Not sure if it’s work or kids, or both.
My work calendar has blown out to insane proportions. I had to reschedule a meeting and, looking through the whole week next week, was dismayed to find out that I had two, one hour spots left in the whole week. Here is a snap shot of the last month of my working life. One kid on his 15th school (he’s 13), one kid who has 15 “stakeholders” at his monthly review meetings, one kid who smashed 15 holes in our whiteboard with a chair, one kid plays Call of Duty for 15 hours straight and then turns up to school sculling Red Bull and one kid who sneaks away from home down to the local swimming hole (a disused open cut mine filled with skanky water) to leap off a 15 meter cliff into the murky unknown below.
There is a bit of a theme with these kids. I almost never meet Dad. Sometimes I do, yes, I must be honest, but mostly not. And when I meet Mum, it’s either a wild, desperate fire cracker who has been horribly judged as a Mum, mistreated and disrespected all her life, or a half empty shell of a woman, so tired, traumatised and hopeless that she doesn’t even raise an eyebrow when she sees the classroom that her 9 year old son has just destroyed. When I start getting to know her, chatting over a coffee, asking the right (but very unpleasant) questions, here is what I find: she’s alone, she’s disconnected from her family, she probably had post natal depression and nobody noticed (not even her), she had personal or family trauma to deal with while being pregnant and/or while the child was a baby and drugs, alcohol, crime or violence were involved by someone significant, somewhere along the line (it is usually not her). She’s also surrounded by equally desperate, equally sad friends, if she has any, and more often than not, she doesn’t go out anywhere as a family because she’s afraid of the behaviour of her child and the judging stares of others.
Oh and there’s poverty. Not just material poverty, but emotional, mental and spiritual poverty. The lack of such resources as language, knowledge of hidden social rules, support systems and good health. Dr Ruby Payne describes poverty as a lack of such resources to the extent that you are precluded from participating in life and accessing services at the same level as those around you who do not lack those resources. So this Mum, lacking in the language and knowledge of social rules required to navigate the mental health care system, lacking in money and motivational support, lacking in a car, health and energy has a kid who desperately needs to see a paediatrician, or a psychologist, or a psychiatrist, or a speech pathologist, or an OT…..where does she even start? She hears that there’s a two year waiting list for a public paediatrician, so why bother. So she doesn’t. And the cycle continues.
And then I hear a story in the news. About a kid. He’s done something. Then comes the vitriol. Where are the bloody parents? Why are the bloody kids allowed out at that hour of the night? Fine the parents! Take away their dole check! Lock ’em up! Bring back the cane! Let’s all get our pitchforks and placards. Becuse chucking these kids in Juvy is really going to solve the problem.
Ugh. End of rant.