Monday, 20 January 2020

Choosing the battles

Just before Christmas we received a letter to say that we have officially been signed off from Social Services.

It was happy news for us all.

These last 12 months have been hellish.

We contacted Social Services to help with behaviour that we were experiencing at home. We tried everything we could for 2 years and nothing was helping.

I tried everything that I had learnt through Early Childhood Studies, Child Psychology and techniques I’ve learnt through being a Primary Teacher. Yet, nothing worked.

What would you do?

Was our option to carry on the way it was?

Was our option to give in to the demand of a child, who voiced that behaviour wouldn’t stop unless we broke up? 

Could we have done that when everything else in our blended family life was working?

When behaviour was relentless, our options dwindled and our resilience had almost faulted. I didn’t think we had an other choice than to contact a service that could actually help us.

But, for those who have been following either on the blog or social media would know, that wasn’t the outcome we had.

When presenting family life in one way and yet the child presented everything as either a lie or showed contrasting behaviour we looked like liars.

We looked like bad parents who were scapegoating an innocent child.

It didn’t matter that the other children were voicing exactly what we were saying. If the bad parenting theory was correct then the behaviour is a response to that and subsequently what the other children are reporting is just a reflection of that.

However, I am a firm believer in telling the truth.

Through my upbringing and my on-going faith I strongly believe that if you know the truth, if you stick to the truth then it WILL be seen.

I can tell you now that although I stand by that decision it has been incredibly hard to uphold in difficult times.

When you get faced with such adversity it’s difficult.

When you’re told that you’re lying it’s hard. When you’re told that you’re abusing your children in response it’s beyond difficult. When you’re investigated for child abuse it gets harder. When some professionals band together and unite behind the above it is no longer feeling like a fight but a war.

They conveniently ignore minor professionals who back our theory because the smaller band have bigger credentials. They ignore outside sources who back up our theory because they could have been coerced or have their own biases. They conveniently ignore the truth right in front of them because that would mean that THEY’RE wrong.

Yet, on this journey we have fully been vindicated time and time again.

We had, as mentioned above, some professionals seeing and believing us. We had family and friends experience EXACTLY what we were talking about. We collected proof of what was going on and that validated situations for all of the above. We had Paediatricians giving complex diagnoses that fitted with EVERYTHING that we’ve been saying. We had 2 family therapists and 1 independent therapist see, support and believe us.

We had one complaint process that CLEARLY showed that there had been unprofessional behaviour towards us and that we DIDN’T receive the service that we should have.

Finally, we had a school u-turn on their stance of “no behaviour exhibited” suddenly saying they’re having to put strategies in place because they’re facing it more than once a week.

With all of the above taken on board, the truth did come out and people did see it.

In many ways, having such a strong battle made me change my stance on what I believed social services should and could do and we started looking at ways that COULD help. So much, that one of the reasons why they were happy to let us be signed off is because we’ve been so independently proactive.

Yet, I’m emotional.

Social services signed us off and I should be happy; the dark cloud of stress and oppression has gone but, I’m not “happy".

I am tired, drained and my emotions seem to be fluctuating.

I have had to dig deep and find every bit of energy to keep my fight against the lie. Every new battle I wanted to throw in the towel but I couldn’t give up the one thing I was holding on to.

We have the option, right now, despite our case being closed to push a complaint (our second) to be investigated further. But why would we?

We’re signed off. We have had lots vindicated. I have held on to my integrity throughout despite such immense pressure. So at what end should we push that complaint? It can’t change our case because we’ve been signed off. The social worker won’t be reprimanded. It won’t affect her job in any way. All it would do is use energy to seek more justice in response to injustice. All for an email or a letter to say “We found cause for complaint".

I don’t have that energy to just warrant that.

We, despite so much adversity, have kept our heads high and together as a couple and family achieved a lot.

Things at home are 100% better. 95% of the behaviour that was ruling our family life for 2 years has stopped.

It’s stopped because we found ways to tackle it ourselves, found techniques to stop low level negative behaviour becoming extreme behaviour, have changed the environment to support independent traits and additional needs, found professionals who believe and want to help (outside social services) and, finally, put positive reinforcement techniques in that encourage a better attitude.

These things are all things that WE have done. The actual involvement of social services have provided nothing positive to our home life. I cannot think of anything that they have done that’s impacted our family life in a positive way.

What we need to do is move on. We need to put the majority of this year behind us. Our energy needs to be used on ourselves and our children.

Things are better. The truth was seen. Do I think that will be the end of it all? No, I don’t.

We still have little fights coming up. There are still outside sources who are working against us. I’m sure there will still be more to come.

The energy and the integrity will still be there when that happens. For now, we need to pick the battles, save the energy that we can and enjoy the positive for what it is.


Anne said...

It sounds like it's been an absolute nightmare for you. It's so sad that when you turned to help all you got was more problems. I'm glad it's over now, and although it might be hard for you to see it yourself, you should all be extremely proud of getting through this with your heads held high. I really hope things continue to improve for you all.

Kim Carberry said...

It is great news that you have officially been signed off from Social Services but it doesn't really take all the stress, worry and emotional pain away that you have suffered over the last year. I don't think I would want to fight anymore and make a complaint.
You should be so proud of everything you've been through. You are a strong family and I am so glad things are a lot better now with the behaviour issues.