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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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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