Tag Archives: school

TOP SECRET

 

This post from ADOPTER X Find them on Twitter @AdopterX

SCHOOL

I found myself in a crowded school hall with 250 children with their parents hovering uncertainly around what had once been neat rows of desks all lined up in alphabetical order. We were early but the polite pleasantness was already threadbare in the teachers smiles and comments.

Like all these events it had been challenge getting there, X was angry. There remained a murky soup of unsaid words between us, I’d been kicked and called that morning and we’d not sorted that out. We begrudgingly sat next to each other waiting for the teachers to nod and indicate that we were next and to make our way to our impending ‘parent learner interview’.

For us this is just ordeal, for X it’s a unique construction of all that dysregulates. Large noisy environments, peers, adults, public examination of performance. A mix of shame and anxiety. Did I mention I’d been kicked and called that morning, I was not happy?

We filed through the process teacher by teacher, my will to live, already at a low ebb, was in danger of flickering out. Like a pre prepared script to a teacher they repeated the same mantra.

‘Intelligent, but easily distracted and if unable to complete the work then is a distraction. Shouts out answers which is not really that appropriate. I really like you X but you’ve got to knuckle down.’

Generally, there was compassion and understanding the words came as regrettable bad news that they had to deliver, followed by encouragement. It’s all in the way you say words.

The RE teacher looked like she wanted to give me a hug, I think she was so upset to break it to me. I think she read me pretty well I had sad eyes. The last teacher used the same words but it was hard to find compassion, more the barked workds of a drill sergeant. On went the lecture. I looked at X and I looked at the teacher. X was lost, eyes glazed and lolling around the room. I was furious, did I mention that I’d been kicked and called. How stupid is this teacher? I stopped listening and was weighing the consequences of saying nothing against the impact of me coming back at the teacher with the full weight of eight years as X parent, with the speech that starts ‘let me tell you about X’s life, about how X feels every day and how X struggles every day’. X would have died of embarrassment and shame for me to have spoken out. So I’m trapped between an teacher and X. I nod with the least amount of politeness politely.

Now I know why X kicked my and called me today, it seems like an appropriate and rational response.

I’ve booked a call to the school, we’re going to have a chat in private.

 

Guest post: Fagus, a framework for emotional and social development

Today we welcome a guest post from Fagus, about a new tool they’veFagus logos developed 25-04-2016 5 developed for use in educational settings…

“One way teachers can become more sensitive to children is to increase their knowledge of child development.” (p. 158, Bergin & Bergin, 2009)

The impact of early trauma and loss on children’s subsequent development can be profound. For these children emotional and social development is often atypical, either developing later, at a slower rate or in a disordered manner. They often have ‘spiky’ profiles, with typical and expected behaviour in some areas but immature functioning in others. It is vital that teachers understand this development in order to understand children’s behaviour.

All too often we hear of children’s developmentally immature behaviour being misunderstood and labelled as ‘naughty’. But how can we expect teachers to understand emotional and social development if they aren’t taught about it in initial training, or given materials to help them do this? Two and a half years ago, at Beech Lodge School, we began working to fill this gap and Fagus was born!

Fagus (Noun: Latin Fagus (“beech”) – The Tree of Learning) is a comprehensive educational tool which supports teaching staff to:

  • Understand typical emotional and social development during childhood and adolescence.
  • Clarify their understanding of a child’s strengths and difficulties across emotional and social functioning.
  • Use this understanding to set appropriate goals for pupils in emotional and social domains.
  • Monitor social and emotional progress.

Fagus divides emotional and social development into 13 areas:

FAgus tree

Three areas (Attachment, Cognitive Development and Language Development) are so fundamental to all aspects of development that these are identified as Core Developmental Areas. These can be considered as the ‘roots’ of development, from which the other ‘branches’ grow. Those living or working with children with attachment difficulties will be all too familiar with the impact of a disrupted attachment ‘root’ on the other roots and subsequent ‘branches’.

The Fagus Materials

The Fagus online checklists are completed by teaching staff and are used to create a developmental profile of the child. This provides a visual snapshot of a child’s development across the Fagus emotional/social domains, identifying key areas of need (i.e. the areas in which the child is most developmentally delayed):

Fagus table

On the profile, typical development is coloured green, somewhat delayed development yellow and significantly delayed development red. This child has a ‘spiky’ profile, with many strengths in some areas and significant difficulties in others.  

