Wednesday 3 October 2012

There for the Grace of God, go I.....

As I write this I don't know if April Jones is alive or dead. Either way the outcome is and will be for a very long time a tragedy for those around her and for her to deal and live with. A while ago I was asked to take part in Blogging for Madeline. You can read my post here about how many times I lost my children whilst on holiday and on day trips. I'm not proud to report I've ever lost my kids, but things happen, you cannot be in control of your children 24/7. I tweeted this, this morning 'I think I'm a good parent, educated, married, stable life....I've lost my kids numerous times, don't judge #apriljones #thereforthegrace...' 'Remember the place you live is different from everyone else, we've raised kids in country, towns and abroad #apriljones' 'Don't judge people by your values & standards as there is always someone ready to judge you and you'll say they're not justified #apriljones' I also replied to someone that I didn't think 7pm was too late for a 5 year old to be playing outside. I had a mixed response. To me allowing a child to roam free is going to end up in trouble, whatever age they are, wherever they live and regardless of the family situation. But then I know a lot of parents who never gave their children any freedom or responsibility and they've turned out......well we all know someone, we all disagree with how other people raise their kids, but do we ever stop for a minute and think about our parenting, the decisions we make? So your child has tea at someone else's house and they come home and tell you 'mummy, my friends mum said I could have pudding if I ate all my food, but I didn't like the food mummy and she gave her daughter pudding but I didn't get any' Honestly? You'd be aghast, you'd complain, you'd tell all the mums in the playground, you may even approach the parent and you'd certainly not let your daughter go play there again. Or are you the type of parent that would be aghast if your child was given pudding after they left their food? Same response no doubt? I'm a child of the 70's I remember growing up in a cul de sac up North and clearly recall playing outside in the summer when it was dark, walking the mile each way to school with my friends, we moved South when I was 11. When I had my kids I moved to a cul de sac, in the country, the only community apart from the Doctors and shop was this cul de sac, opposite the school, we took it in turns to take the kids to school, we had a walking bus (without the hassles) I lived there from 1993-2002 when I left my kids were aged 10, 7 and 3. They played outside in the late afternoons, early evenings with the other children, they climbed over the gates and the walls and you often fed extra kids or yours came home with an ice cream from one of the neighbours, they crossed the road to the park in groups, the older girls collected the baby in his pram and took him for walks. I'd spend hours in the woods calling the children in for dinner. When we moved in 2002 we moved to a town, we lived on a street, 7 miles from a city, a ten minute walk from the main line from Birmingham to London. We opened our front door and launched our kids into their new surroundings and they limped home as no one was out, kids just didn't go out to play, the park was empty apart from a few older teenagers on the swings. School told me that my kids were too street wise for their ages and it intimidated some of the other children. My kids are angels, but they ain't trouble either, a few spats over the years, a couple of fights and a few visits from the police about things my children witnessed, but weren't involved in. I worked for 15 years as a youth worker, inner city and in the country, there are good and bad kids wherever you go and that means there are good and bad children. You just don't know how a bad parent could have such a well adjusted kid and vice versa, but it happens. Twitter is full of critism for the parents of missing April Jones, people are judging the family by their own upbringing, their values and standards and it's just not on. Tell me what do you think of a young woman having a child out of wed lock, barely out of her teens, her child has never seen his Father, the mother could walk past him in the street after 20 years and not recognise him. She then lives off a few government benefits, sticks him in a creche and works, marries, has two further kids then leaves her husband, the youngest child only a year old and soon after sets up house with a new bloke and his two kids? Do you identify or more likely do you judge? I know that woman and her kids are well adjusted, been to college, left home to follow good careers, call her up when they need help, have set up savings accounts and pensions, talk to her when they need things and ask for help. Tonight, I, that woman get on a plane to go and spend 3 weeks with those children. They don't think I'm a bad mum, I don't think I'm a bad mum, but some people do because they don't know, they only choose to see things the way the media portrays people. So don't judge April Jones's family, don't even judge the family of the man who has been arrested.......there are bad people everywhere and there for the grace of God, go I.


  1. Those that live in glass house and all that comes to mind, we live on a quiet village and the boys have always been allowed to play out in the close and in the last year let the go over the park, call friends and race around village on their bikes and disappear into the woods to climb tree and build camps, It's how I remember my child hood (scraped knees mud in the hair mum shouting at dusk for us to come in... thank god for mobiles now) and its what I want for my boys. A good friend keeps her grandson (she's adopted him as his mum has mental health issues) in he is now 7 and can see he wants to get out and play but is kept close, I dont judge my freind as i know what this lad has been through. It's hard not to judge, i took my eye off the ball at the seaside and eldest walked from west to east whittering along the shore (he was 5) and it was the longest 2 hrs if my life looking for him but he was found when he started playing with a couple of girls , and I felt I was being judged by the mind at school because I had taken the boys to the seaside and one had got lost.

  2. 5 year olds shouldn't be allowed to play outside on their own, in the dark, at 7pm. Just my opinion. Mine was in bed by that time.

    Best wishes to April - hope she's ok.