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Is it only ever poorer families that get referred to social services?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Lisa54321, Jul 9, 2020.

  1. Lisa54321

    Lisa54321 Occasional commenter

    It always seem to be the poor who are referred but middle class naice families can be abusive too.
    My family was middle class but my mum had severe mental health issues which affected her parenting (a lot). I have a few friends who had wealthy parents but were treated very badly.
    I have also noticed in a professional capacity that abuse tends to be worse in middle class families.
  2. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Lead commenter

    I think we inevitably notice signs of problems in poorer children more readily, and poverty can sometimes go hand-in-hand with other problems at home like drug addiction and certain types of mental health issues, either of which can lead to classic signs of neglect like unwashed clothes or malnutrition. I would hope that all of us would report any child protection concerns we had regardless of class, but you're probably right that we're not as good at spotting "middle class" abuse.
    Alice K and Marshall like this.
  3. Lisa54321

    Lisa54321 Occasional commenter

    That's how I feel too. But the worst physical abuse cases I've ever reported have all been from wealthier families. Also, wealthier families seem more likely to abuse their children in public worse than poorer families.
    Marshall likes this.
  4. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    My experience has been the opposite though I expect that's because I spent most of my career in schools that catered for low socio-economic families. Is your school Leafy Lane?

    Although I had/have well-off friends and acquaintances who brought unhappiness and emotional neglect to their children because of addiction, domestic violence and mental health issues, the children were adequately fed and clothed and not visibly neglected. Filling in a cause for concern form at school is a far cry from picking up the phone and dobbing a neighbour to Social Services. Maybe it's more normalised on a dump estate; the abuse/neglect more visible.

    Can you give an example of how the abuse was worse in a professional capacity? After decades of donating shoes and laundering our school's kids' clothes myself, and discovering the main components of their diets were chippy chips, toast, jam and crisps, and listening to them lie through their teeth to protect their parents and thus avoid the dreaded "care", escorting them to court because they'd stolen stuff other children took for granted but which they'd otherwise never have, and constantly referring the cuts, bruises and swellings Mum or her latest boyfriend had inflicted whilst drunk, I'm wondering in what way professional abuse is "worse". Especially in public. I've never seen a parent slap a child in a fit of temper or scream in its face for daring to request her attention in Waitrose but I used to see it all the time in Morrisons.
    Alice K, vannie, mothorchid and 2 others like this.
  5. defenceagainstthedarkarts

    defenceagainstthedarkarts Occasional commenter

    At the risk of being simplistic, my experience tends to be that SS very, very rarely intervene in the case of emotional harm / abuse when it is the only aggravating factor. Of course, children who are physically abused and sexually exploited suffer emotional harm, but the emotional harm on its own rarely reaches the threshold of SS intervention.

    I think generally speaking, there are differences between middle class and working class parenting styles, which isn’t intended disparagingly, it’s just an observation. Working class families tend to be bigger, tend to have larger extended families and tend to have their children younger. Speaking very honestly here, they don’t tend to parent their children in a way I would personally choose to, but they certainly don’t neglect and they don’t abuse.

    SS intervention tends to focus on the families who that much-loved phrase ‘chaotic lives’ applies to: its addiction to drink and drugs, the men in the families turn to petty crime to fund it, the women turn to prostitution, the houses are utterly, completely, beyond disgusting, the children are filthy and attendance at school is patchy, they are in debt and often move around at a moments notice, mental health problems abound. It’s pretty hideous but it’s also not quite as common as some schools would have you believe - I’m not trying to be flippant, but some schools do confuse children in receipt of FSM or PP with the former example, and while poverty does impact school performance, there’s a huge different between poor but stable and Mum might cook frozen Iceland nuggets for tea rather than avocado and organic chicken, but the children certainly aren’t badly treated.

    Middle class families who abuse their children often don’t realise they are and nor does anybody else. I remember a Year 8 Drama class I had years ago, I’m not a drama specialist and it was lumbered on me somewhat, but no problem. End of year reports came round and I gave most of the class Good on the informative system that we had at the time - outstanding, good, satisfactory and inadequate. Sound familiar?! This child’s parents turned up at parents evening and absolutely crucified the poor girl, despite me protesting that Good meant, well, Good, it was just she wasn’t exactly Cait Blanchett in the making. I’ve had children burst into tears and clearly been terrified of minor transgressions in class. And you don’t have to lay a finger on a child to absolutely destroy them from the inside out.