Teachers can then use the Fagus developmental guides to investigate a child’s current point of development further and identify specific behaviours that they would like to improve. Using this information they can set a goal for the child, based on what would be expected to happen next in typical development. A plan can then be devised to help the pupil achieve this goal. Within the Fagus framework the aim is to support the child to move through the sequence systematically, rather than expecting them to make huge leaps towards behaviours associated with their chronological age.

Using Fagus

Since its conception, Fagus has been used with pupils at Beech Lodge School and trialled in mainstream schools in Yorkshire and Humberside as part of a DfE funded PAC-UK project. We have received extremely positive feedback. Helen Hoban, educational advisor at PAC-UK has found that the Fagus materials shift the focus away from ‘problem’ behaviours to understanding the potential reasons behind this behaviour. In her words, for teachers, “the penny doesn’t just drop, it thuds”. She has also found that gaining a shared understanding of the child’s development brings teachers and parents onto the same page, enabling them to create a joint action plan to move forward. Most importantly, we have seen significant developmental progression being made by children as a direct result of using Fagus.

We are delighted to be launching the materials to all schools this week. For more information please visit www.fagus.org.uk (where the resource can be ordered) or email fagus@beechlodgeschool.co.uk. The cost for schools to buy Fagus is £660 (developmental guides) plus an annual licence fee to access the online checklists and profiles (£50 + £5 per pupil per year). We have an introductory offer of £495 with one year’s free annual licence for 10 pupils if ordered before 1st November 2016. Fagus was initially developed for pupils with attachment and trauma related difficulties; it is an effective and powerful use of Pupil Premium Plus funding.

All profits from Fagus go directly to Beech Lodge School – a not-for-profit charitable school for children aged 7-17 who have emotional and social difficulties. The majority of pupils at Beech Lodge have been fostered and adopted. For more information see www.beechlodgeschool.co.uk

References

Bergin, C., & Bergin, D. (2009). Attachment in the classroom. Educational Psychology Review21(2), 141-170. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.461.5271&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Life on the Frontline – 09/05/2016

lotf

A weekly blog from a family made by adoption, warmed by the laughter, broken by the sadness, held together by love with a big dollop of hope, oh, and often soaked in mummy tears.

I experienced school anxiety last week. That overwhelming surge of loneliness heaped with paranoia over the world outside not understanding my children.  But first the week began with some very sad news, which no doubt played a massive part in triggering the events which brought about my school anxiety.

Stuart the guinea pig died on Monday. He had a little cold and sniffle but within a few hours he had totally deteriorated and I suspected he was not long for this world. He wasn’t. Tall was very upset, this guinea pig had become partly his after we found Small was allergic to him. My husband had also become very attached to the little fella, hanging out with him in the evening, lolling and snuggling on the sofa.

So after the bank holiday weekend both boys returned to school somewhat unsettled. By the end of the day we’d had phone calls about both boys from their different schools.

Tall’s incident involved him hitting out at another student and swearing at staff. In line with procedure a one day exclusion, for the next day, was issued.

Small was reported to be unsettled and not overly compliant, could we suggest anything?

So Wednesday saw me take Tall along to my yoga class with me, as dad was away, where he sat very quietly whilst I taught my class. After the class I had a missed call from Small’s school. Small had been under a table all morning, refusing to come out or do any work. Unable to get hold of me they had phoned dad who had then talked to Small. Dad had resorted to bribery and promised Small a gift from London if he behaved.

Small seemed to be pushing the boundaries with his new school, you know in that “ok we’ve all got on reasonably well for a month or so , let’s see what you do with this” sort of way.  What is a little bit disappointing is that in response they’ve panicked, thought the best thing is to ring mum and dad and asked them to sort it. This has not shown they have control of the situation.

Sensing this anxiety Small atomically ramped up his own need to be in control and a string of additional incident occurred throughout the day. This included a couple of confrontation situations with other students, another sign, to me of Small’s escalating anxiety.

Then, that evening I was suddenly struck by the thought, that Small had started to struggle in school since the introduction of a girlfriend to his life. As we lay on my bed later, I gently probed Small about how his friendship was going with this girl.

