During my time working in education I supported children who just needed that extra boost to help them on their way, it was a privilege to work and get to know each and every one of them.
When you are working one to one with children you get to know them well and in my case it wasn’t about the academic achievements or target setting, it was about them. It was about building a relationship of trust and mutual respect.
For many children they live within families who don’t show respect for one another. The adults in their lives put themselves first not the children in their care.
Children would often talk to me about their home life, many came from split families, Mum and Dad living apart and one bad mouthing the other to them.
They always would say the same thing that they loved both Mum and Dad and just wished the nastiness would stop.
Children who were no longer allowed to see Granny and Grandpa because Mum and Dad didn’t like them anymore.
I often wondered if parents ever thought about the long term damage they were inflicting on these young innocent minds.
If I am honest, I suspect they didn’t care one way or the other, they had an axe to grind and the feelings of the children never came into it.
Over the last 10 years I have contacted many schools asking if I could go and talk to them about the impact being apart from one parent and extended family can have. I have never received one reply.
This subject was raised again at a recent event we were attending.
A teacher came and sat down and said, “I wish you would come and talk to the staff in my school, as I know I have several children in my class, who are going through this.”
We do have to educate the educators, children spend the majority of their time at school, there needs to be far more understanding on this subject.
Schools have a Duty of Care for all the children, therefore they should be made aware of the emotional harm that is taking place.
As I have written before, 15 years ago when I started my work in schools in a class of 30 it was quite unusual to have children from split families, by the time I left it had become the ‘norm.’
(Once again I need to add this caveat, before I get jumped on. If there is a Child Protection issue that is a very different thing altogether.)
I have of course considered why schools are not interested, and dare I say, is it because some staff members may well be the very people who are denying contact? I have no concrete evidence to suggest that, I am just wondering. If that is the case, teachers just as everyone else, have to look beyond themselves, back to what really matters, how is this affecting the children, be it their own or the hundreds of children in their professional care.
Every individual has their own opinion and I respect that, but the whole problem with separation of any sort is not about opinion it is about a whole generation of children growing up, without their voices being heard and with adults not giving them the respect they deserve.