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School rang social services

(17 Posts)
user1465410703 Wed 08-Jun-16 20:13:50

I'm new here and I don't know if I am posting on the right bit.
I'm looking for anyone who has been in a similar situation who can give me some advice on what happens.

This may be a big long so please bare with me.

I'm a mum of an 8 year old boy who I have always had problems with handling his behaviour. Asked for help from the doctor a couple of years ago and had fantastic help from a lady at family steps.

Monday morning we was getting ready as it was back to school after the half term break. My son was very cross that he had to go back school as he thought he was still on holiday. He was adamant he wasn't going but I said he has to as it's the law. This is whilst he is screaming at the top of his voice. Then we go on to the next performance of trying to get dressed. He was adamant his clothes were wet, they wasn't at all. So he kept taking them off, shouting and screaming and I was trying to put them back on. He's then tantruming on the floor and turns in to a dead weight that I am trying to pick up and control. Luckily I have videoed the tantrum as I wanted to show my partner how bad he was being. He really upset me and I was in tears on the phone my partner as I didn't know what to do with him because we was going to be late and he wouldn't get in the car. During this I gave him a smack on his bottom, not hard, no marks were left.
Finally managed to get him in the car and on our way. I park at my mums house as its close to the school. He went into my mums and refused to leave there too, my mum could see how much I was upset and so offered to take him. On the way my mum got on at him a bit saying he should be ashamed of himself treating his mummy this way and he should be acting more grown up now he's going to be 9 this year.

Then about 11.30 I have a phone call from school. It was the deputy head saying my son was really upset this morning. I said well I'm not surprised he was really naughty this morning, I had to tell him off. She said well that isn't all, he has told us u hit him and that your partner beats him too! (That absolutely does not happen) I was gob smacked and honestly couldn't believe he had said that. She said I have reported you to social services and we have checked him for bruising (he had none) and that he doesn't want to come home.
She wasn't a very nice lady, I felt like she had already passed judgment without knowing what actually happened and was only ringing me to inform me. The school know all about the difficulty we've had with his behaviour and he's mostly the same at school.
I was obviously distraught and had the worst case scenarios going round my head.

After ringing my mum she went down the school to speak to her, but she wasn't interested. She asked if she could see my son with a teacher present but she said no and my mum had to leave.

I couldn't go in to work as I was too upset and my partner came home as he was deverstaed.

I had no idea if I could collect my son from school as they didn't say so my mum went. When he came home he told my mum what he had said but also said that it was because before I met my partner he felt like he was the man of the house and could look after me and felt like I didn't need him to care for me anymore. We've explained to him that just because he gets told off and it might hurt his feelings it doesn't mean it's physically hurting too. My partner is firm but fair with him and tells him off when he is doing wrong.
He's now very sorry and said he feels really bad for saying it all. But he doesn't understand that it won't just go away.
And yes I really regret smacking his bottom but it t wasn't me "thrashing him" it was just a small smack on the bottom to disiplin him.

This was Monday and it's now Wednesday night and still not heard anything from social services. How long does it take? We're going out of my mind with the worry.

Hoping someone can help and let me know what to expect.

Thanks xx

starpatch Fri 10-Jun-16 00:40:27

so sorry you are going through this OP hope it gets sorted out soon

wotoodoo Fri 10-Jun-16 01:28:51

Be completely honest with them and the school and see this as a great opportunity to get the help you and your son needs, I wouldn't worry at all especially as your son sounds remorseful and you all want a happier home life.

Good luck and remember they are there to help you so this will be your turning point.


DioneTheDiabolist Fri 10-Jun-16 01:37:12

I agree with Wotoodoo. It sounds like you and your DS could do with some targetted help right now OP. Be honest about your difficulties and ask what SS, the school and you can do to improve tge situation.thanks

NanaNina Fri 10-Jun-16 02:11:50

Hello OP. I'm a retired social worker with some 30 years experience in children's services (child protection) I think if your son told the school your partner was beating him they had a duty to inform children's services. There is a protocol that they must follow in cases where a child makes a serious allegation.

