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      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

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Canopus

Do parents really know what they want?

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Canopus   

This is a bit of an open ended question but do parents of kids with AS really know what they want from a school?

 

One way to look at this question is to imagine there is no NC, but instead, parents are required to provide a detailed list at the beginning of each year of what they would like to school to teach; what services the school should provide; and what they expect to see as the outcome at the end of the year. Whether the school is able to teach or provide the services that the parent has requested or achieve what the parent wants to see as the final outcome is a different matter.

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My mum yes, but my ex father no he did not want to accept i have learning disabilities and then my autism diagnosis either.

 

Although i was getting kicked out of a mainstream school because the staff could not handle my academic and emotional behaviour. So my mum took me to a paeditrician who assessed that a special school for people with moderate learning disabilities would be more appropriate we had a look around and they found it was appropriate and i achieved things at the school than being in a mainstream school i would not been able to of if i was not at this school.

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Sally44   

I think it is quite difficult to put all the onus onto parents to state what they think their child needs.

 

What I think we do need is an assessment process that is carried out by professionals that are not employed by the service providers. So many times, especially regarding NHS services [sALT, OT, CAHMS etc], they don't want to commit to anything because of 'funding issues'. So because they don't specify, the child's needs are not clearly identified and the provision needed to meet those needs is not quantified and specified. So how can a school deliver support or therapy for something they don't know the child even has, and don't have any specialism in. You cannot, for example, expect a school to put together a therapy programme for OCD because they are not clinical psychologists or psychiatrists. And neither could you expect a parent to be able to detail what the school would need to provide in terms of therapy or support for OCD.

 

Under the new Education and Health Care Plans, Education and Health Care professionals are legally required to quantify and specify so that their findings and recommendations are included in the Statement so that educational and health needs can be met in the educational setting [as well as at home].

 

I think that once there is an accurate Statement for a child, then the parents should have some say over how the funds are used to meet those needs. But not for the parents to provide the only input on what their child needs. After all we are parents, not trained professionals in either the education or health sectors.

 

My son is now nearly 14. Back when he was 3 I had no idea what the issues were, never mind what he needed. And over the years there have been more and more difficulties identified. If I were asked that question I think it would just overwhelm me because I just would not know where to begin.

 

I would be able to help identify relevant targets as part of a SMART IEP. And would negotiate with school over what were the current priority issues.

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Sally44   

And at the moment there is the NC, with children with SEN getting additional therapy, teaching etc added onto that, or differentiated for them.

 

Imagine if every parent was submitting to school what they wanted the school to teach their child within each lesson or skill set. The number of permutations of what the parents could ask for would be mind boggling.

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Canopus   

And at the moment there is the NC, with children with SEN getting additional therapy, teaching etc added onto that, or differentiated for them.

 

Imagine if every parent was submitting to school what they wanted the school to teach their child within each lesson or skill set. The number of permutations of what the parents could ask for would be mind boggling.

The purpose of the question is to encourage people to think from first principles.

 

Some parents have a lot of faith in the NC and believe it teaches important stuff. Some parents are highly critical of the NC in many very different ways. Some parents don't really seem to know or care what school does and doesn't teach as long as their kids just goes with the flow without any problems. Some parents consider schools primarily exist for childcare or think that the social aspects are more important than the academic aspects so don't really care about academic performance as long as there are no social problems. Some parents believe that exam grades are everything so as long as their kid gets A* grades anything else doesn't matter.

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Sally44   

Yes I agree with what you say. But the NC only applies up to end of secondary school. After that children can choose what they want to do.

 

And there can be adaptations to the NC already. Some children do not do all of the subjects because they struggle with them and would not get any grade worth mentioning in them.

 

Even for the most academic pupils, the NC is really just a nationwide framwork from which to judge abilities and skills. Most things learnt are not used again out of school. But the principles behind the learning usually are.

 

I think it would be impossible for a mainstream secondary school to deliver the vast differences there would be if parents were able to choose what and how their children were taught. That is why there are different types of school. Because some children just do not thrive in a mainstream secondary.

