An introduction to early childhood : a multidisciplinary by Tim Waller

By Tim Waller

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Brook’s speech is poor, his development generally delayed and he has difficulty concentrating in class. His clothes are always shabby and he never brings toys from home. Ruby explained that he always breaks his toys and spoils his clothes so that it is not worth buying him new things. He has frequent bruising to his legs, back and face. His mother says that he is clumsy and often fights with the other children. The staff have noticed his clumsiness in school but he is withdrawn rather than aggressive with both staff and other children.

Their families will have varied structures including households with several generations living together or ones with just one adult. Children and their parents will also have a range of abilities and disabilities. 9595 CHAP 2 13-26 16/6/05 8:55 am Page 15 Protecting children 15 This diversity needs to be acknowledged but it can add to the complexity of intervention because workers have to avoid condemning child care practices that are different but not worse than the mainstream, while not leaving children to be harmed by parenting that is both different and abusive.

Unexceptional context This is a setting in which children’s needs are normally met. Unfortunately, a number of crises and stresses mean that the carer/parent can no longer cope. Sometimes other children in the family continue to be well cared for but, rather like Cinderella, one child is singled out for mistreatment. In other instances all the children are affected. Case example A mother with several very young children suffered from severe postnatal depression after the birth of her new baby. Other adults such as her partner and health professionals did not notice that there was a problem.

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