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This topic is for surveys for Mumsnet HQ and their clients. If you'd like to commission a survey of MN members email Non MN surveys will be deleted.

NOW CLOSED: UK MNers: Child aged 6-19? Please please please complete a Railway Children survey about talking to your child

(103 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 25-Sep-12 16:47:55

We've been asked by the charity Railway Children to find out how you feel about talking to your child about a variety of topics.

The survey should take a few minutes to complete and is open to all UK Mumsnetters with at least one child aged 6-19 years.

For every survey completed, £2 will be donated to Railway Children by Aviva, to support the work the charity does in the UK - please note you can only answer the survey once.

Everyone who takes part and adds their details at the end will also be entered into a prize draw to win VIP rugby tickets (for a family of 4) to attend the Aviva Premiership Final in May at Twickenham, courtesy of Aviva (these can be passed on to family or friends if you win but are unable to attend).

Mumsnet will be working with Railway Children over the next few months and we'll tell you more about our plans shortly.

If you have more than one child aged 6 to 19, for this survey we'd like you to please answer thinking about one of these children. It could be your boy, girl, oldest, youngest or middle child (if applicable) in this age band, please just pick one at random to answer the questions about. If you have older or younger children please answer thinking about your child aged 6 to 19.

Here's the survey link again

Railway Children and Aviva would also welcome any comments you have about the issues raised in the survey on this thread so do share what you think about running away and communicating with children here.

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw


JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Wed 03-Oct-12 12:43:08

Well done to whoever wrote that questionnaire; it's jolly well crafted.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Wed 03-Oct-12 21:06:40


Ineedalife Wed 03-Oct-12 21:55:20


We did some acitivities with our Guides a couple of years ago to do with the Railway Children. It was a good way to raise awareness amongst the girls and their parents.

I liked the survey and was glad that I talk to my teen about nearly all of the topics mentioned.

smiles007 Wed 03-Oct-12 22:49:09


JaquelineHyde Thu 04-Oct-12 11:02:56

AnnMN I would love to join the panel and will PM you to do that.

Rhubs I ran away in the middle of the night with 2 carrier bags of clothes and my wages from a waitressing job I had. No note left, nothing. I know the following morning my Mum sent my little brother up to get me up from school and he came back down and said I wasn't there sad My Mum and Dad were frantic I had just vanished. It was 2 days before I called the house to say I was ok.

The reason I left was purely out of embaressment and fear, my Mum had found out that I had stayed at my boyfriends house the weekend before and had had sex when I should have been away with the venture scouts on an away weekend.

I had been sat down and spoken to about it by my Mum on the evening I ran away, she had checked we had been safe and that it had been what I wanted etc etc. She had then moved on to my lies and not going to venture camp and how angry she was about that and dissapointed etc and I got sent to my room being told we would deal with it in the morning.

I suppose if I could give advice about how I felt looking back and what could have been different (what I am making sure I do differently) the main thing would be TALK. Open and honest conversations about everything, sex, drugs, alcohol everything. I was mortified that my parents knew I had had sex, we had never spoken about it I was embaressed and ashamed and couldn't face sitting across the breakfast table from my Dad!

I also think you need to allow children the room to grow and have freedom. I was never allowed out, I never, ever had sleep overs and wasn't allowed out past 9pm. It was this strictness that made me go behind my parents back to try and get some freedom which was the catalyst to me running away.

I never went back home, I was too scared (again I think this comes down to the lack of talking between me and my parents) my relationship was slowly re-built with my family but it took a long, long time. My Dad had a breakdown and had to give up work because he was worried sick about me sad Until I had children I couldn't even begin to imagine the pain, worry and strain I put them through.

The first 2 years were the hardest it was during these times I was sleeping rough and sofa surfing, I was arrested for shoplifting and was hanging around with the worst parts of society. I was offered and had access to every kind of drug you can imagine and then some. The other females in my social circle were either selling sex for favours like drugs or somewhere to stay or food etc (not straight up prostitution for money but sex got you what you needed) and the rest just gave it up for free as they were so desperate for love. Within the 2 years all of them were pregnant.

I resisted the drugs and sexual advances and put all of this down to my upbringing. I had very strong convictions about what I wanted from life, I had aspirations and knew drugs, drink and having a baby would not give me the life I wanted. I don't know where this strength came from to do this but I forged my own way. A drop in centre for young people opened when I had just turned 17 and they helped massively, showers, hot food, advice and they even out of their own budget put me up in a B&B to keep me off the streets.

Off the back of that I got a job at BT as a 999 operator and managed to rent myself a little 1 bed flat smile After a year at BT I applied for a job at the CSA and got it grin I stayed there for 4-5 years and have never looked back.

Now I'm a mum of 3 (7, 6 and 5) and I'm pg with dc4, married to a wonderful man and studying for my MA in social work. My relationship with my family is stronger than ever and my Mum and I are unbelievably close. I know I was one of the lucky ones, some of the people I used to know are dead, some in prison and many others living very chaotic lives. Only a few of us got out unscathed.