 

I have a very academically gifted daughter. And I have been to parents evenings when teachers have been very open about how good she is and have not mixed their words in saying that she needs to be in an environment with similar peers. One even said that those less capable were just bottoms on seats! They didn't know that I also have a child on the spectrum obviously.

 

So "inclusion" as far as I can see is just a word, that is not really implemented or believed in.

 

I do agree that those on the spectrum may need additional lessons and skills to be taught in those areas they do find difficult ie. social interaction etc. But I don't think a mainstream secondary can cover everything.

 

My son does get the academic and social skills taught at his school. The only thing we miss is keeping in touch with local children that he knew in primary. But we had to make that choice years ago due to his anxiety and failure in school - and then total school refusal in primary year 5.

 

In an ideal world, yes I would have liked him to remain at a local school. And for him to have received the teaching and therapy he needed. But it would not have happened. Or if it did happen it would have been threatened at every Annual Review as that provision is over and above what that type of school typically provides. Where he is placed now there is no fear every Annual Review, as he receives those things as part of their standard fees. And there is no way they could move him to another school as there is no evidence for it.

 

And parents not knowing or caring what school does, can apply to any child. But it would say it would usually apply to maybe a parent that did not do well in school themselves. Or it could go the other way, and because they didn't do well, they take a greater interest to ensure that their child does do well.

 

It maybe that at the higher end of the private school and paid fees that parents are less interested in the academic side, and just interested in the "name" of the school being on the CV for the connections and doors it opens?

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Canopus   

Yes I agree with what you say. But the NC only applies up to end of secondary school. After that children can choose what they want to do.

It is 11 years of a person's life and these years effectively set the framework for the rest of their life. The question looms as to whether it is 11 years well spent or could some of the 11 years be used in a better and more productive way for the future. Some 16 year olds feel happy and confident to face the future whilst others feel that much of their childhood has been a waste of time (and they are not the ones who have wasted time) and lack the confidence to face the future.

 

But the principles behind the learning usually are.

That is very debatable. The internet has been a game changer and it has been argued that the principles of learning which schools (around the world) are built on is for the pre-internet era.

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dgeorgea   

Interesting question, one minor point it kind of indicates that parents are in a better position to make decisions for their children than the individual child. It also implies that there is a real choice, one of the great modern lies to parents.

 

One thing I always did was involve my daughter in the decisions, after all she was the one who would be spending time doing the studying.

 

When it came to making choices for what GCSEs she would do a lot of pressure was put on her to do courses that were 'equivalent' to 2 or more GCSEs. Her choice was for 12 individual GCSE courses and we backed her decisions. Several teachers approached us afterwards to say they were relieved with her choices as the others do not really carry as much weight.

 

I don't agree that it is always the school or teachers who are at fault.

 

I have had numerous conversations with teenagers who blame the school but fail to see their own part in the problem. The typical remark being 'if teachers showed me some respect I would show it to them!'

 

So you line up quietly outside the class room until told to go in, go in sit down and get your books and pen ready for the teacher to start teaching?

 

The usual answer being no we mess around, send text messages or talk to our friends.

 

So the bottom line is they start out disrespecting their teachers but expect their teacher to earn their respect. They don't see they might be the problem.

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Mihaela   

 

I don't agree that it is always the school or teachers who are at fault.

 

So the bottom line is they start out disrespecting their teachers but expect their teacher to earn their respect. They don't see they might be the problem.

Nor do I, not by any means, however, the profession does attract controlling, authoritarian personalities in disproportionate numbers. Some teachers are even sociopaths, and if they become headteachers the entire atmosphere of the school reflects this. I've known of good, caring teachers to be driven out of the profession due to this.

 

If the children disrespect the good teachers (the bad ones are not worthy of respect) I agree they have a problem. I worked with children for 20 years and have seen a few cheeky and nasty ones in that time, but the vast majority were decent enough. I blame their parents, their chosen peer group and the toxic influence of the mass media.

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dgeorgea   

As the children I'm talking about were usually between 13 and 16 I blame them, unless there is an underlying cause such as autism and even then not always.

 

I am always bemused at how quickly we are in blaming others for young people's actions, rather than holding them responsible for their own choices and behaviours. Equally how we tend to avoid or deny the influence we each have as a society in general.