“She hides my bag, she steals my lunch and she kicks me” he reported. Sure enough he had a massive bruise on one of his shins from one of these kicks.

“Is she nice to you at all?”

“Oh sometimes”

So Small was going into school, not knowing if the person, who is supposed to be his friend, will be kind to him or not. I suddenly realised that not having control over this very complicated area of his life would make him feel very anxious and he would therefore start taking control of other aspects of his day.

So we finished the week with a little more positivity, Tall was integrated back smoothly and we had a clearer idea of Small’s school troubles which we will be able to discuss in a review meeting on Monday.

Let’s just say I was happy to see the weekend this week.

 

In Other News

Tall did an underwater sea walk at the Sea Life Centre this weekend and said it was amazing. It looked it too.

We’ve had my dad to stay this weekend and thankfully Small has handled it brilliantly compared to their last visit at Christmas.

Small’s Wonder Woman obsession continues, he has now bought himself a build-a-bear Wonder Woman bear with full outfit.

Life on the Frontline – 02/05/16

lotf

A weekly blog from a family made by adoption, warmed by the laughter, broken by the sadness, held together by love with a big dollop of hope, oh, and often soaked in mummy tears.

We had parents evening for Tall this week, it was on Wednesday , however before we could get to that we had another Tall incident to deal with.

Monday afternoon the school’s phone number flashed on the screen of my phone. It has been a while since I last received an unsolicited call from the school but it still managed to send anxious shock waves through my body.

The outcome was, there had been an incident but it had been dealt with. Tall had spent some time in isolation, that afternoon and it was all over. However, could I please talk to Tall about taking responsibility for his actions in school?

Tall went off to a friend’s for tea and bounced back home all very happy. So we sat to have a talk about the day’s events.

Within minutes I had a stroppy, uncooperative Tall on my hands. The problem seemed to be that Tall felt he had not done what the school were accusing him of. I, by instigating a conversation about the day were now on the side of the school and was therefore a “b***h and a cow”. Cue a bit of a tense hour as dad wasn’t home and Tall seemed very volatile. I left him in his room and we didn’t see him again that evening.

Thankfully Tall had calmed by the morning and went to school in a settled mood, he returned home and completed a list of chores for me to apologies for his rudeness, all sorted. Well we actually sorted it even more when discussing it in DDP on the Thursday.

So parents evening. We, as always, had few actual appointments and spent an hour trying to sneak in, to see teachers. There was a general thread which appeared throughout the evening. “when Tall is in the right frame of mind he is motivated, engaged, very bright and very capable, when he’s not in the right frame of mind he has the potential to be disruptive uncooperative and rude”.

Most teachers were quick to say that there had been a great improvement since is very wobbly start at the beginning of the year. However, most teachers also felt really frustrated by the lack of consistency in his work.

We obviously know why there are inconsistencies but as his parents we want him to be able to achieve what he is more than capable of so we are in discussion with school as to how we can best support him in attaining this.

Although we delivered his parents evening feed back with all the positive things his teachers said

“I adore your son”

“He is such a bright boy”

“He’s by far the most capable in the group”

We also talked to him about how he could take the next step in reaching his potential.

Tall seemed teary eyed at the end. “I thought I was doing well” he said.

Tall had only taken on board all the, what he considered, negative comments and ignored the good bits, not believing them of himself”

This created a big discussion point in DDP therapy on Thursday, the fact that he can’t believe the positive things people say about him. He did really well opening up about what his head is saying to him instead.

“You are bright and intelligent….”

“Yes but I’m stupid”

He proudly said afterwards, I’m getting better at therapy, aren’t I”

“Yes you are my love, you are doing brilliantly”

He beamed back at me and I felt success, he allowed that positive statement to drip into his belief system.

In Other News

Small and new girlfriend were off and then on again this week.

Whilst Small has gone to school each day this week and on the bus in the morning, he has really struggled.

Thankfully Small’s reward for getting the bus every morning finally arrived, all the way from Japan. A Tamagotchi .

 

 

 

Life on the Frontline 25/04/16

lotf

A weekly blog from a family made by adoption, warmed by the laughter, broken by the sadness, held together by love with a big dollop of hope, oh, and often soaked in mummy tears.

