Long time readers will perhaps remember that I have a strained relationship with some of those who have official roles in the life of my youngest daughter. It is terribly difficult to hand over even a degree of decision-making to someone else when you are a parent. One of those with whom relations have been most chilly at times is the social worker. I have written about this on numerous occasions.
Today’s visit was, I thought, to sound out if there were any issues I would be likely to raise during next week’s review of 14′s respite. This did not turn out to be the case. The SW arrived, we talked for a while, we made sure we both knew when the next appointments were and she left. All terribly civilised and a long way from the fraught, tension and tear filled meetings of the past. I have a feeling she was as stunned as I.
The reason for 14 having a social worker is simply to facilitate respite, can’t have the latter without the former. It was the reason we were so reluctant to begin accepting respite for 14, well one of the main reasons, the other being our feeling that we are her parents and therefore no matter how draining or demanding she is our responsibility and we should face it. Plus, how can you be sure other people are looking after your child to the standard you expect, especially if your child has no way of telling you?
Our fears over social service involvement seemed soon to be vindicated. The pried into almost every aspect of our lives. They asked all manner of questions. They forgot, or ignored, that their remit was simply to deal with respite and demanded to know about education, health, food, everything. I felt hounded. I am a parent of four children and I felt I was having to justify every action, every decision, every way I had of parenting to someone who didn’t know me just because they happened to have a particular job. What made them know more about my child that me? Nothing.
This mixture of resentment, fear they would somehow take the children from us (yes, we really did worry this would happen) if they took the notion shaped my way of dealing with this one social worker. Every time she insisted on knowing some detail I felt was none of her business a further divide arose between us. Every time she stuck to the letter of a form because that’s how it was written and that’s how it was going to be, my hackles were itching.
Time, however, has passed. The older children have grown, no one is going to take them anywhere they don’t want to go themselves and I have realised no one is going to take 14 because no one else can work with her half as well as can I. With my own relaxation so the relationship has improved.
This morning I answered questions I would have refused to before because, what the heck? Perhaps she is just talking, perhaps the answers are all going to be noted down when she gets back to the office. Either way, what’s the difference. Our lives are how they are, 14 is who she is and we will have to work with social services to find the best help, respite and services for 14 as she transitions from children’s services to adult services when she is 18. That transition begins this year.
14 is growing up and so am I.
Dear goodness, don’t let it get out but I might just be mellowing.
The picture at the top? Today’s weather, thunderbolts and lightning and hail that bounced a good three/four foot in places.
I hope you have a mellow Wednesday.
© 2012, Penbleth / L. McG.-E.. All rights reserved.