 

Absolutely poor parenting has its part to play, but also good parents have kids that go off the rail. My parents raised 3 well behaved children and then me. If we are going to undo the affects of toxic parenting and other influences though we need to start instilling personal responsibility. My daughter learned at an early age that if she had done something wrong starting her reasons by blaming others was going to make things worse. I have always applied this principle even when dealing with other young people. It is not about dismissing the influences of others but rather getting young people to understand why they choose to do something.

 

To give an example when she was young she threw a tantrum in a shop and started shouting and swearing at the adults around her. After I calmed her down I asked her why and she said she was angry because she had been waiting to ask for what she wanted but the staff kept ignoring her and the adults kept pushing in. To give the staff their due the one who ignored her apologised and explained she had not seen our daughter and after that when another member of staff saw her come in they made sure whoever was serving was aware she was in the queue.

 

Similarly in an example I have given elsewhere where she got home in the early hours her explanation didn't start with 'because my friend wouldn't come home' but rather she chose to stay with her friend than abandon her leaving her more vulnerable.

 

I think we are also too quick to each deny our responsibility as member of our society for the problems we see. One example I give of this is I taught my daughter to queue up for a bus, society taught her to put her head down and force her way onto the bus. How often do we consider the example we provide for young people and children in the way we interact with each other. Perhaps because I live in the middle of London I regularly see examples of this. It can be seen in the abusive way we talk to shop assistants, or one of my favourites, having to spend a minute or so admonishing the bus driver because he is late further delaying the bus. There are plenty of other examples a lot more serious. I am not saying you as an individual set a bad example, but in general while we blame other influences we seem to ignore the examples adults set in front of children.

 

As for authoritarian figures I always got on better with those types at school. They set clear boundaries and expectations. It didn't stop me kicking off but I was less resentful towards them when it came to taking my punishment. When I finally learned the lesson of taking personal responsibility and wanted to change I found they were also my biggest advocates. Everyone expected me to stumble, but while others were happy to say it showed I hadn't changed they helped me to develop the tools and skills to learn how to control myself.

 

I do agree that most children and young people are basically good, but can make poor choices. I also hate the way children are portrayed by the mass media. Very quick to bemoan the excesses of our young, but a lot slower in recognising a lot of good they do. Also it is hardly new for older generations to moan about the younger generations.

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Livelife   

The fact of whether parents know what's best for their children is based on their own experience and knowledge and how they are as people that effects how much or how accurate their perspective is going to be.

In this world you will be expected to be perfect make the right choices and act in a way that isn't offensive or upset others and be politically correct at all time, otherwise you are demonised by others or reported to the relevant people within organisations.

Nobody is perfect we all have to learn by our mistakes and when your an autistic parent you will face many challenges that disable your abilities as a parent, an NT parent will not in general realise these restrictions neither will society they take things for granted.

A lot of people will blame the parent when something goes wrong is that right no it isn't right in my opinion, in respect of autistic parents I've heard arguments that proclaimed autistic people should not have children they should be sterilised helping prevent autism within family's. That's a different topic not the here but I will say this is an opinion I do not agree with and take issue with anyone that does I feel very strongly on this.

Parents make choices some right some wrong so no blame should be apportioned if in retrospect they would do something different which has better results it's a lesson learned not a mistake support them in doing the right thing.

In relation to personal responsibility of the child that is no different it's very much a personal development issue and in the case of many here whether or not your child is autistic or has other issues but not related to autism all this must be taken into consideration.

You can not blame or give criticism on a child that knows no better they need experience and lessons to understand it's about support and encouragement not punishing or applying blame to a young human.

If your shown and things explained in a positive way and the child knows they are being supported and not in trouble you will in the vast majority of cases receive a good and positive response.

You punish give detention take away a child's toys or threaten you create a person that will not tell you the truth will hide from you the things they have done wrong through lack of knowledge and try to blame others because of the fear of what will happen to them if they own up.

This sounds very familiar how people react in life the current way we discipline children creates adults and look how adults act today in this world how many treat us I think that is a good indication into the failing of our children because of how people who should know better react.

