Friday 7 August 2015

Naughty Child

I often ponder while riding my bike, running*, walking the dog or driving the car. I can get myself into quite a frenzy and often write imaginary blogs that cut deep into issues with razor sharp insight, whit and pith.
Sometimes these thoughts fester and brew into blogs. Mostly, I forget them or as I try and write them I realise my lack of knowledge and lack of ability to articulate my thoughts and  abandon them or realise that a 25 minute rant can be better expressed in a few words in another blog about something else. Or perhaps a limited to 140 characters on that Twitter with a picture of me in a hat.

I’ve been pondering mental ill health. Mine, my children’s and everybody else’s.
Considering my children I’ve made this shift from what you’d class as ‘bad behaviour’ to ‘mental ill health’. Reframing my thoughts and views can be the difference between coping or not, it helps me at least.

Living with and working with adults who are experiencing mental ill health can be extremely difficult and we have empathy compassion for all concerned. In no way do we project blame for the outworking of that mental ill health on the people around them. Nor do we ask them to put them on the naughty step if they don’t act ‘appropriately’

This just doesn’t seem to be the case for the parents and carers of children with mental ill health. They should control their children and if they appear to be ‘misbehaving’ then it’s the parents/carers fault. We’ve all heard a busybody explain that ‘What that child needs is boundaries, routine, a good nights sleep, ignoring, a short sharp shock and a smack on the bottom.’.

Everyone’s an expert.

But Supernanny would be brought to her knees with what many parents face. Logic and sense are not applicable. Behaviour modification techniques are just that they are sticking plasters on broken legs. The have some benefit but they are often only addressing symptoms not causes.  

Reframing takes the pressure away. My boundaries are flexible, my methods changeable and my job is to help keep us all safe.

Having said all that sometimes children are just naughty.**

As I said a bit of a ramble.

*Very limited pondering occurs during running, plenty of coughing and hacking does.

** I know, I know, ‘that was a naughty thing to do’ rather than ‘you are naughty, good for nothing, monster’. I’m a Social Worker for heavens sake this stuff has been drilled into me.


  1. Ur blog puts a grin on my face!!!!! Viva la revolution mrC keep ploughing and planting and eating and ploughing and planting and eating!!!!!!!!!🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌳🌳🌳🌳

  2. I am sure many adoptive parents and carers will endorse this experience. I think your strategy of reframing may will help. Although not being on the receiving end of misguided judgements would help more. Some people go further than this and refer to the effects of trauma as a psychological injury rather than mental illness.

    I think some people do not understand that the use of behaviour modification requires an established secure attachment relationship for those strategies to be consistently effective... making their 'advice' ineffective. I also think people find it hard to distinguish 'typical' children's behaviour from trauma influenced behaviour as in children that behaviour can sometimes look similar.

    In adults people tend to think 'something is wrong' when an adults behaviour is 'outside the norm'... (although when I worked with adults with Parkinson's Disease they were often upset by people mistaking the hand tremors and shuffling gait as alcohol intoxication....but I digress!).

    Being on the receiving end of judgements is another layer to the complexity that adoptive parents have to manage and is another reason why it is important for them to be surrounded by people who 'get it' and can affirm the strategies that adoptive parents have to use more creatively to help their children.

    Thanks for writing, interesting as always....nice to get the hat in the blog also!

    1. Thank you for your thoughts and insights, much appreciated. I'm sorry I didn't get back to you sooner but I've had trouble with my internet you know.

  3. Too right - "everyone is an expert" (not). I'm a teacher and the rubbish that some teachers come out with about "looked after children" sometimes makes me so cross!

  4. It's refreshing to read your post about coping as a parent. Challenging behaviour from my two often drives me batsoid, especially during the school holidays when there's not much respite, but worse is the judgement you get from others when you're trying to deal with it.

    1. It certainly feels like a kick in the guts to have the views of others thrown in our faces. Keep strong.