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HoneyPancakes

Respecting Family Choices Outside the Law

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I'm a bit conflicted.  I have a family of three boys in my care aged three to eight who are gun and fighting mad.  In the spirit of respecting children's choices and encouraging engagement I don't crack down too hard unless it's overtly dangerous, and if they make their own guns they can use them, but we don't have toy weapons otherwise.  We've heard the arguments for not banning guns as it might damage the relationship with parents who work with fire arms (police, army and other forces for example).  Increasingly though I'm hearing comments such as, 'My dad says if the cops lock us up we can just pay them off,'  and other similar comments disrespectful to authority.  I know these children have access to computer games that are much too old for them (I wouldn't let my much older children see the sort).  Also, but maybe not connected, the father would not even discuss accessing childcare vouchers to pay me and so payed thousands of pounds over the odds over the past few years.  So, do I continue to nod and smile, or challenge head-on?  I don't think the boys are at risk other than access to inappropriate material, but that's another issue.  I'd appreciate others' thoughts on the matter.  

Honey

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Good morning Honey,

I would want to have a conversation with Dad as a general chat about how the children are playing and the things they are saying. I'd be trying to cut a middle path between smiling and nodding and challenging head-on. I would certainly be documenting and dating all my concerns to date in case I needed to raise a safeguarding issue further down the line. I think a general progress review and update / parents evening conversation would be my starting point. If dad was worried about giving his name to access childcare vouchers it sounds like there are some other issues that might come to light in a gentle conversation. I would then review after that what I would like to do next and how to proceed. Being at risk from exposure to inappropriate material is a safeguarding concern and is beginning to ring 'Prevent' duty alarms bells for me. I'd be having the conversation and then making a call to the LADO if I remained unsure.

 

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Thanks Rebecca.  

You've clarified the issues well.  Think I will have a word with Children's Services.  I really don't want to confront Dad.  He scares me in an understated way.  My reading of the childcare vouchers issue was from a sexist point of view.  If Mum wanted to go out to work she had to pay for the childcare - and she didn't have access to vouchers.  The big boys' behaviour has been so bad this week that I'm considering giving notice, or at least suggesting school clubs before and after school.   

Unsuitable gaming is rife around here.  There were boys in my own sons class who were watching 18 plus  games in Reception class - about ten years ago.  The behaviour was a reflection of what they saw.   

Off to bed.

Thanks again,

Honey

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DO you have any local law enforcement who could do a visit? either police or community warden? could you have a chat with them and ask them to pop in to after school club...not to lecture the children but to show themselves in a positive light and foster trust with the group? i wonder if this might be a way of challenging some of the perceptions without causing conflict.

You could contact health visitors and see if they have any concerns recorded about the family.

I agree this is a safeguarding issue though especially for the younger ones...what do school say?

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