Single parent discrimination
11 May 2021 at 7:50 am #54015
Im new to this site. A little bit about me. I was a medical student with 2 small children when i was widowed i went on to have a child with my new partner who in lockdown walked out after 11 years. I live in a very nice area in a nice house and wow as soon as my partner left everyone has completely changed there attitude towards me particularly the school of my youngest child examples… Clearly i cant afford to keep my home (its actually my house i own it i renovate houses and i have done this alone shock horror without a man) then all of a sudden tje school start dropping by with books and asking if i need a computer (we have a house full of computers) and then to top it all off i end up im hospital due to an eating disorder and after discharge i go to a meeting at my youngest child’s school and low and behold im actually a bit ill looking exhausted and still suffering dehydration which was made apparent at the meeting to then have a promise from the school they will make referrals to get me more support with my eating disorder to then get a phone call from a social worker who says school have said that they were concerned i had gone to the meeting drunk and drugged (i dont drink and so not do drugs and i was a drug and alcohol treatment practitioner) all because i am a single parent… I am supporting 2 autistic children not struggling but yes am suffering from an eating disorder and am going to be getting help with this. I live in a almost gated type residence where i am the only single parent and now seen as i am someone who should probably not be here.11 May 2021 at 11:12 am #54019
Hi there, it sounds like a tough time right now with a lot of raw emotions whirling around, and I get why things feel bad.
If I’m being really honest, what I read in your message doesn’t really scream “single parent discrimination” to me.
I will confess to self stigmatising over being a single parent, and projecting that onto others so I see everything they do/say through the lens of my own self loathing … I think this is what’s happening here. I think you might be making assumptions about other people’s behaviour and opinion towards you. Self stigma can make it feel like everyone is suddenly treating you differently … it can feel very real.
The laptop thing: all I see is that the school are trying to help. If anything it’s positive discrimination, which isn’t illegal. The fact that you’ve reacted so negatively to their offer of support for your kids reinforces my view that the problem may be your own.
Drunk/drugs thing: the school have a duty of care to your children, hence the social worker involvement, which I’ll admit should have been handled much, much better… social workers aren’t something to fear though – I almost became a child protection social worker myself – *if* you get a decent one, it should be about having a conversation and working with you to support whatever is going on …
I will add that eating disorders are often accompanied by other issues and I wouldn’t wait for anyone else to get you support – get some yourself. You can self refer to IAPT for starters, or go to your GP and get a specialist referral. A flare up right now is understandable, so much has changed and you’re looking for control. Controlling what we put / keep in our bodies is a alluringly simple method of regaining a sense of control… but if it’s landing you in hospital then it’s become out of control – so not really helping you much, which is a potential downward spiral. Talking might help.
Being a single parent when it wasn’t in your life’s roadmap is rubbish. I struggle with my own prejudices about what a “single mum” label means … but I’m trying to accept that it just means we work harder and longer to be both sides of the coin for our children. It makes us stronger, more determined, more capable individuals – even if it doesn’t always feel like it.
And if people offer you support: grab it with both hands. You’re only one person. Take all the help you can get.11 May 2021 at 12:28 pm #54023
Stigma towards single parents is still an issue in society. But, I agree that some of this sounds like self stigmatizing and projection. I have done the exact same thing myself also. When things are very difficult and we feel very alone, I think we can all do this. The school situation has made this very pronounced and must be making you feel really self conscious.
Some friends and acquaintances may treat you differently for a variety of reasons. The sad, harsh truth of life is sometimes when everything falls apart (your status, your finances, your health) then many people keep their distance. It’s almost like an instinctive thing. No one wants to be reminded that this could happen to them, nor do they want to over extend themselves to support anyone in too much need, because they can only just cope with their own needs. The good news is there are loads of people out there who want to help, there are alot of people like you (on here for example) who can relate and offer support as we have an understanding of some of these struggles. I too went from being a high flyer with my own home, to a very physically unwell, poor, incapable looking mum (due to illness and lots of other issues) and it was an awful experience.
Social services just want to tick some boxes and then cover their backs and close the case. So just play along and take everything they offer you and they’ll be happy to leave you to it. The help you might ask from S.S would probably be anything that supports your kids. Do you need financial help, or respite care for example. Explain that you want support with your eating disorder and can they advise where you may get this help. With regards to the eating disorder, I would not rely on the school to help with this too much. This is a serious condition and you need alot of emotional support. I don’t believe the school will be capable of helping you adequately tbh. Mental health services on the NHS are not great at the moment. If you sourced a private therapist who has a specialism in this I believe in your position they would offer a discount for you, (I’d recommend a female). I’m a huge advocate of counselling and this brought me from a complete wreck on the floor after I lost almost everything I knew to the strongest I have ever been.
The school will soon see you are a great mum and human being. Just let things play out and worry about accessing all the support you can right now, keep yourself to yourself at school until the dust settles and you regain confidence. Challenge their reports ref alcohol and drugs in writing and explain matter of factly this is incorrect but keep the emotions out of it. You will get S.S off your back once they see you are capable you just need support with your health at the moment.
Ref friends, maybe just avoid any one who says anything negative or non supportive to you right now. If your friends are not propping you up, distance yourself until you are stronger. If your neighbours give you the impression they’re judging you then try remember most people only give us a passing thought and are too focused on their own lives and feelings of inadequacy!
You will get through this x