Monday, 1 December 2008

'At least he's got freedom now'

During the weeks that I attempted to work with 'come in No 1 - you're sacked' I must admit she came up with a few classic one liners. 'At least he's got freedom now' she said at the top of my stairs on her way out in front of my mum and aunt who actually couldn't believe what they were hearing.

This comment completely epitomises the differences in how I view a child should be cared for and the views of the social workers I have met to date. Obviously I can only talk about the ones I have met, I am waiting for one that may know the definition of common sense and reasoning and be able to apply it to their working day.

I believe my son should be part of his family, doing the day to day things a family does, trips to the zoo, swimming, the park and beach etc. Yes there are boring bits, but family life is about the mundane side of life as well as fun. I believe children should be taught to look after themselves to a certain extent and by that I mean my 16 year old daughter will occasionally cook a simple dinner, help tidy up, hoover - if they don't get taught things like this and have some sort of responsibilty what hope will they have when they leave home. I have also found out how awful I am in allowing a child to get a bowl of cereal all by themselves at the age of 12 according to come in No 1 you're sacked. I also encourage them to to do their best at school and to be proud of what they achieve how ever small. I have always taught them to be polite and that manners will get them long way in life.

The current living situation is quite honestly wrong for my son. They have placed him with people who spend alot of the time out 'socialising'. Most of the time they do not know where he is, some time he's here but they do not know. I'll explain the background to this situation at a later date, but for now I have expressed my extreme concerns about his safety and well-being whilst in the'care' of these people both verbally and in writing. What I now see is my son turning from a silly little boy into a criminal, all thanks to the social services. Since April he's had more than 30 detentions, been suspended from school, interviewed by police 4 times and we've even had the delight of a trip to the Parish Hall. He's being allowed to roam the streets late at night, once he was seen out at at 01.45am, I've caught him out smoking. He's been drinking alcohol, you name it I think he's probably done it.

I have lost count of the times I have told social workers this and many more things which can be proved - do they care, absolutely not.

I would like to know if it's just us or is it wrong and negligent of people to allow a child to be wondering around the streets in this manner - a trip to the cinema with friends ok - but getting up to no good is very worryingly wrong. I have told the social services that they are not doing a very good job of keeping my son out of harms way. They obviously think they are doing a fantastic job as they will not let him come home. At this rate I ll soon be able to tell you if they have really got rid of the Grand Prix system at Greenfields.

To say I find this frustrating would be an extreme understatement.

'See where uncontrolled freedom takes the child', I have told the SS countless times that he is a child that cannot handle freedom, his behaviour spirals out of control and back in April, I said this along with 'if he's made to stay where he is he will be in Greenfields by Christmas'. Did they listen - no, I'm just his mother what do I know. Actually I know alot more than they do in managing his behaviour.


Anonymous said...

I'm speculating.....I regret its long.
Its quite likely I'm way off track.

Social Service first picked up on your son as a result of the incident (post- racist attack) and the subsequent allegations. Your son was probably feeling bitter towards your partner at the time. There was possibly something else (I expect quite trivial) that was bothering him- it acted as the pivitol trigger- be it the amount of time he's allowed on the computer, or Snow Hill being out of bounds on a Friday night or whatever.....
With his pride uppermost, he was given the chance to extend this new (albeit temporary) arrangement away from home. MORE big news for his mates at school tomorrow. And expecting he gets his Friday night too, he agrees and says more or less what you are not hoping him to say- the Social Services of course, don't mind what he says. They will inevitably take it at face value. And that's not saying he is fibbing either, its just his interpretation will inevitably have much more sway than yours.
So he gets placed with a foster family who feel sorry for him, take the soft approach and are not wishing to draw up too many rules. Meanwhile he discovers a new level of freedom, he is special now, invinciple, no one can touch him. Everyone rallies around him. What he says is important, everyone now listens. This guy is powerful. He now wanders around the streets and breaks his previous boundaries. New territory is always interesting to begin with.
When asked about returning home, he doesn't want to back track, remember his pride is uppermost. Because last time he said no, he is obliged by his pride to follow this up the next time he is asked. He is now a young person with a ticket to do what he wants. He has been testing and tasting everthing - late nights in alley ways, hanging about with his mates, and now on the scene with new, bigger braver more bravado people etc. Some may smoke, drink or take drugs..... whatever. Compared to his original mates, before he was bound by similar limitations as they were, now he is different. He's cool, he knows it, they know it.
Young people do all eventually turn around and go home to bed. But always very reluctantly- its a bravado thing. Many go long past their curfews but that's part of peer pressure to push limits. To stay up late, to do things you know you shouldn't do. Its an experimental discovery phase.
Think about the contrast from when he was living with you. Presumably you let him go out but not on every request because who, where, why, school the next day etc. etc. all determined if, and for how long he may be allowed out. Now, his mates look up to him. He can legitimately wade through the barriers they all aspire to. He knows it, they know it. Through his mates eyes, he's got it all. He is someone to be gealous about, they will even want to be him. But deep deep deep down they don't. And deep deep deep down, your son wants to come home and be 'normal' again like them. But bravado gets in the way. And with his pride still uppermost, the cycle continues, the pranks get bigger, the risks higher and so on.

This may all be wrong. As I said, its just speculation.

"At least he's got his freedom now" least suggests that you (and your partner) were really tough on him- never allowing him out, not allowing him a similar level of freedom compared with his peer group?
Is there any truth in this? I am wondering how much freedom you allowed him before this unfortunate episode happened, i.e. does the wording 'at least' actually apply? 'At least' implies that you and your partner have poor parenting skills and flawed judgments. You write that he can not handle freedom and that his behavior can spiral out of control. Recent evidence suggests you were right to say that. I suspect you were both doing a great job of bringing him up before that day and the best place for him would be back at home. Getting him back though is going to be challenging.
I wish you the very best of luck. One Day, you will get what you want.

One Day said...

Hi, thank you for your reply and you have almost hit the nail on the head. My son did infact invent a few extra details at the beginning to the actual incident, I know this as he told a few different versions to different people and hence the social services became involved. As for letting him out, when he asked and was going out to a place with friends eg youth club, cinema etc that's fine by us and we arrange the time he has to be back for. What I don't agree in is him hanging around the streets with nothing to do as one thing leads to another and trouble begins. Once you become known to the police it is a hard sitution to get out of unless your behaviour changes - that goes for adults as well as children. I just feel he should be focused on some more of the good stuff and his energy channelled in a different way. His childhood has been stolen now and his innocence gone for good - is that good for someone so young?

The social worker who said that said many things to bully and intimidate me and quite frankly I think she enjoyed how she can abuse her power to destroy people.

I fully agree the times ahead will be more challenging than they should have ever been. I feel totally helpless as I watch and can do nothing to change his life for the better at the moment.

There was two other issues at the time of the incident - he was grounded from youth club the following night as he was half an hour late the previous week, and that night he had stolen money from my purse, so there was other things too. He knew the day he went into school (and didn't return) that I wanted to speak to him about this when he got home.

Anonymous said...

All you want is your family together again and the social worker says 'you can't have what you want.' If someone took my children away and said that, my heart would stop forever.
Another time the social worker says that you never gave your son any freedom and yet you allowed him to youth club, the cinema and probably other places too. Social Services have been humiliating, hostile, hurtful and some might even say harmful to all your family including your mother. No wonder social services so often have a bad name.
How can you sleep at night with that going on? I know I couldn't. Good luck to you and your family. I will pray that you get him home in the end.

One Day said...

Thank you I appreciate your comment. How can I sleep at night? - Answer is, I don't.