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teaching parent dilemma

(72 Posts)
illtrythis Tue 14-Jun-16 23:45:02

My husband is a teacher at my daughter's secondary school (she is in 1st year). We have come up against a dilemma. While we always encourage talking about problems and worries and want to keep our lines of communication as open as possible with our daughter, we are also aware that she may find it more difficult to speak to us about any concerns she might have about any of her friends, due to the duty of care that my husband has as a teacher.

The situation has come about because tonight she mentioned that a couple of her friends had confided to her (individually) that they had recently self-harmed. She says that she is pretty sure the school is aware and that they are ok now. Husband naturally feels duty-bound to report this but our daughter is desperate for him not to as she will have betrayed their trust. We are glad that she felt able to speak to us about this but are worried that she may never confide in us again, depending on how the school handles it.

How do any fellow teachers out there manage this dual role - of teacher and parent? Any advice very welcome.

elephantoverthehill Tue 14-Jun-16 23:51:56

Your husband is duty bound to report this to the safe guarding official in the school. There will be no come back on your daughter or DH. Just did the refresher course yesterday!

illtrythis Wed 15-Jun-16 00:30:55

But if the school aren't already on the case, how do they take it up without revealing their source?

illtrythis Wed 15-Jun-16 07:27:17

Morning bump..

NeckguardUnbespoke Wed 15-Jun-16 07:32:52

Your husband is duty bound to report this to the safe guarding official in the school.

Is that the case? Are you saying that the safeguarding duty extends to breaking confidences entrusted to you by your own children in your own house?

The daughter would have every right to never tell her father anything again, and if he "just follows orders" like that he clearly puts blind obedience to rules ahead of any sort of sane ethical framework.

illtrythis Wed 15-Jun-16 07:49:13

Exactly the problem..

DiggersRest Wed 15-Jun-16 07:53:25

I wouldn't break my dd confidence, he'll never get it back. My dm was always trustworthy with any of our gossip and as a result we told her everything (she admits now far too much!). I will be doing the same for my dd.

It doesn't help your dilemma sorry.

MigGril Wed 15-Jun-16 07:59:57

Is there not a way he can check with school that it has been dealt with, without betraying his daughter's confidence?

If he can be reassure school already has the matter in hand then he doesn't need to report it.

NeckguardUnbespoke Wed 15-Jun-16 08:21:59

So is the contention from the "report it" lobby that a teacher or social worker's own child reported, say, self-harming then they would without any compunction, not matter what promises they had made to their own child report it to their employer?

Because (a) I don't believe them and (b) if so, then they are working in a conscience-free zone. Teenagers should know this, to be clear that parents in certain occupations cannot be trusted to keep confidences.

unintendedcatlady Wed 15-Jun-16 08:30:37

At my school you can report safeguarding issues on an anonymous form if you feel necessary - post in the safeguarding officers pigeon hole. Are there any systems like this? He does have to report it though IMO, even in a difficult situation like this.

NeckguardUnbespoke Wed 15-Jun-16 08:36:49

He does have to report it though IMO

His daughter would have every right to feel completely betrayed, and to make sure that she tells her father no more than the time of day and whether it's raining.

And what will happen if he doesn't report it? How would anyone know?

This is the "safeguarding" of the madhouse. In order to secure a third-pary report to an organisation which can do very little, a parent will ensure that a child is placed at risk by now having no-one to talk to in confidence. If you cannot talk to your parents in confidence, just who the hell can you?

seventhgonickname Wed 15-Jun-16 09:03:25

As the mother of a girl who selfharmed I would hope a teacher could tell the school.I found out because the school informed me that it had been noticed in a perfect lesson.I noticed elastoplasts that were not ones I had bought so her friends knew.Our GP says it is rife amongst young girls at the moment.
If your husband did feel he could inform the school they will deal with if discretely.Difficult having to balance your daughter's trust against her friends safety.

rogueantimatter Wed 15-Jun-16 12:55:19

Isn't there a legal EU right to have respect for private family life? If your DH was legally obliged to report what your DD told him at home, outside of his work, in confidence wouldn't that be in breach of your family rights?

KERALA1 Wed 15-Jun-16 13:03:43

Sorry know unreasonable but detest the word "safeguarding" always said in such a smug way. It's the new "data protection".

My parents both teachers. Very hard. In this instance I would have felt betrayed if they reported a confidence and never told them anything again. That said I told my mother when a friend took an overdose even though it breached a confidence as I needed an adult to help which mum did so is a balance dependeing on circumstances.

IamCarcass Wed 15-Jun-16 13:12:39

I was in a similar situation. I just learnt never to tell my parents anything at all, Apr anything. Is his duty worth more than his daughters trust?
Id be inclined to let this situation go but explain to your daughter, in future that you will do your best to keep a confidence but add a disclaimer abt reporting if necessary. Thereby allowing to retain her trust but enabling your husband to do the right thing.

Balletgirlmum Wed 15-Jun-16 13:16:14

We have recently had this exact same issue (not sell harm but similar)

Dh made it clear atvthec start of the conversation that he had to report concerns & dd was happy with that. Her name will not be brought into anything.

CodyKing Wed 15-Jun-16 13:17:16

I think secondary schools are quite good at understanding the trust issue.

Your husband could report it to the form tutor to keep an eye on the girl - she may then 'spot' something and speak to the girl herself.

It doesn't have to be OP daughter said situation.

Balletgirlmum Wed 15-Jun-16 13:20:55

At dh's school they have regular meetings/briefings about concerns with children. It would be very difficult to do C through one of those where a child was being discussed & not mention relevant information if he knew it.

KERALA1 Wed 15-Jun-16 14:00:25

Frankly its unadulterated crap having your parents as teachers at a secondary school. My sister and I both hated it. We both were much lower key and kept our heads down during our school days than I think we would otherwise have been.

I would do quite alot to ensure that, if I were a teacher, I did not teach at my child's school. I can see no upside but a whole world of downside (not least social death).

Orac Wed 15-Jun-16 14:47:11

Ok you have to deal with this one.
I think your DD is old enough for a frank discussion about the ethics involved. You would want to do everything to keep the lines of communication open in future. I would suggest that you will always keep her confidences but she must choose whether or not to be open with her father who cannot make the same promise.

NeckguardUnbespoke Wed 15-Jun-16 14:48:37

I would suggest that you will always keep her confidences but she must choose whether or not to be open with her father who cannot make the same promise.

Why can't he? What will happen if he doesn't?

KERALA1 Wed 15-Jun-16 15:43:11

Its like a Stalinist state - informing the authorities what your children have told you in confidence.

rogueantimatter Wed 15-Jun-16 16:35:23

I agree and it would be different if this girl had said she was suicidal/schizophrenic/taking heroin IMO.

I'd advise your DD to encourage her friend to tell an adult herself. If her friend doesn't want to tell her parents perhaps your DD could offer to go with your friend to get help from the school pastoral staff.

illtrythis Wed 15-Jun-16 18:42:43

I'm still here reading your replies, thank you... Will catch up with hub this eve...

waterrat Wed 15-Jun-16 18:50:47

I think it's deeply wrong on many levels to betray your daughter who is already in a horrible position.

Do you want her to be ostracised because everybody knows she can't be trusted. Do you want her to stop telling you everything ?

Its so so important in the teenage years that your children feel they can be open with uou. I think you need to take a long view

Your daughter is entitled to have a relationship of confidence and trust with her own father as long as other people are not at severe risk of harm.

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