The impact of shame….

Published February 19, 2014 by thefamilyof5

There was quite a big incident with school at Christmas, baby girl had been chosen to be ‘narrator’ in the school play, she did say straight away that she didn’t want to do it but wasn’t offered an alternative role. 1st day of the Christmas play came and baby girl was off school, worry, stress and tiredness as she’d been up half the night. After speaking to school I was assured she would be given a new role and she didn’t need to worry any more. She was happy to go in the next day knowing she had a new role awaiting her.

I’m a special helper mommy, she said when she came out of school. I don’t do much helping though, she added, I’m sure your a fabulous helper and I cant wait to come and see you helping, I reassured her.

Me and my mum had tickets to see the 4th and final showing of her play. I was devastated with what I saw. Baby girl didn’t have an alternative role at all, she was just excluded, sat on the floor beside the teacher, doing nothing. My mum physically wept as she sat and watched her Granddaughter being publicly shamed. My heart broke as I watched her sit there mouthing all the words to ALL the different roles and performing ALL the actions as well. She knew she was being excluded, I could see it all over her face. Right there and then that entire week fell in to place, the behaviors, the odd comments, the anxiety, she’d tried to tell me in her own way lots of times, but I hadn’t heard.

Aside from me and my mum speaking with school immediately after the play and pointing out how she’d been excluded publicly and how this would have effected her, I decided I needed to do something else. This couldn’t happen again. My poor baby girl who already feels she isn’t good enough should never have been made to feel this way and I felt there had been missed opportunity’s on schools behalf to prevent this. I was livid. My mum, who’s worked in education for over 30 years was shocked and devastated that this had been allowed to happen.

I emailed the Education Psychologist and asked for her help, I needed someone in school that understood the massive impact this level of ‘shame’ had on my sweet baby girl and I didn’t feel anyone did. I also set about sourcing a local company that could offer the school some training in the effects of attachment and trauma, the Pupil Premium would be perfect for funding it I thought.

Since Christmas things have improved, the lines of communication are open, baby girls needs are being acknowledged and I’ve put forward my suggestions for specialist training for all the staff, to the school governors.

I worry sometimes that teachers and teaching staff fail to acknowledge a child’s needs because they worry that it will reflect badly upon themselves. I certainly felt this was the case at the last school. Baby girls anxiety was thrust in the face of school, yet it was brushed aside and denied.
I guess birth parents would feel the same, I’d imagine that if their child is struggling with their behavior or emotions, that the parent would feel that this was a reflection on them. My children are not the same, My children don’t struggle in school because of poor teaching (although lack of understanding can exasperate things) or at home because of my parenting. The responsibility for the damage that has been caused to them by trauma and loss, lies with their birth parents and the ‘system’ that failed to protect them, that’s why they struggle.

Baby girls needs are what they are, and they can be difficult and time consuming, especially when there is an entire class of children to contend with. There’s no shame in admitting that we need a little help sometimes. I know I do and I only have 3 to contend with.

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4 comments on “The impact of shame….

  • Oh, that final paragraph…I know that feeling. It took until I needed the head to write something for me, before boyo’s teacher admitted that she did not know how to teach him, that he had made no progress since starting the school in sept…this was Dec. Thankfully the head is now taking a more active interest in him, and things are improving.

    I hope your school have taken this on onboard and are trying harder to think about your girls.

  • Oh my. Your statement about teachers or parents not wanting to face certain issues because they are afraid it reflects on them… Wow! I hadn’t consciously put this together but it makes so much sense and is a real problem! I’ve seen it and felt it. Friends and relatives get that “you don’t trust ME” look when I don’t let my children do everything that other kids do. Teachers get that look when I talk about behaviors at school. I have to catch myself second guessing my own parenting skills as I continue with the often annoying boundaries and routines we have established. I wish it was easier to help people see we need to join forces and be on the same team so my kiddos can heal and move on as normally as possible. The frustrating part for me and I think for you too is that our kids act “so normal” that people don’t believe us when we talk. And that’s just messy.

    • That’s it isn’t it, we’re all on the same team but I worry not all schools see things this way.

      Your right, my girls hide so much I’m seen as a neurotic parent.

      Like everything ‘adoption’ it’s just another ‘fight’ to be fought. 🙂

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