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Bringing up Britain - last in the current series

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  • Message 1. 

    Posted by BBC Parenting hosts (U7576855) on Tuesday, 28th April 2009

    Bringing up Britain is on Radio 4 tomorrow, 28 April at 20:00, looking at contemporary anxieties and debates about parenting, with a panel of experts to offer practical advice, relevant ideas and experiences.

    The last in the series looks at dealing with children who don't fit in easily, which can be challenging for parents and teachers, but if we seek to modify behaviour and attitude too much, do we risk homogenising children?

    This is your space to have your say about the programme, opinions on modern parenting and the issues families face across the UK.

    For more information on the programme, go to


    BBC Parenting team

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  • Message 2

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by sdeuchar (U3546253) on Wednesday, 29th April 2009

    Children only need to learn to "knuckle down" if we insist on shutting them up in an artificial environment.

    Home-educated young people have a great deal of control over what they do and where they do it. Despite not spending years responding to bells, as adults they get jobs or go to university and operate in society.

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  • Message 3

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by politeCGordon (U13941044) on Wednesday, 29th April 2009

    Hi, I am a parent to 4 boys 12, 9, 5 and 2. The older 2 children are my step Children and have gone to the local school.

    My 1st Child now 5 is having the same issues as the child raised in your discussion. He is querky, and can be perceived to be difficult, he has difficulty conforming to the school environment and is too much for the school to handle. Our other Children have not had this problem. I am frustrated with the difficulties we encounter that the school's teaching and non pastral/ mature adult intervention and control has impaired his behaviour. He manages very well between the adjustments from his behaviour at school and at Home.

    I believe that as an aprentice style learning he thrives on the real environmment and has skills that the teachers do not tap into or nurture.

    We are now going through the labeling process with the authorities and the school as they want more support. I believe a male or forthright and clear teaching personnel would certainly help these children, and infact they are in their own natural way attempting to tell us this.

    I have enclosed a letter to our head teacher trying to explain that I do not wish to label my son incorrectly because of their lack of being an humanely influential mature Adult to my son and to local society.

    Interestingly we have suggested that some children like ours may have high sensory perception and require that level of communication - more Human. I have made with serious intent to attempt to work with the school to take on board their concerns and jointly aim to conclude a diagnosis. However I believe at this age children still require good Adult parenting supporting on all levels including emotional intelligence - which we want the school to work with us on.

    Letter to the SCHOOL

    RE: Letter date 3rd April 2009 and our Son Marcus

    We have had a meeting with Mrs X (Peadiatrician) on two occasions, one with Marcus and one with just us. She showed us the results of the questionnaires from both your team and us, and it proved to be very useful.

    MRs M (health visistor) visited our home in our usual day to day setting and we found her comments at the time and her subsequent report to truly reflect how we see the situation.

    Interestingly, I personally associated with Mrs B's (peadeatrition) findings from the questionnaire you filled in showing Marcus to be highly emotionally charged. ADHD was ruled out and ASberg’s (excuse the spelling) will be investigated to rule it out, we have agreed for her to register Marcus to be checked for this.

    I have found in our environment at Home that Marcus with us his parents and his brothers that he has a good understanding of boundaries and reacts to his father’s interaction well when dealt with in a clear defined manner with compassion and understanding over his emotional regulation. HE is a very thoughtful, caring and sensitive boy and takes on more than others and requires clear instructions as to not add confusion in his day to day interaction.

    I understand that this form of sensory regulation that Marcus probably needs, of which I have a personal understanding and history with, is slightly more care than the school can provide at the moment. I am very keen to ensure that Marcus is still in the mainstream school environment because of his strengths and the benefits he would have for caring and sharing with other children in his class, whilst we as adults learn to develop his behavioural techniques in your environment.

    We, by pure chance have discussed all of the above with a Senior Paediatric Physiotherapist, recently whilst she was visiting us on a social. Interestingly as we got into the detail a lot of things fell into place and we really relate directly to her following comments;

    Marcus would benefit from a sensory profile to determine whether he has any sensory deficits which may be causing him regulation/modulation problems. This can come out in severe behavioural issues. An OT or behavioural Psychologist could provide parents with a questionnaire. He may need to try the “HOW YOUR ENGINE RUNS” book/programme to help him if the questionnaire shows he has problems/deficits.

    My partner has emailed this to Mrs B. to also investigate this route. We have agreed at the last meeting with Mrs B that Marcus could be statement’d following the proviso that he has not been diagnosed yet and that we are all attempting to diagnose him correctly to aid his education and integration into mainstream education.

