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witnessing child abuse

(15 Posts)
ScandinavianAupair Thu 30-Jun-11 02:46:59

I am gay, i know that gay adoption is hard, i know people may have bad ideas of it... but i also know how it works i need experiance with kids, i love kids, and so at the begginning of this year i became an aupair.

My first placement in sweden was the most amaising time of my life, but the second was less so. In fact the second Aupair job was more of a disaster that was shocking for me.

My second job was in Finland, The family i chose happened to be a gay couple, and as a gay woman I thought it may be a way to score extra bonus points with the adoption agencies in the uk and sweden.
What i saw from the moment i walked through the door was shocking, I saw a chainsaw with no guards where a 4 year old could grab it. I saw knifes placed on a high shelf in a very busy area -it concerned me as if the 4 year old banged into it they could be easy killed by the falling knifes. I also saw a house that was FILTHY at least a cm of dog hair, old mouldy food, spilled juice, and dog excriment on the kitchin floor where the 4 year old was playing. I also witnessed there inability to hold children in a respectful way, they held the baby over the sink while changing her and refused to use a changing mat or to support her head fully - i even saw the kids legs go purple and blue as a result of the parents refusal to use a changing mat.
The garden was not safe at all, there was a steep bank that was not fenced off so the four year old could easy fall down it and hurt themselfs.
They had mixed up the dvds so there where adult dvds with childrens dvds.

They had a building site which was unsafe and open to children - they where doing up the attic and the stairs they where fitting had a loose step on top, which means that the four year old could easy fall through and break its neck.
They had an aversion to cleaning "i want to spend more time with the children"
the baby - who is 2 months old stopped breathing after they where sick
I spent the last few days crying out of dispair i simply dont know what to do. I have reported them to the social services in Finland but cant do more....
I am feeling both shocked, confused, and ashamed at myself for leaving them alone with these people.. i am 22 they are 32 and yet it seams i have more of an idea how to care for kids.
When i was leaving they said "you'll never make a good parent."
which cuts me really deep.
Im now homeless and without work, i got back to stockholm on tuesday morning via ferry.
sorry for misspelling words i happen to be dyslexic.
i want to know what i can do to help the kids further?

ScandinavianAupair Thu 30-Jun-11 02:49:46

the parents gave the 2 month old a bcg injection in the kitchin, the baby has flu right now. the first mum is a nurse and the second (the birth mum) training to be a nurse.

ScandinavianAupair Thu 30-Jun-11 02:55:59

oh and they constantly drank coffee over the baby, even i think that its common sence to not drink scolding hot coffee over the baby.

smokeandglitter Sat 02-Jul-11 20:47:00

There is nothing else you can do, I'm afraid, Love. You did the right thing by reporting it.

ScarlettIsWalking Sat 02-Jul-11 23:15:02

How awful sad I take it they had been approved to adopt these children? . What did the authorities say to you? Did they take it as a situation of extreme urgency?

ScarlettIsWalking Sat 02-Jul-11 23:16:14

Sorry just seen you wrote birth mum I misunderstood. I only hope it gets investigated.

cory Mon 04-Jul-11 08:16:49

This post has already been discussed on another thread and a couple of points made:

not fencing off a steep area to protect a 4yo would not be considered abusive in Scandinavia where 4yos usually play out of doors in natural surroundings; they are considered to be old enough to learn to negotiate their local area

washing children in a sink would equally not be considered abusive, just a different cultural practice
(who decides that a changing mat is the only "respectful" way of changing a baby- and have the majority of the world's population even heard of changing mats?)

how exactly do you make a baby's legs turn blue by holding it upright- most 2 mo babies are held upright quite a bit, surely?

Scandinavian 4yos would normally be used to being around tools (my brother was given a carpenter's bench for his 4th birthday) so might be expected to have the sense not to grab anything dangerous

keeping knives on a high shelf might seem a reasonable safety precaution, depending on how stable the shelf is

drinking coffee over baby is taking a risk, but it is a fact that most people get a little more relaxed with safety after their first child; there are few of us who haven't taken any lazy risks with subsequent children

the filth does sound neglectful, but considering that the OP sounds pretty OTT in most of her reactions, I am not sure I trust her judgment on this one

My advice to the OP is, if you are going to report something, stick to things that would be considered abusive ^by the standards of the culture you are in^; that would be the dirt in this instance.

As I pointed out on the other thread, when I first arrived in the UK most of the parenting I saw seemed to me abusive, some of it even illegal by Scandinavian standards: I am very glad that I held my hand and did not report all those neighbourhood families (whose children, incidentally, have now grown up into well adjusted teens and a credit to their families).

Kewcumber Mon 04-Jul-11 11:45:30

out of interest Cory what BRitish practices would the you/scandinavians consider abusive?

ScarlettIsWalking Mon 04-Jul-11 16:47:27

The op does not sound OTT at all in her reactions.

Where is the other thread it is being discussed?

