I Am Just a Mum
I’m just a Mum but,
I see the education system is flawed in so so many ways. ..
Not enough help for struggling children. SEN children. Anxious Children. Children that suffer separation anxiety. Basically any child that doesn’t ‘tick all the boxes’ and make life easy for the system.
We are then pressured to keep taking them to the one place they are not coping or ‘we’ll get fined’ ‘get in trouble’. I’d ring up in tears begging for help .. Telling them my daughter was refusing school and why etc but their reply ‘we want her in tomorrow’ yet what was going to be different about tomorrow when they did nothing to help?
We had fab pastoral care in the first couple of months of secondary school as we’d asked for help prior to her starting but as the days went on their patience ran out and the seemed to feel it was all in my head, she put it on, she’d just need to move forward and get on like others did…. That really helps an anxious child right? Lol … they just didn’t get it.
I am reading of so so many parents who, in the end, feel cornered to take their children out of the system for their safety as they are so concerned for their mental health yet the government (or some of them) seem concerned so many are home educating and feel that is a ‘safe guarding issue’. It’s laughable really when a lot of the issues are in their domain but pass the buck and blame the one person who really does have that child’s best interests at heart ‘the parent’ ‘the mum’ ‘the dad’
Even the Royals are the mental health band wagon. But are we are ‘Mums and Dads’ seeing any benefit from this? Is it filtering down to our children? I don’t think it is…
How did it all start for us? My daughter was happy and healthy without a care in the world until she started nursery school. I wasn’t going to send her as I worked at home and she played while I worked etc but the government funded a few hours a week for children 3 plus at that time. You felt it was pushed at you. Your child MUST socialise. So she went to nursery. I was happy to just have the 5 hours free but nope she ‘needed’ daily stimulation she they booked for 3 mornings. She didn’t settle well she’d make herself sick to come home. One day they gave her a bucket and said there you go be sick!! Her anxiety escalated. Yet I carried on as felt ‘I was doing the right thing’ I was so so wrong looking back. I’m just a Mum though I make mistakes.
Then came infant school. My daughter was the only one that cried most mornings. I’d go in most days. You could feel each teacher’s eyes rolling each time I went in. But she couldn’t be off you see as wasn’t ill and I’d get in trouble if she was off.
Then came junior school. Same issues. Note just how much help I got….. zero….. zilch
Hit year 6 and all you would get was ‘she just needs to distract herself when she feels that way’ this is what she’d be told in class. Distract yourself. Not we’ll distract her and take her mind off it. She must distract herself. I wasn’t allowed in to speak to the teachers like before. They needed her to get used to it ready for senior school. I went to see the head. My poor daughter wasn’t eating or sleeping properly. I was made to feel 2 inches tall and told to give her ‘snore and peace’ herbal tea and of course, she must come in or I’d get in trouble….
Her anxiety grew arms and legs in year 6. It was absolutely awful we’d be up most of the night yet dragging into school still as couldn’t be late. We were all worn out
Year 7 – I went in and spoke to the school prior to her starting. They were so understanding and I really thought we’d get somewhere. They took her to lessons and helped her when they could. She was still terrible. Up most nights. Eating like a bird as her anxiety made her feel sick. She then started to be sick on the way to school too . It was awful. I was sleeping on her bedroom floor to try to reassure her and just to get a couple of hours sleep.
Then her periods started. It freaked her out as she was already in meltdown mentally at school. We got a toilet pass. We were lucky to get that (rollseyes) yet guess who had to go in sooooooooooooo many times as some teachers weren’t allowing her to go….. yet it still continued to happen. Charlie had a period every two weeks, heavy and clotted. She was a state. Went to the doctors. Explained how anxious she was, what a state she was in etc…. did they help me? NOPE I was told its all normal and will sort itself out…..
I sought private help. Charlie had 3 sessions on skype with Dawn who is a cognitive hypnotherapist. She began to cope a little better. It wasn’t instant. It wasn’t a magic wand but she began to very very slowly cope a bit better with life.
I told school we were getting help but it would take time. I needed their help too. I had meeting after meeting at school. In fact I really laid down how I felt in June 2016 and was given so much reassurance I really felt things would improve after all they were going to put lots of things in place for Charlie so we went in after half term expecting all these things in place…. NOT ONE THING HAD BEEN DONE. So we fought all week. We got to Friday and Charlie came out of school blood having leaked all over her trousers. Floods of tears. She’d ask to go to the toilet as she NEEDED to but was humiliated. The male teacher shouted at her asking why she should go and others can’t. She sat at the back quietly terrified and couldn’t answer and he didn’t let her go. That was her last day of school Friday 11th June, 2016. I never sent her back. They were astounded. They’d done sooooooo much to help us and really felt the meeting went so well so were disappointed that I had chosen to home educate her…….
