Friday 21 May 2021

Stock Photos and Hills to Die On.

To start with I'm very happy to see the upward number of professionals, practitioners and organisations that are raising the profile of children's violence to their parents and carers. That's good but I fear my inner pedant is struggling. It's perhaps petty or pick but I just feel really uncomfortable with the use of stock photos of angry children to illustrate or advertise some training or event. 

Yes, that really is the hill I'm prepared to die on. 

It's been winding me up for years! I've privately messaged organisation and laid out my rationale. The pictures of 'angry' teenagers or angry 'cute' kids are just not helpful. They place the issue squarely on children's shoulders and reinforce the lazy notions that many families fight to break through with professionals, family, friends and everyone they go to for help. Everyone I've contacted has got it and amended the publicity to show a broken window or some such neutral image than indicates violence rather than pinning the issue on some lazy image of a child. 

Does it matter? I'd say yes it really does. 

We need to constantly focus the message on the complexity of this issue and I've never spoken to family where the child was 'just' angry. There is always a complex interplay of experience, biology and systems that are unique and specific to that family. Of course there are themes and I'm not going to rehash that here but certainly to pin this on the chest of 'angry' kids is just not good enough. There's plenty of other images that can be used and I'm sure that I'm not the only person that feels this discomfort. 

The 'angry' child picture misses the mark, children are often acting out overwhelming anxiety, distress, frustration, rage, fear and anger. Frankly the kids in these pictures aren't even close. 

I don't want to point fingers or call people out, I just want us to demonstrate that we really get this, especially if you're going got be training people. Anyway, in the grand scheme of things it may be a little hill to die on but I genuinely believe that this stuff matters. 

Friday 14 May 2021

Adoption, recruitment, media messages and that #

‘Nearly half of the 2030 children currently waiting to find adoptive families are in sibling groups. On average, children who are in a sibling group wait 135 days longer to be placed than individual children.’

I've seen this written all over social media in the last few weeks in sponsored blogs and media clickbait. I get a strange feeling between righteous indignation and world weary resignation and consequently I’ve been keeping my proverbial social media head down. I don't want to have yet another tit for tat exchange where I try to add nuance to a determinedly un nuanced world. Or where we agree to a point of fervent zeal with nowhere to channel that insight or collective wisdom. 

It’s hard to discuss the current recruitment strategies in a way that reflect what I , and many of my peers, feel truly reflects all of the conflicting and overlapping issues. It’s easy to slip into embittered grizzled old adopter, activist or to speak but not speak out in plain language to be labelled a shill (I’ve been called that and to my shame had to google it). 

I am an adopter and it’s defined my adult life and I’m certainly not against adoption pre say. But, I do struggle with parts of it and would love to see effective reform. I'm not naive or stupid and appreciate that advertising can’t deal with nuance or subtleties and the advert headlines are fishing for interest as a start point. My hope in all of this is that it is a start point and that the complex, nuanced and difficult conversations that are needed as people approach applying to adopt are happening. 

Like the issue itself there's no easy resolution to this post, it just sort of hangs. Quite please I didn't use the #YouCanAdopt # once in this post. Or #ShouldYouAdopt.