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How long will I be able to "protect" them?

(39 Posts)
MrsSnape Sat 02-Aug-08 20:35:31

I'm a single mum to two sons (aged 7 and 9). We live on a very rough council estate. I have always maintained that whilst we may be "poor" and live in a bad area my kids will not grow up with asbos and will make something of themselves. (I suppose all mothers say this!).

When DS1 was old enough to start school I delibrately bypassed our local school and got him in one further away (sorry to be non PC but - nicer selection of kids and parents).

Now at the ages of 9 and 7 it seems my kids are the only ones down the street who are not allowed to play out. I don't allow it because I don't want them mixing with the local kids (throwing stuff at cars, tresspassing in people's gardens, shouting stuff, learning "street" stuff...) as a result I think my kids are probably quite un-street-wise.

Anyway I've just been sat here thinking...and watching the other kids playing out (or hanging out). There is a 15 year old lad opposite with a can of lager in his hand and a cig in the other. The local 9 year olds are kicking footballs at each other calling each other "faggits" and "poofs" 9 year old is in bed with a book and my 7 year old is in bed dreaming up ways to save extra pocket money...

However I know I can't keep this up forever. One day they're going to want to do what the "Other" kids are doing...I think DS2 will be more likely to go off the rails at the earliest opportunity as he's already a handful at school...realistically, how long can I keep this protective bubble up?

I'm terrified of the kids going off the rails and ending up on the dole like everyone else around here sad

MrsSnape Sat 02-Aug-08 20:37:31

Just want to add, they do go outside blush they play in the back garden and I take them to park etc and they are in quite a lot of out-of-school activities...I'm not bringing up hermits! lol

TheQueenIsDead Sat 02-Aug-08 20:39:56

Can't you move?

Quattrocento Sat 02-Aug-08 20:41:00

It sounds like you are doing the right thing to me - well done for taking a harder route and not just going with the flow.

MrsSnape Sat 02-Aug-08 20:45:53

I will move asap. Unfortunately however most landlords won't take on housing benefit and I'm finding it hard to get work. I'm hoping that come september when the kids are back at school I can put 100% into finding work then a few months later we should be able to move.

TheQueenIsDead Sat 02-Aug-08 20:47:09

Move asap. You won't be able to keep them in forever. They could also become targets for the local kids because they're not allowed out and will be seen as 'weird'.

MrsSnape Sat 02-Aug-08 20:51:18

They already are targets. When ds1 puts the bin out they shout stuff to him etc. I just hate it around here, it annoys me so much.

MrsSnape Sat 02-Aug-08 20:52:03

btw, what age do they start wanting 'space' and when will they start wanting to go out and do their own thing?

Cammelia Sat 02-Aug-08 20:55:24

You must move MrsSnape, what about a job which provides accommodation?

MrsSnape Sat 02-Aug-08 21:02:49

I have no experience sad I'm applying to all the big supermarkets towards the end of the summer holidays and I apply to quite a few NHS jobs that come up. Am also going to register with agencies before september.

suwoo Sat 02-Aug-08 21:06:25

Its not that easy to move though is it?? Some people on here need to be more realistic. If mrsS is on benefits, a lot of landlords in "nicer areas" will not accept them as tenants. I feel for you MrsS and I hope you are able to move soon. Carry on doing a fantastic job with your two boys.

goodasgold Sat 02-Aug-08 21:09:28

I feel for you, When my dd was little we had to move somewhere that sounds similar.

I have found that by being friendly with people that they are not as bad as they look. You will feel happier if when your eldest child wants more independence if people who live near you know him and who he is allowed to play with and where he is allowed to go.

These children will probably go to secondary school with him, maybe better to start getting to know them, there could well be a few that you really can't stand, but you don't really know them as people yet.

There are probably some little boys at Eton that call each other faggots, and probably some 15 years olds that drink lager and smoke cigarettes.

Your childrens primary influence will be you, and your aspirations are likely to become theirs.

Best of luck with trying to find work and move.

TheProvincialLady Sat 02-Aug-08 21:16:05

Moving would be the best option if it can be done. But if not, you don't necessarily have to worry. I lived on a rough council estate as a teenager and attended a different school from everyone else there (a grammar school - no one else in my area passed the 11+ it seems). I just wasn't interested in doing what the local teenagers were doing, as I had friends who were more like me - into reading and socialing quietly in each other's houses. I thought the locals were rough as hell and was a total snob about it. They felt the same way about me and I did come in for a fair amount of name calling and got pushed about once or twice - very easy as I was tiny - but it didn't blight my life.

My brother on the other hand, despite going to the same school, hung out with the locals and got into a lot of trouble. He had a very rocky few years but eventually decided to move towns altogether as soon as he could, to get away from them. He still has issues with drugs and alcohol but he would have big problems no matter who he was friends with IMO, because of our childhood background.

