Thursday, December 14, 2006

One-to-one time

I sit here and stare at this empty screen trying to think of how to put into words everything that Gteen and I have been through over the last 3 weeks. It’s been such an intensive one-on-one relationship that has evolved as the days pass to one with much more positive communication between us and a lot less arguing.
We’ve had a combination of appointments with the doctor, visits to the psychiatrist, compromising over the subjects that Gteen chooses to study each day, (and giving different coloured stars depending on the effort put in, then rewarding with a treat, like his current favourite snack – beef jerky), kicking a football around with him outside, (and calling it PE), cooking with him, (Food Tech), receiving and making phone calls to his school, the council exclusion officer, my work colleagues, researching (during the late evenings), on the internet: his school and government education policy, educational psychologists, alternative education & home education, understanding teenage behaviour, and looking for support for parents of excluded teenagers.
I have read articles online from The Independent and Guardian expressing concern about failures within the state schooling system that lead to exclusions and I have read research done by various organisations with suggested solutions too. My head is buzzing with all this stimuli.
I know I am not alone in feeling thwarted and failed by state education and I don’t blame individual teachers. They all have to work extremely hard to cope with the demands of, on average 30 different kids each hour of the school day and must feel equally frustrated that in general, they cannot focus on the needs of individuals, but can only plough through what is expected of them so that they can meet the targets required.
Gteen and I have been dropping off and picking up Ggirlie together, (also PE), then I (or Gteen), have been helping her with her homework. I’ve been actively involved in activities with her and her friends too, (which included having my face painted by her and a friend and making cakes with her and another friend), and of course doing all the usual domestic stuff like cooking healthy dinners, hoovering and doing the laundry, with Gteens’ help too.
We are getting along a lot better as time passes and he is becoming more co-operative, just as I am dealing better with his outbursts of frustration and anger. He is certainly benefiting from having this kind of time with me though I wonder how he will adjust to reintegration into another school.
His freedom is much restricted in that he is not allowed out on his own like before and most of his gadgets have been taken away for the time being. No Xbox or MP3 player, and the spare TV is locked away too. He has earnt his mobile phone back and can have limited use of his Xbox, (which needs the spare TV), during the holidays.
He is still attending Air Cadets but we drop and collect from the door. He can see friends here and indeed have them over for sleepovers during the weekend but visits to see friends will involve us for the transport and be closely monitored too ensure that he is actually there and not out roaming around. Despite all these consequences he is responding really well.
We now have an appointment with an educational psychologist, who is coming to our house in the first week of January. It’ll cost about £700 for a detailed report but will be money well spent in assessing his educational needs. I have been in touch with a behavioural educational psychologist too but she is fully booked until half term in February.
Gteens’ school want to arrange a managed move instead of a permanent exclusion but because we live in one borough and his school is on the nearest border of another borough, the school that has been suggested is just too far away from home so, much to the head teachers annoyance I could only turn it down on the grounds of distance. Anyway it seems to me that they are just not addressing his needs, and his cry for help by his action that started this ball rolling.
Now we have Christmas approaching and I shall finish here with these photos, which we took for this years Christmas card. Gteen made the card on the computer for us as an IT project.

We wish all that pop by a fantastic Christmas with lots of laughter, joy and happiness.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A Gadget crisis

My poor old Blog seems to have taken to the back burner during the last few weeks. I just haven't had the heart to write about anything since Gteen has been suspended from school with a view to permanent exclusion subject to a meeting with a board of governors.
I took Gteen to the doctor on the recommendation of the school, and promptly broke down in tears through lack of sleep and worry, so he signed me off sick from work with stress and put me on happy pills. I don't feel very good about it, I've never taken any of these kind of pills before, and don't like having 'stress' on my sickness record, but it's out of my control really. Gteen means more to me than work and I so want him to have a happy life, both at home and at school. I wish I could sort his unhappiness out for him.
In the meantime, I am doing my best to put him back on the right track again, though the last couple of weeks have been like the worst roller coaster ride that I have ever been on in terms of emotional turmoil.
I've bought a couple of Sats revision books and the school have sent him some work to be doing so I have been setting him daily work to do and we have also been cooking together, giving him 'Food Tech' experience.
I've also been making sure that we spend more time together as a family, last weekend we walked up to the park and all played football with Gteen in his favourite goalie position, something that he loves doing. We all enjoyed the time together despite the kids’ moaning about walking, and how boring they thought it would be without their friends along to play with. This week we went to the cinema and saw Santa Clause 3. We took the bus to the edge of Kingston and walked through the town, enjoying the Christmas lights and being together. Afterwards we walked back through the town and saw a different side to it. All the young people crowding in for the pubs and night clubs, drunk and loud. Yesterday I took Ggirlie and a couple of her friends to the local roller-skate disco.
I feel so guilty and responsible for the crisis that we are now facing and am doing whatever I can think of to put it right, though feeling insecure about the way that I have raised him thus far that has led to where we are now. Our doctor is hoping to get family therapy for us to help us too. I so thought that we did right by our kids and it’s awful to think that we have failed them somehow.

So, not a happy posting, and perhaps many who read this will not bother coming back anymore. There are so many families that have far worse lives than we could ever have, I know, but this is how my life, and that of my family affects me, and for those that do pop in from time to time, at least it’s an update.