Having said that, I think the school have totally over stepped the mark. They had absolutely no right to refuse to let your mother see her grandson with a teacher present. I don't think it would have been lawful for them to refuse without anyone else present, although there was possibly concern that your mother was going to tell her grandson not to make any more complaints to social workers etc. Sorry I'm not saying she would, I'm just trying to explain how things work.

You have parental responsibility for your son (and unless a court removes that) you have every right to collect your son from school or behave as any normal parent would. The school shouldn't have been checking for bruises as that's the job of social workers, but they might have asked the deputy head to check. Look social workers are totally overwhelmed with REAL child protection cases and if there was any concern they would have had to see him the same day and contact you.

I am in no way surprised that you haven't heard anything, and in all probability you won't hear anything and even if you do, they aren't going to be taking any action believe me. I'd like to say that they could offer support but because of their workloads, they aren't able to offer very much in the way of support.

I think the main thing is that your son has told you how he feels about not being the "man of the house" (or however he put it) don't know how long you've been with your partner, but step parenting can be a tricky situation. You do need help with your son and you mention having had help in the past, from Family Steps. Is there any chance your GP could re-refer you. Is there any possibility he has AS or ADHD.

And please stop worrying about the smack bottom over his clothes - it's called being human!!

Atenco Fri 10-Jun-16 04:58:29

What a lovely helpful post NanaNina

user1465410703 Fri 10-Jun-16 07:02:28

Thank you for your replies. They are really helpful.
I understand that the school have a duty of care and I'm grateful that they do step in as otherwise genuine cases would get missed I think it's just something you never expect to happen. I was in shock and embarrassed (and still am)

Me and my partner have been together for 2 &1/2 years. My son does get on well with him but it's just when he tells him off he's "the worst person in the world" and goes round telling everyone that he's so nasty to him. When Infact he is disiplining him.

I have often thought that something wasn't right but the doctors and school just put it down to him just being a bit naughty.
It's like he's 2 people. He can be the most loveliest caring boy in the world, and then 5 mins later he can be evil. and once he's in one of his moods it is so hard to get him out of it.

I used to be in a very abusive relationship from when my son was 1year to 4 years old. He seen a lot happen to me that he shouldn't have and I know he can remember a lot of it. I feel terribly guilty because I should have left sooner but I was terrified of what my ex would do if I left.
When I did leave I think my son felt a need to look after me and be the "man of the house" but he said he doesn't feel like he is anymore. But we've told him as nice that is it that he feels like he wants to look after me, doesn't need to. He should let me and my partner look after him as that's the way it should be.

I really hope if they do come that they will see and understand what has happened and can give us some support through this difficult time.

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 10-Jun-16 16:51:33

OP I am so sorry that you and your DS were in an abusive relationship.thanks Have you received any help for this? You say your DS doesn't like being disciplined by your DP. This could stem from his fear that your DP will be abusive to both of you. What type of discipline does your DP use? Would it be possible for your DP to leave the discipline up to you?

ItsPank Fri 10-Jun-16 18:57:19

I wouldn't worry, as long as all is well at home it should just blow over. But tackling his behavioural issues will be another issue in itself.

I once smacked my 9 year old on the bum (some may not agree) after he was incredibly, incredibly rude to me when I took away his game device for the night. It is rare that I ever do more than raise my voice, but the following day he told his teacher that as I smacked him I cut his finger (about a mm long 'cut'), and it was hurting so he couldn't do his work.

His teacher was concerned, and so the school counsellor and welfare officer became involved. It turns out that he had told them a number of odd things, including that he had witnessed me regularly fighting with my mother (not true), that he took himself to school (over a mile away, again not true), and that I had 'mental health issues'. I was completely baffled by this, and also very angry. Over a period of days I discussed with him the consequences of telling such tales, and what it could mean for our family. He is now 10 and can still be cheeky and moody, but his behaviour has improved since then.

