Obviously, as a professional, I have had to write stuff about the children I look after. In fact, I have done so everyday of my working life for the past 12 years. This can be anything from what they have had to eat, daily observations and phone calls with parents to reports for LAC reviews and so on.
Now, of course, everything I write is meant to be “objective” and “non-judgemental” and so on. But, of course, that isn’t really what happens – short of straightforward statements of fact such as: “he watched a film on TV” everything is coloured by how I experience the child or young person, and what I think is happening for him or her (in some reports I will be discussing their internal emotional world as much as their outward behaviour). This will be influenced by my experience, knowledge, training, world view and personal insight. It is certainly, to a large degree, subjective.
OK…let me be clear from the get go…I’m pretty jaded and did not expect to be shocked by the content of last night’s Panorama: Teenage Prison Abuse – but I was…
I thought I would see some excessive and inappropriate use of restraint, some swearing at the kids and that kind of thing. I did not expect to see staff openly engaging in a culture of thuggery and sadism. It was appalling, cruel, disturbing, a genuine outrage and so on and so forth.
So…David Cameron plans to introduce parenting classes (actually he is reintroducing the idea – there was little uptake before). He thinks they should be “the norm” and that we all need help. Well…I agree with him. I thought I would make that clear because I am about to make a series of caveats and if you aren’t paying attention you might get the impression I don’t agree with him at all.
Firstly, choose your particular cup of tea: neuroscience? clinical psychology? psychoanalysis? common sense? trite statements of self-evident fact? Well, all of these will tell you that ages 0-3-years-old, and how a child is looked after during that time, are the most important by far when it come to influencing how a human being will relate to the world around them and the people in it. Essentially, what happens to you during those years will go a long way to deciding whether you give a fuck about other people and whether you believe they give a fuck about you.
I guess the question above can have both an emotional and literal meaning. All I can say is I stopped blogging for a while because life became difficult…well…even more difficult. Suffice to say I no longer work at the children’s home my previous blogs related to. I work at a much more “bulk standard” one. It is not very good. I will write about it soon enough.