Tuesday 13 March 2012

The forgotten expat children

My children are not angels, I acknowledge and can point out their faults just as quick as you can.

If you've followed me for a while on here and twitter, prior to us moving to South Africa, you'll know the hassles we've had with them at school, fights, ex partners criticising how we've raised 5 kids, disability, being a step mum etc.

When my kids get into petty squabbles I tell them to toughen up and walk away. Life is crap sometimes, just picture the other child in 5yrs times asking you 'do you want fries with that?'

But if my children are wronged then lord help you, I will not take it sitting down.

Today my pre teen (he's 13 next month) comes out of school in a right state, he's struggling to breathe through the tears. He won't tell me what is wrong so I go into school with him.

I speak to the head who knows nothing about this other than my son has been sent to her for bullying another child.

Except my son wasn't bullying, my son retaliated to a years worth of verbal abuse of being told to go back to his own country, as a pom he's not welcome here. Both kids have been subjected to this and hubby was verbally abused after defending me when a guy smacked me in the face with a block of ice, drawing blood, just because I was English.

It's plain and simple racism.

Unfortunately the boy my son retaliated against hadn't racially abused him, just accused him of wiping a bogey on his school book and told on my son who was given 2 defaults for disturbing the lesson, he hadn't done that and objected and was given another 3 defaults for arguing. He called the other boy gay, not as in homosexual, just gay in the way lots of kids use the word. Whether it's right or not, that's what kids do. Except this child went home and told his mum that my son had called him names, but he didn't tell his mum he was called gay, he told his mum that my son called him a 'fucking wanker'

So the parent comes into school and complains that my son is bullying her son and my son must be punished, so further sanctions are given and hence my son coming out of school in floods of tears.

I start off calmly with the head, how dare the school accept the word of one child and his mother, label my son as a bully, my son admits calling the other boy gay as he'd got him into trouble, the school issue sanctions and my child does not have the right to reply and neither am I informed, which is completely out of order.

And then it all comes out, the bullying, the name calling, the prefect who calls him 'Oi English boy' and puts him on litter duty for no reason. The teachers who issue sanctions to my son, but let the other child off for the same offence.

Last week I approached the school as I was fed up with endless sanctions against both boys, my youngest is dyslexic but he's just told he's lazy, the teachers who ambush me to tell me their lack of historical and geographical knowledge of South Africa is dire, the way my children write, spell is atrocious, they have no idea of the UK education system, yet expect my children to relearn everything their way in a year.

My son sees a councillor. He's labelled manipulative, which I don't disagree with, he passes the blame to deflect any trouble from him, but he does not cry.

We initially found the following incident funny but in retrospect it's not.

First day back of term the English teacher told my eldest class that she wanted her classroom to be treated like they treated their homes, keep it clean and tidy, adding unlike these British people who have messy, dirty homes.

At this my son puts his hand up and says 'miss, I'm British, my home isn't messy or dirty and we don't have a maid to tidy up behind us'

I guess I've ignored my children's adaptation to living in a foreign country, they made friends very quickly, joined all the clubs in and out of school, get invited to all the parties and the girls love their accents. I though they were OK.

I spent the first few months focusing on them leaving their dad and massive family full of aunts, uncles and cousins in the UK and the last few months have been all about me and how difficult I've been finding things.

Well no more, I'm their mum, it's time to buck my ideas up and turn my attention to my expat kids.


  1. Go you girl.....How awful for the kids.

    Thankfully, we do not seem to have had anything like that here, although my youngest did get into a fight with another boy who kept teasing him while they were playing football and eventually started trying to push him around - but thankfully nothing relating to being English...Over here the English accent is something of a babe magnet I believe, and lots of my sons friends seem obsessed with asking them to say 'water' repeatedly....lol

    If only everywhere could be so welcoming where children are concerned.

    Lou :-)

    1. I keep getting told 'I don't think it was meant that way' when I complain

  2. When we were (English) living in Scotland, during the World Cup my son's school friends all supported 'whichever team is playing England', and celebrated when England lost. When I asked the teacher about it, she said she saw no evidence of it in the classroom (everyone had picked teams out of a hat and so everyone was supporting a different, random team), and said she couldn't vouch for what was happening in the playground. My son was 8 at the time. I thought that they should have known what was happening in the playground at that age, but I didn't pursue it, as he seemed to be dealing with it really well, and I thought it was important to let him do that. He just thought they were jealous because Scotland hadn't even qualified, and told them that!

    It's odd how racism can be acceptable in certain situations in today's world.

    1. I think it gets denied as they are embarrassed it's happened and don't know what to say or do