I didn't anticipate the reaction people had to my last blog. I'd written it in a fit of pique after what is becoming a regular bust up at the weekends. The usual argy bargy leading us down a path we all regret. I spewed it into the drafts folder of my blog account and laughed to Mrs C that I'd just written a blog I couldn't publish.
She read it, insisted and after some thoughtful editing I posted it.*
Before I'd even Tweeted that I'd posted it or linked it up I started to get a few notifications, initially telling me to tweet a link then, after posting, the few became a torrent. Conversations snowballed and before I knew it I had only a thin grasp of what was going on. I was included in conversations that spiralled around the subject of holding, restraint, Social Workers and child violence.
Hundreds of notifications universally positive** and thankfully none of a sympathetic 'ah, hun you ok' type. Comments coming thick and fast all expressing the varied approaches and policies that Foster Carers, Social Workers, Therapists and Local Authorities had.
Parents and carers, some behind veils of anonymity, talked of holding their children to keep families safe without permission from the powers that be. Others told of pragmatic advice to just do it. Others of being instructed to not do it in any circumstance.
Encouragingly there were stories of people finding support and training, enabling them to therapeutically protect themselves and their child. Knowledge of de escalation techniques, backed up by sensitive and proven methods of control, safe holding.
Helping children to keep their inside and outside worlds safe.
Helping children and parents regulate.
Helping families to stay together.
Trying to make sense of it now I believe the crux of the issue remains that the risk of not using safe holding to keep my child, and others, safe is lesser than the risk of letting the behaviour run its course.
Professionals need to have a nuanced and long sighted perspective. Weighing cost and risk now against the potential long term consequences for parents and children. And dare I say it the stability of the family unit.
Amongst the notifications were some quiet voices, messages from scared, weary parents not knowing where to turn. Trapped between the policy decisions, short sighted risk aversion and the violence they were living with. People struggling not knowing where to turn.
Distressing to hear, not knowing how to affect actual help from a virtual place. Some still lingering with me now.
Was this just a Twitter storm in a teacup one weekend in March? Others have blogged, written and Tweeted before so I don't know. In the midsts of the notifications a swell of proposed actions was suggested, a gathering of voices to raise speak out and make this plight known, a 'flash mob' of blogs, or 'blog bomb', a gathering of experience and knowledge.
All to try and affect a change to a more informed model of practice for professionals, empowering, equipping and enabling the many carers and parents who live and love children who sometimes are unable to control their hands and feet.
So watch this space.
If you are struggling and are looking for support or advice I can recommend
The Open Nest who are able to offer advice, insight and support
or DM me on Twitter if you want or through the blog.
*I took out the sweary words and toned down my critical tone (come on I have my HCPC registration to think of).
** one comment accused me of being an angry foster parent, I invited them to look closer. They did and bravely apologised.