“Get the hell out of my bedroom” was the charming response I got from Tall when I attempted to get him up for school on Monday.  It was a response repeated each time I entered and tried to rouse him from his pit. In the end, as I had no understanding of what exactly was wrong, I suspected nothing except tiredness, I delivered my consequences for not attending school and decided I would leave it at that.

Five minutes later Tall stumbled down the stairs, bog eyed and very grumpy. He swore a couple of times and left the house, without his school bag, lunch or the homework he’d spent a couple of hours on that weekend. I emailed school so they knew what they had in store.

Monday afternoon, he bounced back through the front door after a really good day and very apologetic for his morning behaviour. He had just been very tired. I made it clear that being tired wasn’t a sufficient reason for being as rude as he had been but I did feel relieved for his good day and simple explanation. I suppose it is a delightful combination of adolescent hormones and taking things out on those closest to you.

Tuesday morning it was Small’s turn. He didn’t want to go, as he hadn’t the previous Tuesday. I realised there was a definite pattern to this behaviour, same classes same teachers.  He didn’t want to go and that was it, no amount of persuading or encouragement was going to work. I probed a little as to what the problem could be and I finally got something to work with. His maths and drama teacher are at the moment one and the same and he has both these lessons on a Tuesday.

“She’s stressy” he told me.

“Why do you think that, did she say or do something?”

“In maths she told me I couldn’t leave the class ten minutes early if I didn’t finish my work. I didn’t understand the work we were doing and so I copied the person next to me”

“Oh did this make you feel worried?”

“YES”.

Small is allowed to leave each lesson ten minutes early to visit pastoral and check in with them.  I assured Small I would speak with school about how he was feeling and we would get things sorted for him.

Eventually we left for school about half an hour late, Small still a little unsure. On arrival at school, students were wandering between tutor group and first lesson.

“I’m not going in yet” said Small.

“Why?”

“I’m not being seen with you in those yoga leggings” he says nodding towards the lively patterned lycra covering my legs.

So I walk into school alone and Small follows once all students are safely in their lessons. More signs of adolescence starting to set in.

So after two really tough mornings I am apprehensive on Wednesday when I wake, as Small is supposed to be getting the bus to school, for the first time. The private hire minibus has agreed to collect him from outside the house, which is really helpful. As I come downstairs to make myself a cup of tea, I realise Small is already up and downstairs and dressed. He is in a fine mood and I think excited.

Tall also gets up with little prising or persuading and is also in an upbeat mood.

By quarter past eight both boys are out the house and off to school.

Well if only it could always be that easy.

 

In Other News

Small has got the bus to school every morning; I have a whole extra hour in my day now.

Tall and Dad enjoyed a trip to robot wars this weekend.

Small and his girlfriend “hung out” together on Friday at the park and then ate chips together.

Life on the Frontline – 14/03/16

lotf

A weekly blog from a family made by adoption, warmed by the laughter, broken by the sadness, held together by love with a big dollop of hope, oh, and often soaked in mummy tears.

Mother’s day was a success, hooray, we managed it. Low key, eating in the pub across the road which was quiet and close enough to send the children home when they got fed up, leaving  the husband and I to enjoy a quiet half hour doing the crossword. I even ordered my own mother’s day present, a selection of lovely teas and two beautiful china mugs from Whittards , so I felt very happy with my lot. No kick offs, not even an argument and quite a bit of laughter.

However, the week started badly, not because of the children but for me, I felt very low. I couldn’t raise my spirits at all on Monday, probably a mixture of hormones and tiredness catching up on me. My low energy levels never go unnoticed by the boys, a skip in my heartbeat and anxiety flickers in their eyes.  My husband supported by taking the reins, made the tea, supervised bedtime, but as he’s not feeling a full hundred percent, he struggled. Within 48 hours we spiralled head first into an explosion.

Tuesday evening saw Dad and me screaming at each other followed by him walking out. This has not happened for some time and the speed in which it has taken the ground beneath us left  me winded by its brutal force.

I then yelled at the children and shut myself in the kitchen for a cry. All sorts of horridness came to mind.

