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World War 2 and Evacuees

(19 Posts)
Italiangreyhound Tue 04-Sep-18 21:12:35

I was dreading the topic of World War 2 and Evacuees and it will come up for ds this year.

They need to dress up.

A minor consideration is I don't have a World War 2 and Evacuee costume hanging around, a major consideration is that this is a bit close to home as ds was taken into care as a young child and joined us at 3.

So do I keep him off school? Do I explain it and see what he wants to do? Do I explain it and expect him to go along with it.

I know it is part of the war but it just seems a topic more easily explored when kids are older (he's 8) and a bit close to home for some.

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donquixotedelamancha Tue 04-Sep-18 21:30:35

So do I keep him off school?

I would really avoid this if possible. That said, kids vary hugely and I'm guessing you have good reason to think the problems might be substantial. Working through difficulties can be great for building resilience- if it works. Sometime we worry a lot more than they do.

If it were me I would:
- Start teaching him the subject now, at home, so you can assess the response and he gains confidence with the material.
- Speak to the teacher and explain possible triggers. I can't see them doing it in great detail at primary.
- I'd try to avoid discussing explicitly if he seems OK, but pivot on that if he has a strong response.
- If he's really struggling once the topic begins I'd give him the choice about attending, though that's not ideal.

That said. I don't know your son. Trust your gut.

MagicKeysToAsda Tue 04-Sep-18 22:30:33

What do school say? It would depend for me on whether there is a focus on role play re evacuees - have heard horror stories where they took it as far as labels round necks and telling the children to imagine leaving their families behind... Naturally this is hugely re-traumatising for children who have lost at least two families already. School stops feeling like a safe place, night traumas come back, separation anxiety spikes...all for no good reason really.

Without the dressing up / role play, if I trusted the teacher then I'd be willing to work together to prepare my child to participate in the topic in an adjusted way. If the school wouldn't budge on the dressing up / pretending to leave a family behind, I would take my child out of school and do something specifically bonding, such as swimming or building/making something together.

Emotional security and attachment trumps curriculum EVERY time I'd say smilesmile

Italiangreyhound Wed 05-Sep-18 01:16:03

Excellent points donquixotedelamancha and MagicKeysToAsda.

The dressing up suggests it will be name tags around the necks.

My husband thinks I am over reacting etc.

(My mother was evacuated as a child. I think it did a lot of damage for her.)

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topcat2014 Wed 05-Sep-18 06:56:28

Interesting thoughts. I know we will have to try and consider things very differently with an AC rather than with DC - Not sure that I would have thought of this being a problem from where I am in our current training.

DC was just gutted that, owing to a school mix up, they didn't book to go on the local steam trains..

Italiangreyhound Wed 05-Sep-18 08:04:51

It's often hard to know.

Almost all kids films, from Padding to Tangled to Finding Nemo, contain loss of family in some form! My son is never phased by these, but some children who joined their family by adoption might be.

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UnderTheNameOfSanders Wed 05-Sep-18 09:03:09

Any similarity to adoption went over both my DDs' heads when they did this topic, similarly the films.

Costume:
You don't need much, and in fact for a boy school trousers and some kind of button shirt would be sufficient. Go to charity shop and see what you can find. if you can find one a flat cap is good for a boy too.

Essentials:
1. A brown luggage tag (or made from cardboard/brown paper.
2. A gas mask box. We used a persil tablets box, but a tiny shoe box would do (ask at shoe shop as sometimes people take shoes and leave the boxes). Wrap in brown paper. Use some brown ribbon (£1 from a haberdashers, or free with a fancy box of chocolates) or a cut down old belt as the strap.

A small old suitcase completes the look, and a small old brown teddy (not a shiny new pokemon!). Both optional!

They may need food if they go the whole hog. You can get glass bottle lemonades, and otherwise just avoid plastic and tin foil, so paper bag or wrap in greaseproof paper.

UnderTheNameofSanders Wed 05-Sep-18 09:04:28

School shorts even better than trousers as boys didn't tend to wear long trousers aged 8.

AngelsWithSilverWings Wed 05-Sep-18 15:36:35

Don't under estimate the impact this can have on adopted children. I still can't believe what happened at my DCs school.

Both of my DC are adopted. DS was in Y2 and was taking part in a dress as an evacuee day. All of the year group were going to take part in a full day of activities run by a theatre group.

