Archives for category: parenting

blackerI watched this brilliant documentary by Molly Dineen, last night and was sad to see more evidence of a child being failed by the system in the UK, but interestingly he was descibed as excelling in a new school in Jamaica. Blacker’s son was in a situation where the school was telling his parents that he wasn’t suited to a school environment, and he had ADHD. Then they took him to Jamaica and suddenly he is an “A” student.

When I started out trying to make a film about home education, I kept hearing over and over again from people who had been totally failed by the school system, and try as I might to keep my sights set on home education I kept being pulled to document how hard it is to get on in school if you are in any way “different”.

It is complicated, as now we know the impact ACE‘s can have on a person’s life, so we can think it all happens at home, but the effects on children in the school system of repeated detrimental treatment makes some children give up learning for life. And that costs a lot, further down the line.

I once got involved in making a short film, which sadly never found funding, to describe exactly how this plays out in the UK. It was called The True Cost, and it explained how the criminal justice system, social care and mental health services are battling to cope with an epidemic of crime, family breakdown, challenging behaviour and mental illness, with bills that reach into the realm of billions – like £70 billion at least (and these are old figures). They then set out to descibe how these costs could be reduced hugely by investing money right at the start of a child’s life, by helping their mothers first, and then their fathers and supporting them to create a family, which they may have no idea of as they havent been modelled it. This costs under £5,000 per family.

It’s an old idea, and one which isn’t popular in parliament, but I can’t understand why. Post-natal depression affects mothers from all social backgrounds, so why should anyone discriminate as to who needs help in the babyhood years? Surely if everyone was supported it would only take a generation to help the percentage of children growing up with secure emotional attachment become the well adjusted adults of the future who help to build the loving communities and societies we need?

As International Woman’s day passes, I am thinking about what the experience of being a male in this world is like right now. My son asked me is there a Men’s day? I said no. And I thought it was because so much of the stuff that happens in the world is because of decisions men make, and women are only just being able to join that conversation as equals, now. And then I stop and imagine what that feels like to him. It’s not his fault that some men have tried to dominate women for so long. It’s not his fault that once upon a time some men felt threatened and scared by the power women had in their ability to grow babies inside them. Hollie McNish’s poem that we used in Babyhood about how her partner stood with her as she birthed her baby, telling her to “shout about her achievement that day”, proves to me that there are men who gladly take on the role of equal humans.

I hope for my son’s that they grow up feeling that it’s not all on them to manage their lives but they can rely on the strength of the women around them too. We have got into a position where sexism is so prevalent that we don’t consider how damaging it is for the little people in our lives. My boys know its ok to cry and rage and scream and feel, and I am proud that they are able to do this without considering what anyone might think, that will come in time but for now, I embrace every emotion they show me, and rejoice in their freedom…while modelling self-care 😉

Maybe one day we can hope for an International Men’s Day to celebrate the men who stand side to side with us women seeing the world as we do and championing the need for our balance.

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