“If I was a better person I wouldn’t shout at my children….I wouldn’t shout at my husband…I wouldn’t make everyone in my life feel like it’s their fault when it’s all my fault….If only I was a better person…..”

I distract myself by making Tuesday’s tea and then planning the next day’s yoga class.

Dad came home, we made up, we talked to the children about how families fall out but all is fine they make up and move forward. The boys looked half convinced.

The rest of the week was an upward climb which started to eases towards the end of Thursday and then Tall comes home reporting and internal exclusion for Friday.

As communication is still limited with school, we are unaware of the number of incidents which have contributed to this consequence. Tall of course has reported back the minimum he feels he can get away with, whilst showing a level of honesty but ensuring he isn’t in trouble at home. So no swearing revealed, or a refusal to complete work.

On the Friday the exclusion eventually went ahead, after Tall initially refussed, partly because he thought he was going to have to spend the day at the top of a stairwell where all passing teachers eye you “and know you are naughty”, his words. Room is found for him in the exclusion room and he gets on with it.

This event is going to lead to more communication with school. Certain aspects of how it was handled I am again not happy about, however, I also see that a constant level of animosity between school and home is not helpful for Tall. So I intend to try to build a bridge and will bring more news on this next time.

In Other News

My favourite of all my teas is a lavender earl grey, I’m all about the floral flavoured teas.

Small has a new big boy bed, he’s been sleeping in the same bed for eight and a half years, bless him.

We are looking to add a hamster to our menagerie; I’m not sure how sensible this is with four cats.

 

Ensuring safety without forcing fear

Today Emma, an adoptive mum wants your advice on reinforcing safety without heaping on the fear…

A Problem SharedYesterday I was 2 minutes late getting to school, at least 2 minutes later than usual. My normal routine is to go to my youngest daughter’s class exit and then my eldest meets me there. If eldest isn’t out before youngest, then we walk to and wait at eldest’s exit for her to finish.

Eldest has been told on many occasions to go back to her own class if I’m not there, though I (until now) have been there everyday unless pre-arranged with both the girls and their teachers (in the event of playdates etc).

So today, as I’m rushing in, eldest comes strolling out of the school gate with one of her friends who’d spotted my car near that particular school gate (there are 3). Youngest’s class hadn’t CYMERA_20140305_152029even started to come out at that point, so eldest should have gone back to her classroom or at the very least waited by youngest’s class door.

There are security issues with eldest, she knows this…at least I thought she did. But I’m not sure how to reinforce how important this issue is without scaring her.
I could of course insist that her teacher makes her wait for me at her own door, but I was hoping that – at 10 – she would be able to handle the independence of walking around the corner of the playground to wait for me.

 

Life on the Frontline

lotf

A weekly blog from a family made by adoption, warmed by the laughter, broken by the sadness, held together by love with a big dollop of hope, oh, and often soaked in mummy tears.

Having an uneventful half term was joyful. Our family settled back into our comfortable patterns of doing not very much, especially if we didn’t want to do it. The boys got on really well, most of the time, which I feel has developed and become more common since they no longer attend the same school.

So as always, although not a big surprise, in fact totally expected, the involvement of school in our lives will always upset this calm apple cart.

Tall particularly, also as expected really, had a wobbly start to the week.

Monday – he swore at a teacher.

Tuesday – he didn’t manage many lessons.

Wednesday – he stormed out of Tutor Group, for which he now has a detention.

Thursday – Him and I started DDP therapy together and we had a really close shave at home in the evening. More on this day in a moment.

Friday – He was reported to have had one of the best days he’s ever had in high school. Go figure?

So Thursday saw the start of DDP, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy for Tall and I. I reassured Tall that it would probably not be too heavy on our first appointment, I advise him incorrectly.

Within the first ten minutes the therapist was surmising on what life would have been like for Tall when he lived with birth mum. Tall shifted most uncomfortably on his chair and redirected the conversation onto a different topic. I happily took the bait to recall happier, funnier times, only to be headed off by the therapist and brought back around to the uncomfortable matters at hand.

The hour saw Tall fold himself further in on himself. Shoes off, his knees were drawn into his chest and then his head burrowed further and further into the dark space between knees and chest. Finally he rolled over on his side and placed his head in my lap and I cuddled him.

