Easy Tiger Parent System™

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Jennifer McLeod

How Do You Stop Or Deal With Manipulative Parents?

Born To Win!: Success Strategies for Young Businesses and New Entrepreneurs

18 May 2007

Children Taking On Adult Responsibilities

Aged 12 And Looking After the Family
Channel 4 Monday 5 February 2007

This programme highlighted stories of British children who have had to take on adult responsibilities because of parental illness or disability.

As a mother and someone that works with young people, I found this programme disturbing and disheartening, with the portrayal of one family in particular. This was the family the blind/partially blind couple who want a large family of 7 or 8 just because their parents both had large families. I have no problems with people with disabilities having their own families and having as good a life as they can get within this challenging society that we live in today. However, my challenge was – and what disturbed me most, was the undue stress and heartache that the eldest children, 12 year old and 9 year old girls, had to endure looking after a family of 8, including the parents.

The toll on the two eldest girls was so visibly immense, so much so that the 9 year old attempted suicide when she was 8 years old, with very little support to deal with the situation. The Young Carer’s Association could only help her if she was actually carrying out ‘caring’ duties within the home, something which she couldn’t cope with but had to do. Additionally, she gets bullied at school because of her parents’ disabilities.

The eldest girl seemed to be devoid of emotion and insisted that she wouldn’t want a family of her own when she is older. They had four younger brothers, three of whom were pre-school children, to care for. The children carried out normal parental responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, washing, caring for the younger ones including getting them sorted in the mornings before going to school and changing their dirty nappies (which had been left on them all day) when they got back from school. The parents refused extra help from Social Services, insisting that they could manage.

Even with the undue stress on the eldest children of taking on such a burden at their tender age, the parents still insisted that they will continue having more children, so that the children all ‘share the workload of looking after them in their old age’. The reality is that not all the children will help out equally, if at all, especially as they get older and the chances are that the eldest two children will still be playing ‘mum and dad’ to a family of 9 or 10 if the parents continue with their plan.

With Inspirational Blessings

Jennifer McLeod
Step Up! International Ltd

Tel: +44 (0) 121 551 1668/ +44 (0) 845 056 3840

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