ups and cheap bottles of strong cider are his drugs of choice. Just so you know.

somewherewest Tue 12-Feb-13 21:38:18

Not all poor children with parents on benefits are unhappy or badly treated.

I spent part of my childhood living with outwardly 'respectable' parents in an affluent area. Behind closed doors my mother was an unstable alcoholic physically and emotionally abused by my stepfather and I was messed up and neglected. The rest of my childhood was spent with my benefits-dependent grandparents on a rough council estate, but they cared for me in a way that my 'parents' never did.

scottishmummy Wed 13-Feb-13 19:27:32

decent but financially poor people are demonised and presumed to be dysfunctional
yiu know what not all folk getting by are to be pitied or to be held up as wpuld be artists
the working classes are frequently misrepresented.fwiw I grew up in a scheme, skint family but fantastic childhood

MyDarlingClementine Wed 13-Feb-13 19:42:11

Emotional neglect far worse than a shorter pair of trousers.

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