I was told that the school had a duty to contact social services - which they did. And apparently social services decided that no involvement was needed. They also spoke to my younger son who was in reception at that time, and found him to be perfectly happy, and to my mother who pretty much laughed it off and was just as confused as I was. That said, it wasn't particularly pleasant having to deal with it at the time, and I can imagine what you are going through, but try not to worry too much.

Papergirl1968 Fri 10-Jun-16 19:25:12

Hi Op, my dc are adopted with challenging behaviour and we've had ss involvement three times due to issues like this - the first time was when a member of staff at the school saw me smack my oldest dd, and I wasn't allowed to be alone with them for three weeks, had to give an interview to the police under caution etc. Nothing came of it.
The second and third time the dc made allegations to teachers about me and other relatives assaulting them. Both were dealt with relatively quickly and no action taken but every time it is horrendously distressing.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is devastating but you haven't done anything wrong. Smacking, while unfashionable, is not illegal, and there's a massive difference between a tap on the bottom and child abuse.
Sounds like school massively overreacted, as ours did, but I think they are all so scared of another Baby P or similar that they cover their backs.
If ss haven't contacted you yet, two days later, and your son has been home with you, clearly either the school hasn't reported it, or ss aren't that bothered. If they do contact you, just stay calm and tell the truth.

apple1992 Fri 10-Jun-16 19:37:21

Op sounds like you've had a tough day!!

As above mentioned, the school is duty bound to report, and my guess would be that SS aren't too concerned as they haven't contacted.

I wonder if your boys behaviour could be linked to witnessing you Ex partner be abusive? I'd suggest trying to get some support, try your GP but it actually might be worth contacting SS - your LA may have a triage service that could suggest what support might suit.

user1465410703 Fri 10-Jun-16 21:53:09

Thank you for more replies it is helping us settle our worries.

Well it's now Friday evening and still haven't heard anything from SS. I am considering phoning myself on Monday just to find out what it going on, I am literally a nervous wreck.
Every time my phone rings I panick it it is them calling. But as some here and family have said that maybe they aren't so worried as they would have called strait away.

My partner does shout at him when he has been naughty, to support me. So he can see he can't just walk all over me. But he associates being told off with what he had seen.

When we seen family steps they knew everything thing any talked to him about it and it seems to work for a little bit but now we're back to square one.

My sons dad (we all get on well) has suggested a day for my son and other half to spend some quality time together because to be honest it's usually all of us together when we go anywhere. So my other half and son are planning a go karting trip.

My son is also seeming really remorseful as he is now being overly loving to both of us, I think he may realise he took it too far this time but I'm worried how long it will last until the next time.

Maybe calling them myself of Monday might help, hopefully get some help and put our minds at rest. It's the waiting around not knowing that is getting to us the most.

Thanks for all your help. X

NanaNina Fri 10-Jun-16 23:11:36

User I think the first thing is to stop worrying about social services and don't phone them on Monday because Mondays are hell for social workers because they have to pick up everything from the Emergency Duty Team over the weekend. They've almost certainly NFA'd this (no further action) Ok they might have asked the school to report any further concerns and since there haven't been any, it will go no further. Social workers are SO snowed under with work, they are openly admitting that they don't have the resources (in terms of time and money) to apply to the court to remove children who they know are being abused/neglected.
Most Children's Services are trying to run a service with 25% vacancy rates. Just forget it Please.

I hope you don't take this the wrong way but I think as someone else mentioned, your son has been badly affected by witnessing DV - it is well documented that children living in this situation especially in their formative years (0 - 5) are going to be adversely affected. I assume this partner was not your son's father? So he's had his birthfather (assuming you lived together) and 2 step fathers. And there were 1.5 years between the violent P leaving and another step father arriving - yes?

