You may be stressed and exhausted at times by the effort of parenting. But I can tell you with absolute certainty that there is no such thing as a bad child.
On Friday my daughter may have been “exited” from her class and sent to detention for the first time ever. Considering she lasted til year 10 struggling with undiagnosed dyslexia and inattentive type adhd before telling a teacher to piss off its rather safe to assume that there is more to the event than appears at first glance. In spite of her sisters pleas I again did not run to her rescue, schools have rules of conduct and she broke them. More the shame her teacher was not alert to the possibility that what she was dealing with was not just another belligerent moody teenager. Perhaps there would be fewer drop outs if teachers made a habit of looking beyond the surface.
What was actually at issue was communication. After multiple attempts by my eldest to have a question answered by her teacher with her teacher failing to comprehend exactly what was being asked and explaining something else instead my daughter had thrown her hands in the air resulting in the deleterious phrase. I have since emailed the schools welfare officer explaining what lay behind the Altercation, receiving assurances that communications will be addressed and hopefully improved. Unfortunately the experience has been mirrored by multiple students of her classes, it may simply be a case of not listening.
I have a 12yo with Bipolar disorder. That is exactly the only way to handle episodes that doesn’t actually make it worse.
Her step father grandmother and sisters all wage all out war. And seem to think I just let her off because I don’t respond during and instead at the time only offer options which would directly address the episode itself or. Invite her to chill for Cuddles with me rather than disciplining the behaviour.
It’s not deliberate it’s not manipulative it occurs when her meds start losing ground due to growth spurts or school hours have been more demanding on her. It’s burn out, it takes a lot of energy for her to function through a school week. Friday/Saturday is her recovery time that they keep trodding on by not respecting that she needs time to not be presentable by keeping to herself in her room.
They are however noticing that she is stepping away from them more and better managing her moods over all over time as this timely guidance and our discussions when she is calm is all contributing to Better self management of the disorder…… But apparently I’m still just letting her off.
I’m pretty sure life doesn’t come with a score card for punishment and reward rather we all journey through life learning how to make things work a little smoother.
Such outbursts and events are notorious for children being labelled as bad or trouble. We are lucky to have gotten through their education so far without them acquiring the title, which unfortunately is not common.
My siblings due to dyslexia were publicly shamed in front of their class as examples of stupid. They were labelled by their schools as trouble and bad children which is the more common outcome, fed by outbursts of frustration and anger when communication fails.
This can often carry on into adulthood with dyslexia, mental illness, and other challenges overrespresented in the criminal justice system, largely fuelled by shame.
Shame is a corrosive destructive force in the world, and an incredible obstacle to reform and prevention when such topics become taboo it prevents constructive discussion to develop means and processes to prevent the impact of shame populating our justice system.
This week and discussion with the owner of Partnerspeak it was very clear that they are burdened by shame. Crushed by it even. It’s not surprising at all they genuinely believe and have convinced themselves that no services exist to support them. And scream it in the face of the dozens I listed purely because they are adamant that those services are only for ‘this’ whatever ‘this’ may be whether family of inmates/offenders or actual rape victims. Without considering that they perhaps meet criteria to be supported by both services, which in fact they do.
I have been frustrated for decades by the hindrance shame presents to true prevention and the perception that ‘I’m not worthy for support’ and thus existing support services weren’t created to support people like me, in spite of the contrary being true.
So I have built a forum not to produce an echo chamber but the opposite in fact, to establish what supports exist and determine what is missing. A space to allow people to put on their gumboats and take a good old look at the things that bring shame that we can get our hands dirty to work towards solutions, public awareness and even prevention.
If you are prepared to join me, you are welcome. Let’s change the discussion and challenge shame in all its forms.