Since my tiny 7 arrived he has been angry. Angry at most things – social workers, me, his siblings, children’s services, teachers but most of all, himself.
He has, on numerous occasions gone off on a rant about how he will demolish the local children’s services building with a wrecking ball when he is older or blow it up with a bomb he will make on his own. He openly speaks about hating the social worker who he believes ‘kidnapped him’ from his family and he believes all ‘fostering people’ are evil child snatchers. Obviously, these are not his words or thoughts but those of his parents. Carried down from their generation to him. Leading him to believe that all blame and fault lies on the shoulders of others. This lack of ability to take responsibility has impacted tiny 7 in many ways, but those are for a different time. For now, I want to share how we have begun to tackle this anger, this mis-directed rage that consumes him a lot of the time.
For the first few months, actually, until really recently I tried my hardest to explain, in child speak why he was here and how the fostering/child services system works. This really was to no avail. He still wanted to attack the initial social worker (well, the first one he knew about anyway) and he wanted to ‘seek his revenge’ on child services. I was at a bit of a loss if I’m honest. It wasn’t until we were having a chat about the subject in his bedroom whilst I was putting his clothes away that an idea hit me. Hanging up on his wall are a compilation of superhero costumes – the usual suspects are all there: Iron Man, Black Panther, Batman etc and this is where I got my inspiration.
I turned to him and said, while he was mid flow of full on rant, “you do know that social workers and everyone that works for child services are superheroes don’t you?” Well, he just stopped, mid sentence, mouth open and eyes wide. He shook his head. I took his very brief silence to continue. “Well, you know how superheroes protect the planet, like The Incredibles do?” He nodded. “Well, social workers and people who work for children services are superheroes just for children. They protect children from being hurt and being unsafe. So, you can be cross with them, but really, you might want to think about how cool they all are.” To be honest, tiny 7 wasn’t overly sure how to react to this. He started by looking at me suspiciously and then, as the conversation progressed the idea grew. It even got to the point where we were talking about what colour their capes would be under their jackets.
Now I don’t know if claiming all social workers as superheroes was the right thing to do – in my eyes they do an absolutely incredible job but I’m not sure that now, in the eyes of our youngest recruit they will fall short if they arrive by car rather than flying but what I do know is that, for once, he was looking at the situation in a different way. He was changing his opinion and whether it sticks like that or reverts, I don’t mind – it’s just the beginning of our journey and it is going to take a lot more than a ten minute chat to straighten things out in his brain. So, just a small heads up to any visiting social workers, remember to bring your cape!