How do I know this, it's years of experience of getting things wrong, as a younger person I had no support in society and was critically spoken of my whole life and yes I still am being talked about because of my autistic diagnosis.

I had the support of my parents but they knew nothing about autism just loved and cared for me as a good parent should. If it wasn't for their support even though they didn't know why I was the way I was I would most probably been institutionalised or ended up in prison or living on the streets.

I'm forty nine and live with my mother and partner I could never manage on my own without a lot of problems and issues that would gradually get worse unless I did get support from another source.

I have learned by getting things wrong it's that simple, I've learned by taking notice what good people do not what school work or society expects I didn't understand them then and I don't know.

I've learned communication with the written word it's taken until nearly fifty years of age to get this far, I still cant communicate and understand well verbally I misunderstand and misinterprete if I do that's if I don't get stressed so I struggle to be there at all.

I take longer to write than most people need to compile my thoughts and think deeply, in earlier life I had no experience and knew far less than I do today and life was very unpleasant.

Parents and children are the same constantly learning evolving never perfect so the very idea that blame is correct or even taking responsibility for what you do is not right it's wrong and created by a culture of blame that made my life awful.

It's support and understanding that's needed so your not afraid to say and do things and that will encourage you to learn without fear of judgment and punishment that only encourages a child to lie self preservation an instinct in all people but that then limits responsibility of truth through fear.

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dgeorgea   

Hi Livelife,

 

"Parents and children are the same constantly learning evolving never perfect so the very idea that blame is correct or even taking responsibility for what you do is not right it's wrong and created by a culture of blame that made my life awful."

 

I could not disagree with this sentiment more, though as you say our views are often developed and coloured by our experiences.

 

Most of my childhood I neither accepted the blame or responsibility for what I did. In most cases it was in reaction to either a threat or wrong. Someone I grew up with paid a high price for me to learn that lesson. He was very similar to me in relation to the above but he would lash out when there was not a threat or wrong. To give an example I saw him pin another child's hand to a table by sticking a knife through it.

 

I promised him if he kept it up I would not mess about I would kill him, At the time it was something I was certainly capable of doing and we both knew it. He chose to act first by trying to drown me, did not succeed and the teachers got us before I could retaliate. We were kept seperate on the way back to school and to be honest by the time we got back I had lost interest. I did not even notice I had not seen him the rest of the day. After the weekend I was called to the headteachers office and questioned about what had happened after we got back and I honestly told them nothing happened.

 

I later found out he had run away from the school and at some point over the weekend he had a complete breakdown and was sectioned and sedated in hospital. After all that I had done this was what pulled me up and made me take a good long look at who I was and I didn't like what I saw. It was not until I accepted the blame for what I had done and started to take responsibility for my own actions that I was able to start to change. It would have been incredibly easy for me to justify what happened, similarly as I had not had a chance to threaten him or take any other form of action and the type of person he was to say that I was not responsible. I never found out what happened to him after that. He never returned to the school and even talking to a teacher years later it was the one thing about my childhood he would not discuss.

 

If we do not accept the blame for our wrong doing or responsibility for our action how then do we change? Why would we after all we would not accept that we have done something wrong so why change?

 

There was a time with my daughter when things had gotten really bad. I knew it was wrong but could not break the cycle. When I spoke to my doctor about it he dismissed it. I was genuinely concerned that I would end up hurting my daughter. It was about this time that we found out she probably had aspergers and reading up on it a lot of things started clicking into place. I have always said that it helped me to find my daughter and I stopped parenting a child and began being a parent to an individual. But there was a time when I seriously considered it would be better for my daughter if I just left. I knew she felt the same way. However in discovering who she was I discovered her true strength of character and in the end decided that if she could cope with all she was putting up with she deserved a lot better and a lot more from me. So discovering she had aspergers did not change who she was, but it changed me. Again because I accepted the blame for what was going on and accepted personal responsibility and did something about it.

 

Fortunately you are right, as parents we can learn and change. As a result I have a fantastic relationship with my daughter now, even though she does remember those darker days in our relationship.

 

We do talk on another forum, and so I may be making the wrong assumption here, if so I am sorry, but I do want to address the last bit of the quote from your post above.