    We like to importantly add that since February we have seen a vast improvement on his behaviour at school and his happiness coming from school. We thank everybody for all their efforts and understanding and as parents are very happy with all the support, progress, trials and communication that has been occurring todate.


    Final Note - He is only 5 and enjoys exploring his environment.

    I would very much like to know if there is any reasoning with schools over the teacher behavioral techniques other than the passive OT's comments that are directed at both the school and the parents - we comply already and if they do not what action can we take?

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  • Message 4

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by jackiekempo (U13946116) on Monday, 4th May 2009

    My advice is this, really take your focus off what is going on at school. Try to make sure that your child feels really loved and nurtured and happy at home. Stay calm and assess the situation again in a year. xjk

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  • Message 5

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    Posted by boo decker (U10848648) on Monday, 4th May 2009

    I am currently in a similar situation with my son, known by us all as Boo. He is 4.5 and will be 5 in October.

    He is, as I have said many times on here smiley - laugh a somewhat challenging child and he is definitely his own person. He has always been a handful at home especially after my daughter was born but we have found ways to deal with him and he is difficult but definitely under control. The situation in a more formal setting such as nursery has always been a very difficult one, he struggles to conform and has responded to the challenges he faces by shouting, lashing out, biting etc. Part of his problem is that he just does not respond to the 'pecking order' or hierarchy within nursery. At home he gets that we, as adults, are in charge (now, I know this can raise a can of worms on here but with a child as strong willed as Boo adults have to be in charge), he responds to my parents and their partners in this way too but at nursery he does not see his carers as being above him.

    Nursery have applied for additional funding to meet his needs and are pushing me to get him diagnosed with something, a step I am not prepared to take as he is not adhd or asd although he has some tendencies. He is however 4!
    They are keen to get his school for september informed asap so they can apply for funding too to put support in place but I am concerned he will arrive at school with a label which they will not see past to the funny, bright, articulate, caring and loving child my son is.

    I do feel that as a society we find it difficult to cope with anyone who stands out for whatever reason and that we do risk knocking the spirit out of those who are not 'normal' I hope my son has the strength to rise above the pressure to conform but yet manages to keep out of trouble! smiley - laugh

    As a teacher I do see why we look for conformity, I don't think it is right but I am fighting the system from within!

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  • Message 6

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by butterfly (U10650181) on Monday, 4th May 2009

    good for you booandpingasmum!smiley - smiley

    I agree the schools find it easier with conformity.....I suppose Steiner schools and such like being the exception ( don't know if you have considered this route for your child, but then again why should you? ).

    I do feel we are diagnosing way too early these days and labelling kids, but on the other hand help is much more available for those who really need it's a tough one.

    missed the programme unfortunately. it sounded interesting.

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  • Message 7

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    Posted by boo decker (U10848648) on Monday, 4th May 2009

    I have considered the steiner route but we live in Lincoln, the back of beyond in terms of alternative education, and the nearest is just too far away.

    I did consider home ed but I have learnt that Boo needs the contact with other adults and that actually we would probably self destruct after a few days!

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  • Message 8

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by butterfly (U10650181) on Monday, 4th May 2009

    Hi booandpingasmum,
    I suppose here ( switzerland ) he would be given the option of going into smaller groups for the first school year which is also spread over 2 years but following the curriculum for year 1 iyswim!
    These groups are for 'normally' bright children who aren't 'fully developed' in all areas yet such as social competence, self competence and intelligent competence. They would suggest his social competence wasn't 'developed' enough for the normal larger classes.
    They would then focuss on his individual needs to get him 'ready' for year 2 where he would join the larger classes ( but a year behind his age of course, which doesn't matter at all here as it's all down to individual needs........years are repeated etc so there's always a mixture of ages in all classes........not the case in the Uk right! ).
    I totally see tho that you don't want your child labelled before he starts. Just hope he has a really good teacher who recognises his needs. I've always said about my second daughter who was 5 this year and just about to start kindergarten, that she will need a really good one to crack her shell and help her flourish.smiley - biggrin
    Children need time and room to develop and it's a real shame if they don't get this simply due to the system.

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  • Message 9

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by butterfly (U10650181) on Monday, 4th May 2009

    I suppose Steiner schools and such like being the exception ( don't know if you have considered this route for your child, but then again why should you? ). 

    sorry, the above should say at the end 'why should you have to?'

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  • Message 10

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by WILD58 (U7854814) on Saturday, 9th May 2009

    With hindsight although he was extremely well behaved I can say with certainty that my son should have started school at 5 or 6 and not 4. Maybe the same applies to your son but with 'nursery' as opposed to school.

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