What I am saying is that if your boys have a happy, stable childhood and lots of decent friends, they will be less interested in the doings of the local yobs. They will probably learn like me to keep out of their way as much as possible and avoid confrontation. You are doing the best you can for them and they will know that.

MrsSnape Sat 02-Aug-08 21:25:14

I do see what you're saying goodasgold but they won't be going to the local secondary. Its a complete hell-hole and I'd honestly rather go to prison than spend every day wondering if they're ok in that kind of environment. If we have not moved into a better catchment area by time ds1 starts secondary, he'll be home-schooled.

I do think some of it comes down to personality, DS1 probably wouldn't entertain the locals no matter what, he has a very sensible head and is more interesting in his computer than being out but DS2 I do worry about, he's a live wire.

heavy Sat 02-Aug-08 21:31:30

is there something like cubs they could go to that would get them to meet some other kids and give them some freedom from home in a safe environment?

MrsSnape Sat 02-Aug-08 21:37:19

yes DS2 does beavers and ds1 does karate and is also hoping to join army cadets in the future and join a music youth club (like rock band project thing) when he's a bit older.

goodasgold Sat 02-Aug-08 21:56:19

MrsSnape I honestly believe that when children have at least one adult who is interested in their lives that they will be fine in the long run.

We managed to move to a nicer road by working hard, but my dd still goes to the same school, and I think this may benefit her, and me when she is in secondary school. I am not scared of the sort of people you describe. I actually kind of miss them now that we are being judged constantly. Preferred being the judge to others.

In our old flat I heard my neighbours two little boys come home from time at their dads asking their mum which one she preferred. She said 'I love you ds1, I love you ds2. I love you both the same. Now fuck off'

HonoriaGlossop Sat 02-Aug-08 22:27:04

I think you might try trusting them more. I know times have changed but my brother and I were brought up in an inner city council estate - and we played out, etc. Not ALL the kids will be as rough as them to find the ok ones, because your kids are nice kids and won't want to be with the real ASBOs. We steered clear of the really scary kids grin

It is a real life skill to make your way like this and mix with everybody (almost!)

Your kids will be fine because they'll still have your support, and your boundaries, and your high aspirations for them.

Why not give it a go and see how they get on, maybe one night a week then build up if they do ok?

Good luck with the job, moving etc. And good for you for how you are bringing them up smile

KatieDD Sat 02-Aug-08 23:28:49

HG I totally disagree, they can learn to mix with everyone later, right here and right nnow I think the OP has done a brilliant job so far and moving seems like the best bet.
I moved as a single parent into a lovely house in a nice area and didn't tell the landlord I was a single mum getting housing benefit, it gets paid to you not them anyway so why do they need to know ?

expatinscotland Sat 02-Aug-08 23:30:37


No matter how, even if it means borrowing money or living in a caravan in the middle of nowhere.

I have lived where you are now.

I will gladly live in a yurt before doing that again.

LuckySalem Sat 02-Aug-08 23:37:52

MrsS - You could be writing for me except for kids ages. DD is 6 months and we constantly worry about moving before she is old enough to "want" to start hanging with the kids around here.

For example - the other day (can't remember which now lol) I had to send 2 boys out of my yard. Seems innocent enough ye? however I also had to tell them to put down the TV they were trying to take with them!!
Yes yes, TV was going to the skip and shouldn't have been in the yard blah blah blah BUT the backyard is locked (since we got robbed last year) and the kids had had to climb over the gate and were going to pass said TV back over fence to 2 other boys who were waiting.

Also - Woman across the parking bit has had a brick chucked at her window and bricks put through her porch ceiling. Not to mention that we now have squatters in a couple of the houses that have been repossesed in the current credit crunch... hmm

Unfortunatly due to said credit crunch we can't move yet as house wouldn't raise enough to cover mortgage. So we've got to wait.

MrsS I 2nd all ideas of getting the hell out of there and hope you can do it soon. Until then try not to force your plans on to the kids as they may want to rebel.

iarel Sat 02-Aug-08 23:38:46

is it possible to do a home swap with someone from a differnet housing association?

KatieDD Sun 03-Aug-08 10:08:59

Why the hell would you buy a house in that area Lucky ? It's bad enough renting, you will be there a while if you're waiting for house prices to recover, they are talking 2013 at the earliest, i'd be handing the keys back to the bank now.

LuckySalem Sun 03-Aug-08 10:30:07

We bought the house as a do-er up-er in order to get some money for a better house but we hadn't finished it by the time the credit crunch started. So now we're just making do.

KatieDD Sun 03-Aug-08 10:41:41

I'd get it on the market quick you never know somebody might take it off your hands.

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