Sorry for the enourmous ramblings I hope this is of some help to someone. Always remember you may not be able to stop someone running away no matter what you do, but you can save them by the way you bring them up, instill a feeling of self worth, give children aspirations and the confidence to go there own way, to say NO that's not me and follow their own path.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 04-Oct-12 11:12:24

JaquelineHyde - wow. Amazing. thanks so much.

TheOneWithTheHair Thu 04-Oct-12 11:21:40

JaquelineHyde what an amazing post. Thank you for being brave enough to put that out there.

LoonyRationalist Thu 04-Oct-12 12:06:47

Great post Jaqueline, loads to think about, thank-you

THERhubarb Thu 04-Oct-12 12:12:31

JaquelineHyde what a moving post. Thank you for sharing your experiences, that must have been incredibly hard for you to open up about.

And yes, it is very useful indeed thank you. I can identify with you when you said about how strict your family upbringing was. Mine was a very traditional catholic upbringing and there was this huge thing about never bringing any shame to the family.

I will most certainly do as you say and try to be as open as I can be with my two.

You are an amazing woman and very inspirational. You have a lot to offer a panel such as this one. Thanks again smile

Housemum Thu 04-Oct-12 17:48:18

Wow, incredible story. I was just stunned by doing this survey as to how big the issue of running away was - I feel very lucky that my 19yo is relatively well adjusted!

Saying that, everything people say about honesty and openness has been key - I have never skirted round issues - whatever she has asked (sex/sexuality/drugs) has been answered honestly and whenever I have felt the need to talk to her I have done just that (eg when first going down the park at weekends as an older teen warning her about the issues around under age drinking, and the risks of taking illegal or unprescribed drugs). Information is essential - my mum was a single mum at 24 having only a hazy grasp of the basic facts of life!

When answering the survey I did it for my 9yo, should realy have answered for the 19yo as a lot of the issues haven't been ones I've raised with the younger one yet.

NormaStanleyFletcher Thu 04-Oct-12 18:58:23


TheReturnoftheSmartArse Fri 05-Oct-12 08:51:51

Jaq, you are amazing. You've made me a bit weepy - and I'm not a tearful sort!

swallowedAfly Fri 05-Oct-12 09:25:22

the questionnaire has been completed. i didn't have any assumptions about income level but do have some about abuse, substance use etc.

when i first started teaching i had this young man in my class and remember being heartbroken to discover that things had gotten so bad for him at home, there was no food, no heat, nothing and his dad was an addict, that he had packed a bag and taken himself to social services sad brave boy.

working in secondary schools has left me with no illusions as to how tough some young people's home lives are and how little support there really is for them from schools or social services - and that's those who are on their radar.

i used to run away as a teen but was lucky to have a friend's family who would take me in.

swallowedAfly Fri 05-Oct-12 09:25:35

posting again

swallowedAfly Fri 05-Oct-12 09:25:45

so that you get that maximum donation.

MamaSara Fri 05-Oct-12 10:06:51

Done. Interesting survey....had no idea about the scale of the problem. Horrible to think of vulnerable children alone on the streets.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 05-Oct-12 17:13:26

Hello - thanks for all the responses on the survey and on the thread(s) - all much appreciated - but we need more folks to do the survey so if you're yet to do so please complete it this weekend. Thanks in advance...

QuintessentialShadows Fri 05-Oct-12 19:39:23

Interesting and thought provoking survey.

Luce808 Fri 05-Oct-12 22:41:25

Done, although putting pregnancy and contraception as one topic to talk about wasn't helpful. I've talked to my 6 year-old about pregnancy (as I'm sure a lot of parents of young children have on one level), but no reason to (yet) about contraception. So I struggled to answer that question.

CuriousMama Fri 05-Oct-12 22:57:12


VintageEbonyGuitar Sat 06-Oct-12 00:05:35

I'm going to be a completely pathetic nasty bitch again

Jacs' point is not necessarily anything to do with strength/upbringing/desperation for love, rather the amount of damage done to the child before they ended up on the streets. A beaten/abused child is likely to have a wealth of issues that negates the labels of strength etc. It's unfair to blame lack of strength on children who may have come from abuse hell.

Phone won't link to survey, sorry

I have a good parent/child relationship though hth

ILostMyList Sat 06-Oct-12 09:38:36

I filled in the survey and posted it but mn went all weird and I think it was not received. also, if I click on the link, it just opens up this thread and not to the survey.

ProphetOfDoom Sat 06-Oct-12 14:02:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Maitri Sat 06-Oct-12 14:54:58


cq Sat 06-Oct-12 17:36:00

Done. Had no idea of the scale of the problem. I talk to my kids about anything and everything - sometimes they are embarrassed but I hope they know they can come to me with anything.

I cannot imagine how heartbreaking it would be not knowing where my children are and if they are safe.

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