NanaNina Mon 04-Jul-11 20:04:24

I cannot believe that anyone reading the OPs account could think it was OTT. It all sounds very dangerous at worst and at best very haphazard parenting. How can anyone think that a child playing near dog excrement is not horrendously dangerous? Am amazed at your reaction Cory. I am aware that child care practices vary with differing cultures. My friend's son married a Chinese girl and they are coming back to the UK with a very young baby. My friend offered to buy the cot and the mother said, No because the baby wil be co-sleeping with us, and didn't want a pram either because she would use a sling. When in China my friend has seen babies without nappies, just a slit in their babygro and held out to urinate - quite how anyone knows when a baby is going to urinate is something of a mystery to me.

OP I'm a little confused - you say you are homeless and without a job. Are you Swedish, Finnish, or British. You will obviously need to have a settled home before applying to adopt but you seem to me to be very able to know what is dangerous and unsafe parenting.

There is no need to worry about being gay and wanting to adopt - it is not lawful in the UK to discrimate against applicants in relation to their sexuality. I'm sure the laws in Sweden must certainly be the same.

mathanxiety Mon 04-Jul-11 20:33:20

Do the social services have any way to contact you now that you are back in Sweden, in order to give more details, etc? I think you sound very sensible and kind and I don't think what you saw, in general, could be classed as anything but neglectful or even abusive. Some details could be quibbled perhaps, but you already had experience of the first job where you saw Scandinavian parenting and home life before you took the second job, where things were so different. The filth/dog poo in particular would raise my eyebrows. So would the 'holding respectfully' thing if it's what I have in my mind's eye.

I would say the refusal to clean is like a game of chicken for them -- they are both competing for the children and nobody is going to willingly be the first to blink and say 'ok, I'll be the housewife and you can be the parent'.

NanaNina, yes, elimination communication (while not for everyone) is something some parents have tried with their babies. It's unusual in the west but obviously not in other parts of the world (Africa, Asia especially) Similarly, co-sleeping -- very popular (much moreso than EC), and carrying baby around in a sling.

ledkr Mon 04-Jul-11 20:52:53

the op iseems very upset,concerned and has informed ss.
Im sure she has no reason to over react and it does sound like a nightmare situation in any country.

cory Tue 05-Jul-11 09:03:37

"It all sounds very dangerous at worst and at best very haphazard parenting. How can anyone think that a child playing near dog excrement is not horrendously dangerous?"

What, even washing the baby in the sink? This is quite common practice in rural areas. How is it abusive? Or holding a baby upright- I have seen HVs do this. Have also seen British mothers at toddler group passing coffee cups over babies' heads: while I absolutely agree it is not good practice, I did not call SS.

I did agree that the dog excrement sounded bad, but am not sure how trustworthy the OP is: it could have been a recent poo accident for all we know. But I admit that if the house is filthy, then that is bad.

The main problem the OP seems to have is that of a 4yo playing outside without the garden being specially child proofed, e.g. steep areas being fenced off. I repeat that this is common practice in Scandinavia, as it was in Britain 40 years ago. A toddler would be supervised in a responsible family, but a 4yo would be considered to have a certain amount of sense. The OP seems to think a 4yo is a baby who cannot learn to keep away from the steep areas.

Kewcumber, smacking is illegal in Sweden and has been for many years, so that is a good start.

Not allowing/encouraging a child to play out of doors during the cold/wet months would certainly raise alarm bells (I know British children who don't even own wellies and overalls, so they can't play outside for much of the year); you would be considered to be taking risks with the child's health and stunting their development.

Feeding a child salty and high fat snacks like crisps on a regular basis would be considered neglect at best, if not actual abuse.

Shouting at children in a non-emergency (as many British mothers do) would be considered dodgy.

And swearing at a child in public (which is something I hear every day here in the UK) would lead people to suspect that the parents were totally out of control; if they can do that in public, what on earth will they be doing in private?

NanaNina Tue 05-Jul-11 12:59:23

Are you Swedish Cory? I have always believed that Scandinavian countries were far ahead of the UK with the social policies in respect of childcare. Don't have any detail. When I was a social worker some years ago, a young Swedish woman joined the team (child protection) and she was horrified at the way in which clients didn't keep their homes and their children clean. She asked me to visit a particular flat with her and it was just the norm for clients in the UK to be honest. Her own home was always sparkling and shiny from top to bottom! I know this is one one person, so hardly a sample of any sort.

mathanxiety Tue 05-Jul-11 17:40:35

Cory, the baby was being changed over the sink, not bathed there. (I honestly can't work out how a baby would be changed over a sink myself. It seems only sensible to have the baby lying flat on some surface, not held over a sink for changing.) I found washing babies in the sink was the best way to spare my back and get them nice and clean while they were small enough to fit either lying down or sitting up. But changing one there -- no.

And I think she said the baby's head was not being supported, which you can do easily even if you hold a baby upright.

I agree with your comments on some British parenting practices (shouting -- there is so much shouting, even compared to Ireland, swearing, junk food, lack of outdoor play -- having children in a climate where it's winter 6 months of the year gets you over worries about catching cold)

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