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An invitation to remember - Countryside Carer

Children Playing

Our Countryside Carer shares the impact of how having a friend, really can make all the difference

Friends are not something which our youngest young person came with when he arrived. Actually, his social story from previous schools was pretty depressing. Parents of other children can be highly judgemental and what with his wayward, feral behaviour and his parents who were not liked in the playground he was fighting a losing battle. Basically, for want of a better word, he was ostracised. He not only didn’t have any friends, he was also in a position where parents told their children to stay away from him. The sadness and anger he came with when he arrived was really of no surprise. He had never been around to someone else’s house for a play date, never been to a child’s party and had never felt the excitement of waiting for school to be finished to go off on a sleepover at a friend’s. 

When he started at his new school with us, friendship was not on his agenda. He had no concept of ‘being friends’ with someone and, as he hadn’t had any before, he could put no importance on the value of a good friend. He simply didn’t care about having friends. In the playground at break and lunch times he still struggled to express his emotions and would lash out at children who tried to play or involve him. I would get multiple calls throughout the week to discuss behavioural issues and trying to rationalise with him seemed impossible. I was worried, to say the least. 

he has been accepted, understood and, despite his differences, he has been liked

I can’t say that the change came instantly, but I didn’t entirely see it coming. It started with a young lad calling out ‘good morning’ as we walked through the playground or with him joining us in the line as we waited to go in. He would always natter away to my little one and rarely got much conversation back, but this didn’t seem to deter him. He continued with his morning greeting and we found we sometimes bumped into him at the local football club where the two of them would then go off and have a wander about together. I went to a Macmillan coffee morning at school recently and this young boy was paired up with ours. I watched as he helped him navigate a very busy and quite intimidating situation for our young person with ease and, what can only be called, friendship. He helped him hand out crosswords, pointed us out in the crowd when our young person couldn’t spot us and did it all with kindness and a smile on his face. At our most recent LAC review the designated teacher rattled off a list of names that had been given to him as our young person’s ‘friends’. This boy was at the top. I felt relief and happiness that my young person could finally start to recognise ‘friendship’. 

Two weeks ago I collected them from school and he came out holding that elusive piece of paper that every parent sees but not every parent really understands the true meaning of. That scrap of paper ripped out of a notebook with a name and a mobile number on it. The piece of paper which represents the solidifying of a friendship – the invitation to a play date. And as my little one chewed his sister’s ear off about what he would be doing and getting up to at his friend’s house, I felt both an overwhelming happiness- he has been accepted, understood and, despite his differences, he has been liked and then, at the same time, nerves – a new step, a tiny sliver of independence and a sign that he is, ever so slightly, growing up. Which I’m not sure I’m ready for but know I have no choice in. 


If you want to find out more about the support we offer then head to - Children & Young People's Participation | Nexus Fostering 


Fostering stories


  • Foster Carer
  • Young person

Date published

22 November 2022

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