You mention your DP "disciplining" your son. I always get very edgy when I hear that word related to young children. What exactly does this form of discipline take I wonder - shouting, you say, but what else, sending him to his room, taking away his possessions, no pocket money or whatever else. I would suggest your son doesn't need discipline - he needs what all children need unconditional love so that he grows up to feel loved, cared for, safe and secure, and valued. This doesn't mean that he must never be reprimanded but he needs to heal from the trauma he witnessed in those early years (they're the years that are more important than any other years in his life because it is in those years that the foundation for later life is laid down, and sadly you can't re-run those years.

I think your son is possibly feeling anxious and confused and like many adults in that position covers (not at a conscious level) those feelings with anger. And I wonder about not wanting to go to school, could be for a variety of reasons. He may not want to leave you, fearing that the ex P is going to come back and hurt you. Or it could be that he is being bullied (kids are very quick at picking up when another kid doesn't quite fit the mould)

I'm sorry - I tend to be direct and I do hope that you are not offended. You all need help as a family and son and DP spending time together sounds spot on and hope it's not a "one off" - does your DP have any experience of caring for children? Sadly I don't think the help that you need as a family is going to be available because all services like that have folded through lack of funding. Your son would benefit from play therapy but again that's going to cost because it's only available on a private basis.

There are positive parenting courses (some schools but them on) and I think you and DP could benefit from something like that - there's not usually a charge.

I hope you find a way through this but if nothing else STOP worrying about social services!!!

user1465410703 Sat 11-Jun-16 07:16:47

Me and my sons father never lived together I was only 20 when I had him and stayed with my parents I didn't move out until I was 23, that's when the abusive relationship started. I then moved in to a house of my own.

I didn't expected or want things to turn out the way they did, I'm ashamed and hate telling people that I was in a domestic violence relationship. Or that my son had to witness it. I know that out problems stem from that.

Please don't think that we only ever tell him off. We love him dearly and have a lot of great times together. He is a very loved little boy by us and the wider family. He in himself is a very loving child and does and says the most thoughtful things, But when things are bad, they are bad. The tantrums he has are not the ones that I see other children his age having. Yes when he is naughty he will be sent to his room with things he enjoys playing with removed. But this only happens when he is naughty and usually after a lot of warnings.

My other half has a neice and nephew but other than that he's like anyone who has their first child I guess. He is fantastic with him though and we are both really lucky to have him in our lives.

I won't call on Monday I will just leave it now and see if I can source help from elsewhere. I will talk to the school so I know that we are all singing off the same hymn sheet. I have asked them before about bullying but they don't seem concerned. The only thing they mention is that he doesn't like school work and sulks a lot !

Thank you for your comment and advice. It is appreciated. X

apple1992 Sat 11-Jun-16 09:38:07

Nananina's advice sounds pretty spot on. OP, please don't feel ashamed, you are not to blame xx

Atenco Sat 11-Jun-16 17:20:13

Nananina's advice sounds pretty spot on. OP, please don't feel ashamed, you are not to blame xx

I totally agree. All of us victims of dv understand this totally illogical feeling of shame. Be proud that you got out.

corythatwas Sun 12-Jun-16 19:40:12

Nananina makes very good points, not least about the kind of disciplining your son may need.

I was going to say anyway that smacking a child this old on his bottom is probably a bad idea as they are beginning to develop ideas about dignity and body parts being private.

If your ds has witnessed DV this becomes even more important. He won't be able to tell the difference between reasonably chastisement and domestic violence.

And it may be that under those circumstances shouting is also a bad idea. You may get better results by trying to stay very calm and using a firm authoritative voice.

My dd (never witnessed violence but traumatised for other reasons) used to have violent tantrums until the age of 10 or thereabouts. What worked for us was holding her so she couldn't do any harm and just repeating in a very calm voice: "No, I am not going to let you hurt anyone. No, I cannot let you hurt anyone".

Your ds needs to feel that whatever happens you are strong enough to protect him from:

a) turning into his father

b) being treated like you were treated

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