Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The Mum Question... again!

So TJ asks me about his Mum again - only this time he waited until we were right outside the school gates before he decided to drop it into the conversation.

"Why do all the other children have a Mum?" he suddenly asked.

"You have got a Mum," I replied.

"No I haven't," he said, "I don't have a Mum."

Now after the last time this question was raised I have had a counselling session and one of the ways it was suggested to broach this was to encourage the idea that his birth mother 'didn't' look after him - rather than she 'wasn't able to look after him despite loving him very much' - which is social services preferred line. The argument now being played out is that as the children get older they should know that their birth family were perfectly capable of looking after them - they just didn't want to, choosing instead not to give up alcohol or drugs or whatever it is that they are into. Hopefully then the kids will realise that their coming into care was not their fault.

Recently, I wrote a 'contact letter' to the birth mother explaining how the boys were doing and how they would like to hear from her. We didn't get a reply. I can understand how difficult it can be for birth parents but  (in my opinion) it also shows an innate selfishness  in that she still places her emotional needs ahead of the boys. Maybe we will hear from her in the future, maybe not - but at least the boys will know that we tried to keep her informed. I was advised to keep copies of the letters we send so that, if in the future, they do look for her through facebook or whatever social media is around that they have the full truth and not her one sided version of it. I can hear it now, how she wanted to look after them but social services stole them etc etc etc. You only have to watch the plethora of TV shows encouraging people to look for their past families to see how easily this could be done.

So I said to TJ, "Yes, you do have a mum, but she didn't look after you properly and they had to find parents who could look after you and give you lots of love."

"You don't love me," he replied.

This would have shocked me a few weeks ago but now I realise it is just TJ's defence mechanism. I have turned this on its head. Now every night at bedtime, rather than simply throw away the "Love you loads - night night!" line - which is usually followed by an angry "will you go to sleep!" after an hour or so.

I now say to TJ, "I've got a secret to whisper in your ear." The first few times he loved it as he cuddled up and I whispered, "I love you very much."... But now he has gotten wise to it and when I say that I have a secret he shouts back, "I know what it is! ... I love you!"

"Oh, thank you," I reply, "I love you too."

"I don't mean that I love you," he shouts, "I mean that you love me!"

"Yes, you're right," I say, "I love you very much."

"Well, you might love me but I hate you!" That's his latest reply and one he shouted as he skipped through the school gate. The other parents looked surprised, I just shrugged. I don't think he really does hate me but he had to balance out the expression of love he has just made with an expression of hate - simply to ensure he is in control of his emotions.

After all love is a scary place. Even as adults we are scared to fall too much in love in case we lose it - so why should it be any different for children.

TJ does love us- of that I am sure - he just finds love a very scary place to be...

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