Then the LA ring up…. All they were worried about is how Charlie would socialise……. I mean one cannot make a friend out of school can one? I mean school supports our mental health and helps us to make friends doesn’t it? Lol what do I know ‘I’m just a Mum’….. They were happy with her learning and how she’d be taught English, Maths etc but socialisation… lol. To be fair after sending them my initial informal report they have been great and can see how well Charlie is getting on and how much happier she is.. at this time I wrote a piece about socialisation as I was so sick of being asked about it I’ll add that in here now
“What about socialisation?
How does one define socialisation? Do kids really socialise at school? It’s hardly one big party is it? Do we, as adults, socialise with 33 other adults our own age, 29 of which we probably can’t stand? Possibly 31 of…. Forced association doesn’t add up socialisation… Food for thought?
I get sick of being asked this…. Fed up of people saying it. No, home educated children aren’t weird, yes they can hold an adult conversation, they can mix with other kids/teens/adults, if anything Charlie is more ‘sociable’ now than she ever was at school because like adults she can chose who she interacts with. She chooses people she likes, people who have the same interests as she does, people who genuinely get on with her.
People seem to have this mental block about it all. How many teachers have shouted at a class of 30+ kids ‘you are not here to socialise’! Do kids socialise with teachers then? Does just listening to teachers teach them how to cope in the world? Not allowed to talk in lessons anyway, two to three minutes between classes no chance to socialise. Break and lunchtime and walking to school yep I’ll give you that BUT again our kids tend to stick to the same group of friends that yep they can still socialise with when they are home schooled because they are TRUE friends. Friends that want to keep in touch. Aren’t we as parents capable of teaching them how to cope in the world? Of course we are! We love our children , and always have their best interests at heart and know what they can and can’t cope with. We are totally capable of bringing up well adjusted well rounded kids.
Many teens that are struggling in schools are placed in quiet rooms on a pc all day, bums on seats for attendance, not working on the same work as their peers, and spending most of the day alone, this is not socialising. ( I am not school bashing, or teacher bashing. I know some simply amazing teachers who I have a lot of respect for – I am simply putting up this post to clear up a few things)
As an adult we chose our friends. We socialise in many ways in cafés, shops, clubs, shops, with neighbours. Socialisation occurs every time we step outside the house. Everytime we open the front door. School socialising bears no resemblance to the real world. As adults we chose who we spend time with, similar interests, kids same age etc etc. We do not just socialise with others our own age or gender. Socialising is simply interaction with others. We do that too….
We have found there are much richer social opportunities now that we are home educating. We are not saying that home education is for everyone. We never thought we’d find ourselves in this position but for us the ‘system’ let us down, we really didn’t feel there were any more options as Charlie’s mental health mattered more to us than being what is considered ‘normal’ and going to school every day. We are still normal. We’ve had a tough year but we are still Jackie and Charlie. We are still the same people, just a lot less stressed and A LOT happier. Charlie socialises more now than she ever did all the way through school because she is happier and more confident. At school she was so severely shut down with anxiety that she hardly went out or saw anyone. Now she regularly meets up with her friends, they go swimming, spend the day together etc and all because they really want to. Lots of giggles and fun. I say quality not quantity. There is no peer pressure at home and she’s allowed to slow down and grow up at her own pace gaining confidence one day at a time one step at a time.
So please respect our decision, just as we respect yours. Support us. Be happy for us and simply Love us for who we are not what you feel we ‘should be’.
loads of love
Jackie and Charlie xxxxx
We never did get any help from the ‘system’ we’ve worked our way through it. We tried homeopathy, mindfulness, relax cd’s, cognitive hypnotherapy etc etc. I spent hours googling ideas to help with anxiety. There had to be an answer. We were all so stressed. So tired. We just didn’t know what to do to help. The meltdowns were daily. She just couldn’t cope. We just couldn’t cope. Nobody understood us. Nobody understood her. Nobody could help. It was like a rollercoaster that you couldn’t get off. We just wanted our happy little girl back. I was terrified she’d do something ‘silly’ as I’d call it then. It wasn’t silly at all but you know what I mean. I began to fear what was to come. We took baby steps. I may be ‘just a Mum’ but Mum’s know what is best for their children. Mum’s have that patience to hold their hand through the hard times. To stick with them when times are hard. To sleep on their bedroom floor and cuddle them when they can’t stop crying and are in an anxiety attack and don’t really know why they are they just are. Mum’s keep trying because its what we do.
Charlie is now a healthy, happy, smilie teenager who is bubbling with confidence. She loves her life. She’s happy. Her mental health is healed but what do I know ‘I’m just a Mum’……