    Tell them they are thick, they are stupid, they are slow. They aren’t as good as their sister / brother / cousin / friends child. Thirteen years old and saved up for a new outfit with her pocket money: laugh at her, roar with laughter and chuckle when she experiments with makeup (it’s only fun, right?)

    Make it their fault if there is a squabble with a friend or a bully at school: pointed comments ‘strange how it’s always YOU who has these problems, isn’t it?’ Make socialising hard - refuse to buy them clothes that will allow them to seamlessly fit in with their peers (for the school uniform advocates amongst us, yes, you can make a child stand out in uniform too.) Refuse to buy them a mobile (yes, every other kid DOES have one.) Ban sleepovers, birthday parties, friends round for tea.

    I’m quite sure some people will leap on some of the above and claim it’s ridiculous. I’m not saying refusing to allow a seven year old to have a mobile is abuse. I’m saying that systematic bullying and isolation and put downs are abuse. And let’s be frank: for that, you generally need to have a brain that functions.
    vannie, Pageant, rararasputin and 6 others like this.
  6. Lisa54321

    Lisa54321 Occasional commenter

    I am just saying that I have noticed that the worst cases I've referred have been middle class families.

    I have once seen a mum slap a child across the face and chest multiple times in Waitrose.
    Marshall likes this.
  7. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Family multi pack?
  8. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    I hope you called the Police?
  9. Lisa54321

    Lisa54321 Occasional commenter

    Yes I did and told security in the store. The poor girl who was being slapped looked terrified

    That was just one time too, I've seen children be abused hit/slapped/smacked in public lots.
    Marshall likes this.
  10. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    The abuse in middle class families tends to be different.

    I have seen several cases of domestic violence affecting the child in middle class families and in my experience children's services acted quickly when the case (s) was/were referred to them. That said they quickly passed it back to school for Team Around the Child action.
  11. Lisa54321

    Lisa54321 Occasional commenter

    Yes it does tend to be different.
    Emotional abuse makes up a lot of the middle class referrals too.
    Marshall likes this.
  12. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Crass and unworthy of you

    Not me, I lived through a lot of this.
    cissy3 and BigFrankEM like this.
  13. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    I was involved in a case where a 11 year old boy was living alone and attending school while his parents, who worked for Cambridge university, were off getting on with their careers. The poor kid had almost zero contact with his parents. They admitted to me at a parent evening that they wished they could afford a decent boarding school but he was fine on his own. Social services met with the parents and explained that the boy could not be left on his own. The parents took their son out of school and I never found out what happened to him.
    Pageant likes this.
  14. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Richer, inadequate parents have options that allow them to avoid Social Services scrutiny. They employ nannies, housekeepers etc. They send their children to boarding school or they sign them up to all manner of after-school clubs at a private day school or in the community.
    Jamvic likes this.
  15. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Yes, and they're articulate enough to explain things away. It's subtle too - I heard a normal-looking young dad say to the little boy he had in a supermarket trolley "Do you want to get out of the trolley?" Little boy looked delighted and said yes. Man replied "Well you can't." Just why?
    Jamvic likes this.
  16. Lisa54321

    Lisa54321 Occasional commenter

    I would never leave my children alone like that. Children need lots of contact with their parents.
  17. Lisa54321

    Lisa54321 Occasional commenter

    Yes they are subtle most of the time. I've still witnessed lots of middle class parents physically abusing children in public though.
  18. Lisa54321

    Lisa54321 Occasional commenter

    I've had very similar happen quite a few times. The worrying thing is they don't even realise they are abusing the child!
  19. Lisa54321

    Lisa54321 Occasional commenter

    That's the problem. They abuse them while finding ways to avoid scrutiny.
  20. newposter

    newposter Occasional commenter

    The entire social care system is run by middle class people who think they know better. It's the same in schools.

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