Afterwards I took him home, to observe and work out whether he was up to an afternoon at school. He did go in and all went well.

That evening dad was not due back until late and therefore when Tall started to be difficult with me and then aggressive and very confrontational, I became very worried. I breathed deeply a lot and tried not to be drawn in, he really did seem to want a fight, and I most certainly didn’t.

Part of the argument was about “cod”. He didn’t want to eat it. I decided cod was not worth the fight and made him something else.

With Tall, once the agitated adolescent has gone the vulnerably, needy child is present. I struggled through his demands for my attention, not fully over the near miss of a much more violent episode. And then I fell at the final hurdle. I lost it over something little.

Friday morning he was moody and uncertain, having gone to bed with a shouting mother in his ear. I had apologised but he had, understandably, given me the silent treatment.

So I sent him off to school with a massive cloud of uncertainty hanging over my head. Who knows how Friday turned out as Friday did for him, but it was brilliant to see his beaming face come through the door at three fifteen.

“Best day ever in high school she said” he gushed excitedly.

“How do you know, he’s definitely had such a good day? Have you had a phone call from school?” asked dad.

“Tall can’t fake pure emotion like that, the sparkle in his eyes, he genuinely feels proud of himself” I knowingly replied.

 

In Other News

Small has had a good first week back. He brought home some impressive test results for French. Whilst he tells you he hates it, he obviously has a natural flare for all languages.

I taught my first two yoga classes this week and loved it.

I’m counting my blessing on having so many really kind, loving and wonderful friends in my life.

Life on the Frontline

lotfA weekly blog from a family made by adoption, warmed by the laughter, broken by the sadness, held together by love with a big dollop of hope, oh, and often soaked in mummy tears.

 

In a week that The Adoption Social was tackling issues around personal hygiene, it seemed fitting that a fallout in our household started over a boy who needed to wash his hair.

Wednesday morning I made a passing comment to Tall about how his hair really could have done with a wash. I obviously triggered something nasty inside him and he went off to school in a horrid mood.  I was on the phone straight away, warning school of what was approaching.

Fast forward six hours and a smiley Tall came through the door, with a tale of a day that had not gone to badly. However an email landing in my inbox at about the same time detailed a slightly different perspective.

Since the whole Child Protection incident, I have kept school at arm’s length, allowing a little distance to hopefully heal a very broken relationship. I have therefore not had a constant insight into Tall’s conduct in school. Everything seemed to be going well; I knew they would contact me with any major problems, so I have left them to it.

Tall has been doing well, getting into lessons and completing his work. However there have been increasing incidents of him refusing to go to some lessons and refusing to do work. I have not been aware of this because Tall does not regale us with such delights in his own appraisal of his day.

I felt some disappointment in him not being able to talk to me about this however, I do understand why he hadn’t informed us, he finds facing any of his own actions which are not considered positive very hard to do. We had a long talk, he was upset but now very honest and accepting of the account the email gave of a number of incidents from that day and previous days.

Tall seems to be causing a disruption in class so he gets sent out and is then allowed to work on his own in the isolation room. He is also refusing to attend some lessons and complete some work to achieve the same outcome, isolation.

After discussing this with Tall, I followed this with a long detailed conversation with school, as to how to best address this behaviour. To me this is Tall testing the boundaries, something we often see when he has been doing well and is making an attached relationship with someone. This Someone is now his Pastoral Carer.

So a plan has been made to reassure Tall that the relationship is one of understanding, however there are consequences for certain types of behaviour. Tall is to be given permission to leave his classes five minutes early to avoid the busy hallways, this is the gift of understanding. However, straight refusal to attend a class or complete work will result in an after school detention, this being the consequence.

The last two days of term were a bit wobbly, following a difficult Wednesday evening, where Tall went from being upset to being angry, and we got some of the delightful behaviour which comes with angry. However I’m hoping with a week off school, that Tall will recharge and be able to return to school and continue with the excellent progress he’s been making.

In Other News

Small is also doing well in school and making new friends. Oh and he’s joined the choir because they have cake.

Small and I also celebrated his finishing his first half term with a trip to the Theatre to see Mary Poppins, it was brilliant.

In just over a week I start teaching my first yoga classes, EEEKKK.

