It makes me wonder, how much of the current student expression is a logically-based, thought through response to the factual details of the changes, and how much is an emotionally-based response to being let down? It makes me wonder how many times they have been let down before…
I guess I am wondering because daily I am working with children who are trying to come to terms with adults in their life who say one thing and do another. It has a real impact on the child, and the impact lasts.
There are the children who are trying to come to terms with the endless confusion when parents, or other significant adults, promise them something and then don’t deliver. A trip to the park. A special trip. A fun time together. A chance to see them at the weekend. They are let down. They are full of emotions, and get messages through the experience that they are not important, they don’t matter, they are rejected, and that adults don’t mean what they say. It hurts. They don’t like it. They are powerless to change it.
And then there are the children I have worked with who have been taken into care while there is an investigation into whether their parents are able to provide a safe home for them. Whatever the outcome, during the separation, the child misses their parent, longs to see them, and then is told they will have a visit on Thursday. They wait all week and Thursday comes round. The child is so excited to see their parent again, even for a 2 hour visit under supervision of a social worker…and then it doesn’t happen. Maybe the parent doesn’t turn up, maybe the social worker can’t arrange transport, or maybe there is no one available that day to supervise the meeting. The child is full of emotions and gets messages through the experience that they don’t matter, that they are not important and that adults don’t mean what they say. It really hurts. They don’t like it. They are powerless to change it.
These moments last…. Unhealed, they become part of the emotional and mental make up of that child. They affect who they become, how easily they are able to trust, and how they respond to events in the future that echo these painful memories from early on. They can last a lifetime. Happening over and over, to many, many children these moments can affect a generation.