 

There is another sort of blame, one that others would put on us unjustly.

 

I spent most of my working life in warehousing of one sort or another from MOD, chemicals including acids and heavy metals to stationery. I knew I was good at what I did and so did others, to the extent I was sought out and asked to be part of a team to sort a warehouse that was having huge problems, including an area with returned stock worth over £2 million. When I started my last job I found I was getting the blame for a lot of items going missing. I could not understand why so took extra care but still my name kept coming up. Eventually I had enough and having done a 12 hour night shift I stayed to speak to a friend. We went through the last lot of items I was 'responsible' for. We found I was responsible for most because I signed the goods in when checking the delivery. That was as far as he went. Inside two hours I found all the missing items, one of which came in when I was off, including the reasons why they got misplaced. When I complained about it I was told not to worry about it, which I did not accept as when something went wrong it was always my name which came up. It was eventually dealt with.

 

My relationship with this person was mixed over the years. I learned to take steps to protect myself, and eventually he was caught deliberately hiding stock which resulted in an important customer being very upset. I had not checked the stock that night due to a fire next door and having to vacate the premises for several hours. However the night before I had taken photos and it had been there then. In the end he admitted he had hidden it to 'check if I was doing my job properly'.

 

People like this, and I have met many, can do a lot of damage especially in undermining the person's confidence. You did your last job well for many years, it is unlikely you would have lasted so long if not. Your abilities did not change, your competence did not change. Those around you did and that is not your fault. Looking for a new job is stressful and I hope you find one soon with a company that appreciate the strengths you bring to them.

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Livelife   

I was sorry to read about your experience it was a really horrific experience for your but you did learn from it and developed your opinions on excepting responsibility for what had happened and I can see your reasoning.

The reason I say it's not right to apportion blame has nothing to do with developing and learning what is exceptable or when certain people need to restrained for their own safety or that of others around them.

It's the culture I am referring to and while a individual may have done something technically that is defined as wrong if they have learned from It realised where they have acted inappropriately then I can't see why they should be blamed for doing something that they didn't realise at the time if they didn't fully understand the implications of their actions.

I would say that they should be congratulated for knowing what they did wasn't exceptable and changing their way of being of moving forward in a way that is better for themselves and others.

There is a difference in doing something knowing it is wrong and doing something if you didn't know it was wrong, under the law it would be diminished responsibility a moment where you were not in control of your actions for the reason that effected the individual.

You can't change what it means to be human, I've been trying to change my thoughts obsessions trying to change so people will except and like me and I can't do it. I'm not excepted by people for who I am because they won't tolerate me, some people will most won't.

I do not like them agree with them and enjoy watching how they treat other people but until they learn and see and develop their humanity are they at fault and need to be blamed for their treatment of others. Is it's somebody's responsibility if they genuinely do not understand.

This may be fine as an adult because there is a greater level of understanding but in a child that needs to learn being to strict shows them not to show their feelings and hide the truth.

If a child does something inappropriate and just sees it as an event doesn't know they are acting wrongly then an adult comes along who is bigger than them can shout at them pull them about easily or smack them as many do then what does this teach.

If a child does not understand yet gets beaten anyway after a few times of this an adult says who done that the child will think I'm not saying anything because if I do I will get hit and it will hurt it will not matter if they did it intentionally or not all they will think is that I'm in trouble and won't want to be hurt.

Then they will start to lie and once this happens you begin a culture that as they grow into adults telling lies not admitting to what you have done remains as you move into adult life you have been cultured in this way initially out of blame responsibility and fear of retribution. The same applies to religion the fear of God, that's what was installed into people you have to fear your creator it's madness, the same as children will fear adults and try to gain favour by blaming others to avoid punishment.

It starts in a small way very insignificant but as a child grows this grows with them and you get adults with the opinions that make our lives not worth living sometimes.

That's why I don't think you need to apportion blame or even enforce the notion of responsibility because with children they will not understand that concept a small child will see things very simplistic usually about themselves as simple as if do what this person wants I will get sweets if they are angry I will get hit and hurt which concept would you then adopt as a child creating dishonesty to get what they want. This distorts in the mind the concept of right if your young enough so that diminished your responsibilities as your not fully aware creating adults that make today's world that we are all victims of.

