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Looking back through childhood stuff

(11 Posts)
hungryhippo90 Sun 18-Dec-16 22:55:35

I've got a small box, which has a few photos of me as a baby, and some of my old school reports, and school photos.. as I've recently just moved, it's seemed like a great time to show DD some of these as there are pictures of me when I was her age! (Isn't it so funny that Mummy was once her age?!-I'm only 17 years older than her, but she thinks I'm ancient!)

I started to look at a few of my old school reports. I know that my childhood wasn't great. I was actually bullied, I now realise it was because how trampy the family was.
I was often not at school, and I very rarely had a PE kit, and school uniform was always an issue.

From the time I started year 3, I used to wake myself and my sister up, to get us ready for school, then I would walk her to her school, which adjoined to the one I attended. From the same age I would take care of my sisters when my mum and step dad went out. My 3 sisters had ADHD but at that time they weren't diagnosed, so unmedicated.

I've always looked back and seen it wasn't great, but reading my school reports, whichever school I was at, it was always noted that;
My attendance was poor
When I was at school I was late
My appearance required attention
My uniform was often not appropriate or matching the school rules (I'd often wear trainers for extended periods because my parents couldn't replace worn out shoes)
I didn't do homework at home.
I didn't have a PE kit

I'm flabbergasted that no one ever pulled them up on any of these things. I do doubt they'd have gotten away with this now..

It makes me so sad, reading that in one year I had 65 unauthorised absences on top of all these other things, which I would probably see as a sign that Home life was pretty tough.

There was other stuff going on but surely, the teachers who encountered me and my sisters each day would have realised we weren't having our needs met? I particularly remember a teacher dragging me out of class when I was 12, to tell me my sister was dirty and needed to have a wash and brush her teeth and asked me to deal with it!

Was people's expectations of what children should have had just far more lax then? (90s-2004/2005)

I am babbling on now, but it was clear to all that washing was done very, very rarely in our house. And we stunk of stale fag smoke and grease. All of this together would make me think a family needed support /ss involvement of some sort.

YetAnotherUser Sun 18-Dec-16 23:04:39

I think these days certainly the attendance would have flagged up some intervention...

The other stuff maybe, but the state sets the bar for "good enough" parenting surprisingly low in my experience.

Sorry you didn't get the support you needed flowers

ExtraPineappleExtraHam Sun 18-Dec-16 23:05:34

I want to give younger you a hug. It was truly disgusting that you and your sisters were treated that way, especially as it wasn't that long ago!
Maybe you could use this to teach your DD how bullying affects people and also how society judges others when they don't know what's going on at home.
I was also called 'poor' at school after I proudly told the kids at school that I wore charity shop clothes. Little did I know that the reason was that my single mum was paying the mortgage for our house which I now own rather than the other kids who probably got £50 trainers for Christmas.
Our upbringing (bad or good) makes us who we are so embrace their negativity because you've pulled through and now you can teach your daughter how lucky she is to have a loving, caring mother who wants the best for her.

hungryhippo90 Sun 18-Dec-16 23:14:04

YetAnotherUser- thanks, it's mad to think that 65 attendances which were unauthorised weren't flagged up, but neither was a child at the age of 7 who was walking their 5 year old sibling to school. Both of us were dirty and unkempt. I like to think that in this day in age there are people around to keep an eye out for kids who's parents aren't bothered to.

GravyAndShite Sun 18-Dec-16 23:19:35

OP. flowers how are you doing nowadays?

MrsBobDylan Sun 18-Dec-16 23:19:58

I'm so sorry, it must make you feel so sad and utterly let down to remember the child you were and how the adults around you failed to throw you a lifeline.

I don't know if things are better now for children in similar circumstances, let's hope so. I can identify with your story but for different reasons and I have found counselling a great help to sorting out all those jumbled feelings.

hungryhippo90 Sun 18-Dec-16 23:28:13

ExtraPineappleExtraHam- thank you! It almost didn't feel like it was my life as odd as it may sound, as a mum I was reading the reports and thinking, God! This would concern me, if I knew children that lived these lives... I didn't see much wrong with the way we lived until I was 17/18 and started to really experience life away from what I'd always known.
Its crazy to think we aren't talking that long ago!
Kids can be so cruel, with so much judgement resting on whether you have the right trainers or not! It sounds like your mum had her priorities right, and it's so lovely that she was thinking of your future in that way.
It's right, our upbringings do mouldy us, and it has made me a better parent. I always strive to do things exactly to the letter... though in 17 years time, she will be telling mumsnet about how her mum ALWAYS got the nativity costume wrong (despite trying very hard to get it right!) and how it always embarrassed her! As parents we all make mistakes don't we!

AtrociousCircumstance Sun 18-Dec-16 23:31:02

Just wanted to send you some flowers

No child should receive that kind of neglect. Your teachers sound neglectful too, if they did nothing. I wish someone had been looking out for you, and had taken care of you. Agree with PP that counselling could help you process this.

hungryhippo90 Sun 18-Dec-16 23:32:13

GravyAndShite- thanks!! I'm a bit emotionally damaged by it all, but alright I think, just try to do my best, and do the exact opposite of what my parents did. Probably a bit overzealous with the hygiene routine of my daughter and everything else. I guess it's all positive if it means my DD doesn't grow up ever feeling the same. Thank you for asking. Xflowers

hungryhippo90 Sun 18-Dec-16 23:53:33

MrsBobDylan- It really might sound odd that I say this, but as a grown up reading it back, it's more that a child, any child was allowed to be in that situation.

As a mum, if I saw a child in that kind of state, I'd want to help them, I do wonder how it happened that teachers were realising these things but nothing changed. Could possibly be why we moved just as often as we did when I was a child?

I had had some counselling, I've worked through quite a lot with a succession of counsellors, which has helped. I view my parents as humans who have made mistakes, and only made their decisions based on the information they had at the time. Which has helped me to let go of any ill feelings towards them, but I struggle to see how they received reports from school saying that their kids needed more care into their appearance and didn't have a serious look at themselves, and when teachers saw it not improving they didn't think something was wrong.
I do hope that safeguarding policies mean that there aren't children in that kind of state

GravyAndShite Mon 19-Dec-16 07:59:18

OP your children are so lucky to have a mum who knows how it feels when a parent gets it so wrong.

To have had the bravery to see that the way they were raised was wrong and break the cycle. To seek help.

I think you will already have learned with your therapy that just doing the opposite of what they did doesn't make a healthy parent - but I understand what you mean and good personal hygiene is so positive for a child, not sure you can encourage that too much!

I'm not surprised that this was missed. I'm also not convinced it would be picked up today - although the probability would be higher.

I think reading those things picked a scab for you. (Reading your thread picked a scab for me). But you are you today, the past is over and the future is ambiguous (although it may seem inevitable).

It sounds like you are progressing so well on your life journey. You have perspective and a lot to be grateful for. Sometimes our biggest trials give us the biggest gifts.

I relate to your story and I'm so inspired to read of someone else who is breaking the cycle too. flowers

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