So, last night myself and a colleague restrained Mo in a variety of different holds for nearly two hours. Mo kept hurting us – biting, spitting, head butting, punching and on two separate occasions kicked my colleague, Jane, in the crotch. Sometimes I held him on my own. This is considered poor practice but we had other children to look after who are all capable of kicking off if they feel ignored. The child in question wanted to be held as his behaviour, and what he said, indicated.
I went home at 2.30am and came back at 8am. Mo woke in a similar frame of mind and behaved in the same way. I had to hold him on my own using the much maligned “front ground recovery” hold. Doing this on your own is very poor practice indeed, although in reality it was entirely safe, certainly safer than letting him attack people, which would be in no-ones interests, least of all his.
More staff you say? who is going to pay for them? And does anyone really think it is in these children’s interests to have lots of adults milling around just in case it “kicks off”? We are trying to create as ordinary environment as possible. Call the police? Yes let’s criminalise disturbed and vulnerable children early. And, of course, the police wouldn’t hold children on the ground would they? Oh, hang on…yes they would. And with a great deal more force than I use.
I care deeply about the children I look after but they can be extremely violent and want to harm. In the short term other people have a right to protect themselves and others. In the longer term it is without doubt of therapeutic value to the children to know their anger and violent behaviour can be confronted, withstood and contained.