I love listening to looked after children. When they take the time to chat they are funny, inspiring and really honest. What follows are 10 tips for carers from a looked after child that I hope you will find funny and useful!
Tip 1 - Real Resilience
It is true! A looked after child has impressive resilience. We are utterly resilient when it comes to ignoring what you tell us and at repeating the same mistakes over and over. We are resilient when it comes to telling you where to stick your care plan and what you can do with your rules. Everything is your fault, anyway.
Tip 2 - Got Ya
We are fabulous at shock and awe tactics. We give you a little glimmer of hope, nod in all the right places, and then bam got you again. Just when you think it is sinking in, we tell you where to stick it and laugh when you look bewildered.
Tip 3 - Accountability
Please, don't try and hold us accountable. You must have worked with enough looked after children to know by now that we are never to blame for anything. Even your well thought out key work sessions will never convince us any differently. It's you, it's them, it's life it sucks, but it is never me.
Tip 4 - It Just Is
I know you think it's weird that after we smash up the house, nick the car, stay out for three weeks and ten minutes later, we are like 'love you' can you take me into town.
Tip 5 - Charming
Be utterly suspicious when we turn on the charm and go all adult on you. We are great at this. We love it when you give in. You fall for it every time.
Tip 6 - Safe and Sound
No matter how many times you tell us about safeguarding and going missing, you just don't get it. We can look after ourselves. We DO actually really believe that line. The reason we are so convincing is that we mean it. Honest!
Tip 7 - House Meetings
I am not being funny right. But, there is a reason why we will do anything to avoid those poxy house meetings you insist we sit in on. It's a no brainer. How many kids do you know that will even spend ten minutes in a 'meeting' with their parents. Would you at our age? Come on, be honest. We would rather sit in casualty for ten hours. It is a brilliant avoidance technique.
Tip 8 - Independence
When you are trying to convince us of all the reasons we need to do some independence training, like hovering, doing the washing up, making a meal for the house, going to ASDA with a budgie budget and tell us how we need to do all this stuff. Do you think we are bloody thick? They have singles nights in ASDA, but they don't have teenager nights with loads of parents watching their kids hand over the right change and making good food choices. Really. Come on. How many teenagers are going to go 'oh yeah it's in my best interests to do all this stuff, ' seriously?
Tip 9 - Who is in Charge?
There is something you need to know. No matter how hard you try with your little schemes to be in 'control' we are, and always will be the boss. Nobody will ever be our boss; we have an inbuilt resistance to this. It is in our nature. We only let you think you are in charge, occasionally.
Tip 10 - Mission Impossible
You are on a mission impossible with most of us. You are using the wrong recipe. You are trying to apply your mindset to our psyche. It won't work. In your world, a grounding and loss of a few activities would be enough to make sure you never did whatever it was again. But remember we don't live in your world!