Thursday, 14 April 2011

Sometimes I think they don't deserve Children!

I was going to save this for Storytelling Sunday but I decided I was too angry and it would be a serious post and I want to try and keep the Storytelling Sunday blogs a bit lighter than this. First some background info so you can see that I am not totally talking out of my backside about childcare and how parents affect their children's lives. I did a two year Preliminary Certificate in Social Care and was fortunate enough to get a high enough grade to go on to start a Diploma in Social Work. I didn't complete the DipSW because I developed ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) which stole 8 years of my life. However, my field of interest was childcare and within that field I was interested mostly in pre-teens and teenagers. I have continued to maitain that interest and have read widely on the subject and discussed it with a family member who is a psychiatrist and child psychologist. I have been dealing with a teenager who has left home to get away from an abusive step father. Now she is learning to cope with the fact that her mother has chosen to believe him and not her and her brother has threatened to beat her up if he sees her because of the lies that have been told about her. I am discovering that this teenager has few social skills, has no idea how to look after herself; didn't own a toothbrush and still doesn't know how to use it properly even though I have done my best to explain without explaining - maintaining the dignity while educating is such a slow process. I wonder why it is necessary for any 18 year old to have to be taught how to hold a knife and fork and how to sit at a table and eat, the first time she said "we usually have our food on our laps in front of the TV" Well NOT in this house we don't! How can anyone who is a parent not teach their child simple hygiene? cleanse your skin of make-up before you go to bed. Wear clean knickers every day incase you get knocked down by a bus bring your dirty clothes downstairs for me to wash them. She expects to be told off or given a row about everything and, therefore, lies or makes excuses about why she hasn't done what was asked. I reached the point, when I started writing this, where I was ready to ask Mr M to take me to the parents house so I could sock them both on the nose but a minor trauma at my daughter's house has restored my sense of proportion - and my sense of humour - and I can see that I will prevail. It saddens me that in this time when knowledge and information are available at the click of a mouse there should still be families where children do not have any chance of escaping the ignorance of their parents. I am sorry to have to admit that the way our education system is fixated on academic excellence does not bode well for the children that are not intellectually capable of academic study. There used to be "technical" colleges and schools where those people who didn't do well at English or Maths or languages or 'the humanities' could learn a skill and find employment. It used to be accepted that some people were clever and most of us were just average. We didn't mind being average and not winning prizes as long as we could get a job and earn a bit of money. These days it seems as though you can't even work in a shop without needing something called an NVQ. I am wandering slightly off my topic here, what I am trying to get to is that if parents don't know how to bring up children how the hell can we expect those children to learn how to live with others and bring up their own children? Education has to start somewhere and it should be at home. A child spends the first few years mostly with their mother so why can't there be some sort of education for pregnant women that starts as soon as the pregnancy is confirmed. Simple things like sterilising bottles and the importance of disposing of the contents of nappies properly. How to wash clothes so they are clean and safe for babies to be near. The importance of personal hygiene and how changing underwear every day keeps you healthy. I do seem to be banging on about knickers a lot. The importance of language skills and how to feed a child with healthy food and how to bloody cook it! How does one break that cycle of ignorance? with education of course! How does one educate a parent that is 'doing this just like my mother did, and I'm alright'? Beats me. I know this is a conundrum that social services, the health service, the prison service and lots of other bodies would give their eye teeth to solve. I just want to ease the sadness of an 18 year old that thinks her mother has stopped loving her and who doesn't have the social skills or the reasoning to work out a way to cope.

5 comments:

tidbitsandtreasures2011 said...

You've really tagged a host of problems here. I especially agree with you about vocational and technical education. As you say, not everyone has the aptitude or interest for a profession that requires a college degree. Further, our society doesn't need everyone to be college educated. However, we do need competent builders, plumbers, mechanics, etc., who have enough education to run their businesses successfully.

As slow as the process is, it looks like you are this young woman's best hope for a better future. She's lucky to have found you.

Sian said...

I couldn't agree more - I have psychologists and teachers in my family and I imagine some of our conversations are very similar to your own.

And I too think this teenager has found a powerful advocate and loving adult to help her.

Sian said...

ps. I loved your comment about the karma pixies on my blog last Saturday - it's ranking up there among my alltime fav. comments

Dawn said...

I can sympathize completely, my parents are foster carers and had a similar experience of children coming to them with little self help skils and understanding of basic hygiene. This young lady is very lucky to have you. Stick with it!

humel said...

How desperately sad - I'm glad that she has you there for her and that through you she will have a chance xx