This said you need restraints for those that create intolerable situations it doesn't mean you must allow them to do what they wish without consequences.

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Mihaela   

There's such a lot I could say on this, but l don't have time.

Firstly I feel I need to clarify what I mean by 'authoritarian personalities'. Quite possibly you never met one at school. If so, you were lucky. I use the term as it would be used by psychologists. Briefly according to wikipedia: "Authoritarian personality is a state of mind or attitude characterised by belief in absolute obedience or submission to one's own authority, as well as the administration of that belief through the oppression of one's subordinates." It's a personality lacking in empathy and closely associated with sociopathy/psychopathy. Any position involving control of others attracts this type of personality. Such people make very bad role models.

 

I suspect that you mean teachers who are 'firm but fair', teachers who use their position of authority wisely and don't abuse it. The difference is enormous. These people make good role models.

 

One big problem for young people in the English-speaking world (and increasingly elsewhere) is the promoting of very bad role models by the mass media - almost always wealthy 'celebrities' lacking in morals and merit. Even our politicians, police, etc. repeatedly show very low ethical standards. Families are drenched with sordid 'soaps' and unreal 'reality shows' invading their homes that even celebrate unethical behaviour and turn it into a kind of perverse entertainment. Too many parents are complicit in allowing their children to behave badly, and too many children willingly do so, for they see it as 'cool' and grown-up.

Society actively promotes selfishness, vanity and greed from all directions - all motivated by making a few (already rich) people even more money. Following in the USA's footsteps, rampant consumerism has virtually become the national 'religion'. Our children are swamped with the influences of intense peer pressure, dubious teen magazines, demeaning pornography, not to mention the worry of having to pass exams that lack meaning in their lives, the 'designer label' mentality, their body image, their 'like counts' on Facebook, etc. What more can we expect when we see young people go off the rails? So many neurotypical 'values' sadden me.

Edited by Mihaela

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Livelife   

There's such a lot I could say on this, but l don't have time.

Firstly I feel I need to clarify what I mean by 'authoritarian personalities'. Quite possibly you never met one at school. If so, you were lucky. I use the term as it would be used by psychologists. Briefly according to wikipedia: "Authoritarian personality is a state of mind or attitude characterised by belief in absolute obedience or submission to one's own authority, as well as the administration of that belief through the oppression of one's subordinates." It's a personality lacking in empathy and closely associated with sociopathy/psychopathy. Any position involving control of others attracts this type of personality. Such people make very bad role models.

 

I suspect that you mean teachers who are 'firm but fair', teachers who use their position of authority wisely and don't abuse it. The difference is enormous. These people make good role models.

 

One big problem for young people in the English-speaking world (and increasingly elsewhere) is the promoting of very bad role models by the mass media - almost always wealthy 'celebrities' lacking in morals and merit. Even our politicians, police, etc. repeatedly show very low ethical standards. Families are drenched with sordid 'soaps' and unreal 'reality shows' invading their homes that even celebrate unethical behaviour and turn it into a kind of perverse entertainment. Too many parents are complicit in allowing their children to behave badly, and too many children willingly do so, for they see it as 'cool' and grown-up.

Society actively promotes selfishness, vanity and greed from all directions - all motivated by making a few (already rich) people even more money. Rampant consumerism is almost the national 'religion'. Our children are swamped with the influences of intense peer pressure, dubious teen magazines, demeaning pornography, not to mention the worry of having to pass exams that lack meaning in their lives, the 'designer label' mentality, their body image, their 'like counts' on Facebook, etc. What more can we expect when we see young people go off the rails? So many neurotypical 'values' sadden me.

That explains things very well I wish I had your concept and grasp on the realities of living in today's world, it's more in depth in understanding and expression than I am capable of. I saw the same thing but in a better way of understanding the situations our young people are facing today. Always enjoy reading your posts.

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Livelife   

I just realised how I wrote my response, I didn't mean i saw things in a better way than you I just wrote the above the wrong way I didn't mean it to sound that way at all.

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