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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)

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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