Life on the Frontline

lotfA weekly blog from a family made by adoption, warmed by the laughter, broken by the sadness, held together by love with a big dollop of hope, oh, and often soaked in mummy tears.

We nailed another adoption first this week, quite an impressive one, the child protection report. Forgive my flippancy, it was everything other than an amusing throw away experience, it was traumatising, distressing and seriously upsetting. However, it’s yet another experience we’ve survived and in our world, dark humour sometimes sees us through.

We had a fairly easy run into the first week at school. Not in an everyone got up happy and went to school with a smile on their face way, no, there was still the fear and anxiety and reluctant from Small, and some initial worry form Tall. But we managed it all well and it felt like a success.

Tall was going into lessons and having good days so I was happy to reward him with little bits of extra computer/screen time, a magazine, some sweets, you know the score, with plenty of praise included.

So Thursday night when I found him sneaking around down stairs, after we’d all gone to bed, to retrieve his phone for a late night MineCraft session, I was really cross. I was to be told by a number of people on Friday that this is very normal teenage behaviour.

I’m sure adopted parents will understand that sinking feeling and fear that comes from this seemingly normal behaviour.

Tall of course, caught out by a cross faced, loud voiced mum, became rude and uncooperative and went to puffed up chest, a beginning sign, for me, of fight mode.

He went to pick up his phone off the sofa, and to be honest for what reason I’m not entirely sure, I grabbed him.  He fell backwards off the sofa onto the floor catching his back on the footstool, that bit was totally accidental, not intended, as he went down. I was not at all sympathetic and asked him to go to bed.

He refused, continued to be obnoxious so I walked away, when I returned he’d gone to bed.

The next morning my head was saying “be calm be calm be calm” my mouth was saying “why did you do what you did? How can we learn to trust you when you behave this way? You’re not even sorry”.

Tall leaves for school angry with me and himself. I email school to inform them of his state of mind and give the reason to be an incident which occurred the night before. Tall finds the first sympathetic ear he can find and innocently tells all.

As I drive back from taking Small to school I think to myself, “I’ll ring school and ask them can Tall come home early so I can spend a bit of time with him before Small gets home from school”

School phone me first.

They are reporting an incident which Tall has revealed in school to Child Protection.

Countless phone calls to school, one of which I was very distressed during and the school member of staff on the other end of the line behaved with little understanding for pressure this was placing on our family. The voice was loaded with emotion “Oh don’t you do this to me, you always do this to me for doing my job, I’m not letting you do this again”

I wanted Tall home, I knew he would be frightened; I needed him home in my arms to reassure him. I wasn’t allowed; he had to remain in school.

It was the longest of days, the social worker didn’t arrive until after school had finished. Half passed three and I’m sat in a classroom waiting to be interviewed.

I gave my account of the events and thankfully it was as Tall had described. I then filled in some context to the event and again, thankfully, this switched on social worker began to see the exceptional circumstances in which we parent, something school are very much in ignorant bliss about. He said I was an “insightful parent operating under very difficult circumstances” and he recognised that other parents make similar mistakes with a lot less on their plate.

So all was sorted, time to go home, no. Despite being reassured he was not in trouble Tall didn’t want to come home. I think he hoped for a night at grandparents or friends so he didn’t have to face the whole incident. He pulled away from me as I tried to reassure him I wanted him home, to the audience of the school workers who’d been supporting him all day (there is relevance to that I’m sure).

Thankfully sensible social worker insisted he had to come home with me, so I escorted one stroppy boy home. Sensible social worker also informed local police that I had previously been assaulted by my son and I received a phone call later that evening to ensure I was safe.

Once home it took a little time for him to come out of his room but once out he didn’t leave my side, clinging to me on the sofa and asking could he sleep in my bed, which he did.

Me, I’m still in shock and trying to process the whole incident without creating even more negative thoughts around the school, relationships are already strained. I get that children need protecting but the school have so much contact with this family I find it really hard to comprehend that they believe we are capable of “abusing” our child. They constantly ask us to support them in how they operate and yet this is yet another example to me of how support is a one way channel.

I’m trying to minimise the concerns I have that Tall is being supported by people, every day, who regard our family in such low esteem. More yoga required I think.

I’m not going to do Other News, I can’t think of much else to say right now.