I asked DS's teacher to make sure there wouldn't be any thing that would upset him ( in particular I didn't want him to be in a scene where he was rejected by a host family when they were acting out the billeting process). The teacher agreed to keep an eye on things for me.

What I didn't expect was the Head Teacher, during the whole school assembly, getting all of the "evacuees" to stand up so that they could say good bye to the rest of the school because they were going away to live with some families in the countryside until the war was over.

My DD , then in reception year , had a complete meltdown at the thought of her brother going away to live with another family. She was hysterical apparently.There were also plenty of non adopted children who were also very upset and confused at the idea of their sibling going away.

The Head called me in for a meeting to apologise profusely for her misguided attempt to bring a bit of realism to the day. She was mortified. I couldn't believe someone could be so stupid.

I'd be inclined to keep them at home for the day.

UnderThenameOfSanders Wed 05-Sep-18 15:56:43

Angels That's horrific, but hopefully not common.

I'm not a believer in 'keep home for the day just in case'. The OP's DS seems to let things float over his head like my DDs. So I'd risk it.

For me, I find it is never the things I expect that cause issues. NSPCC talks have been and gone fine, as have secondary school talks on domestic violence. But DD1 once got thrown by something random in RE!

UnderTheNameOfSanders Wed 05-Sep-18 16:01:06

OP. Can you pre-discuss it with The children went to live out of London so they could be safe from the bombings. They stayed with people who had spare rooms and their parents visited when they could but knew their children were safe. When the bombing finished they could go back.
(I realise that's not the reality of some of evacuees, but it is putting a positive spin on it.)

Italiangreyhound Wed 05-Sep-18 17:38:52

"free with a fancy box of chocolates" Now you are talking my language Sanders.

AngelsWithSilverWings that is terrible.

And Sanders, yes, it is the reality for some kids, that their parents visited.

blog.findmypast.co.uk/the-story-behind-a-poster-dont-do-it-mother-1406495548.html

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Rainatnight Thu 06-Sep-18 14:52:50

Not the same thing at ALL, but I had multiple hospital admissions as a child (old school, parents didn't stay over) and I unexpectedly found - as an adult - an evacuees exhibition at the Imperial War Museum hugely upsetting. But I have ishooooooes around what happened, didn't particularly get any support at the time, and another person in the same situation might have been fine.

Italiangreyhound Thu 06-Sep-18 15:01:19

A friend had lots of hospital admissions as a child, it definitely affected him Rainatnight. So I certainly see your point. thanks

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Rainatnight Fri 07-Sep-18 08:36:54

Oh really, Italian, that's really interesting. I've never met anyone who's had the same thing happen (apart from my dad, weirdly, but that was in the 50s, so even though my experience was old school his was far far worse, so we actually don't have a lot to compare). So I've never known if I'm just over-sensitive or if lots of people have similar ishoooooes.

But back to your DS - I agree with PPs who said to start working on it at home and gauge the reaction. I wonder if there's a movie he could watch? I know there are lots of kids' books on evacuees (Carrie's War, Goodnight Mr Tom) - I'm sure some of them have been made into films. And then you could see how he reacts and have a chat with him about it.

Allington Fri 07-Sep-18 09:26:52

Goodnight Mr Tom is a lovely book, but a nightmare in adoption terms - neglect leading to death of the baby sister as well as evacuation...

UnderTheNameOfSanders Fri 07-Sep-18 09:45:45

Agree - Goodnight Mr Tom is one to still well clear of with respect to adoption. The child neglect / cruelty (by the child's birth mum) is far too close to home. (Though to be fair, I think DD2 has seen it and again similarities went over her head).

As they are only 8 yo I would be interested to know the level of depth they are going in to and what they are focussing on. It might be very superficial at this age.

Rainatnight Fri 07-Sep-18 18:02:11

So sorry blush I'm having an awful week and brain not working properly - I completely forgot.

Italiangreyhound Fri 07-Sep-18 18:18:11

My friend's difficult childhood with multiple hospital admissions is almost certainly responsible to some degree for:
Difficulty making commitments
Depression
Drinking too much to self mediacate

He has dipped his toe into counselling and it helped. But, for whatever reason, has chosen to manage his anxieties his own way. Of his two children, one is very anxious. However, I am an anxious person and have no real reason to be. So I do think some of it is just biology.

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