The Lex Saga Continues

In July 2010 we got some news that shook our world. For the first six months of that year, Lex was being physically and verbally abused by his teacher at his pre-school in Australia. As far as we know, the abuse included hitting, kicking, throwing shoes at him, putting tape over his mouth, making him sleep outside in the sun, kicking sand at him, and more. 

We’ve never gotten to the bottom of what actually happened, because everyone zipped up in an effort to protect themselves – the school was in the process of being sold, so everyone was “gagged” and threatened with losing their jobs if the sale got screwed up. 

There was one exception, Amanda, the lady who was brave enough to report it and went through a lot of shit because she stood up – including losing her job. As far as we know, the government department responsible has done nothing, the police thought it was no big deal, and the teacher is still teaching. It was one of the main reasons we left Australia.

Two cheeky boys
We obviously went through a shocking time coming to terms with it. As I was the primary school ‘dropper-off-erer,’ I beat myself up for a long time because I didn’t see any resistance from Lex going into school. Did I miss something? 

Then I wondered is it because he thinks that’s how things are? That’s how you get treated in the world? It was a confusing, heart-breaking, and very tough time for all of us to get through. 

Coming back to Singapore really gave us a chance to move on from that time.

I know people deal with a lot worse, but that was pretty rock bottom for us. Our beautiful little lad had been hurt by someone and we couldn’t do anything about it. 

Sure we could’ve gone legal, but I drew the line at that – mainly because I really do believe it is a process that screws you up more than anything else – it’s ugly and no one wins in the end. I also couldn’t rely on witnesses, because many of them had witnessed this abuse towards other children for the past seven years without saying anything, so why would they stand up and speak now? My trust in this community was long gone.

So we decided we needed to move on and focus on giving Lex the best life we could. We wanted to show him that the world is a gentle place and that he is loved beyond measure. We work hard to reassure him every day, but are we doing enough?

Yesterday we got called into the school. For the past couple of weeks, Lex has been very physical with the teachers and they’ve had enough. One of the reasons right now is that his efforts to speak are creating frustration, but also embarrassment. 

However, we know that the deep reason is linked back to the abuse. A child psychiatrist said we can expect a recurrence of bad behaviour until he is about six or seven years old, and the main challenge will be an inability to trust outside the home.

We know he hasn’t recovered from it, but in many ways, we don’t know what to do about it, other than what we are already doing. Hey we’re just parents trying to do the best for our lads, but we’re not kid experts. 

Yesterday his gorgeous teacher said “it’s like he’s constantly pushing us, testing us, asking us to prove to him that we do love and care about him.” 

Then she said something that really shook me – “it’s like he hasn’t got any self worth.”

You know our biggest priority in raising our kids is to help them be confident. We think this is the most important asset a human being can have. And here we are with a little lad struggling with his own self worth. 

That perspective really made so much sense to me. Of course it’s about self worth. Why wouldn’t it be? During a pivotal time in his life, when he couldn’t hear properly or speak, he felt unsafe outside his family unit…

I try not to get angry about what happened – I think it is pointless – but man oh man, sometimes I wish I could….! 

But none of it matters now, all that matters is I/we do all we can to help Lex fully love and value himself, and so the next round of finding the right specialists begins…. It’s certainly stirred up a lot of emotions this week though.

Bloody kids I tell ya!!

Yours, without the bollocks


7 Responses

  1. Oh man I'm hearing you! Self worth, things that have helped my boy with increasing his self esteem & self worth.
    Going to the psychologist for counselling & to learn strategies to deal with bullies.
    Learning to play an instrument that he loves and is fun.
    Being good at a sport = swimming.
    Cooking at home and getting praised for his efforts. Lots of hugs and reassurance.
    Again I'm just a parent too trying to help my son navigate his way through a nasty experience and a very low point in his life.
    This stuff wasn't in the parenting brochure was it?

  2. Fiona my friend, brilliant, thanks! Did something happen? I definitely think the psychologist is on the cards. I think we've run out of ideas, because we are big praisers and cuddlers, etc… but he needs something else. We're definitely beating ourselves up, wondering what we're doing wrong and what more we could do, but I think it's time for outside help. The biggest problem is we've never known anyone else who's gone through it so no one to talk to about shared experiences! And there's a lot they leave out of that parenting brochure xxxxxxxx

  3. This is very sad and I am sure that you will all get through this over time. I do think however, you have an obligation to report it and let the authorities take the necessary steps so that this doesn't happen to another child. I would think that your role is to report it, and the authorities role is to do the necessary investigation and follow-up. If other workers are not helpful in the investigation that is their issue to deal with, and I'm sure they must face those circumstances regularly but have the necessary expertise to still follow it through. I can imagine it must of been extremely distressing and still is, but I also think you need to do what you can to stop this from happening to another child.

  4. I'm not sure who wrote this but you can rest assured, this was reported and reported and reported again, but no one seemed to want to do anything about it. We are still talking to the government agencies responsible but they don't seem to want to know. That's part of our frustration. We followed the procedures, but no one seemed to care….

  5. I'm so sorry that happened to Lex. I knew something had happened, but up until now didn't know, and thought you would want to tell the story when you felt right, so I didn't ask. I can understand not wanting to go legal – if you have no case or it looks unlikely you'll win then there's no sense dragging yourselves through that. On the other hand (to play devil's advocate) once the word 'litigation' comes up, government agencies seem to wake up. It's ridiculous that something hasn't been done. Was it a private or public school? I guess private if it was being sold. It's a disgrace either way that money should come before the well being of a child and that so many people should be silent.

    Have you tried things like big brother organisations? I don't know if it exists in Singapore, but having a grown up friend outside of the family might might a big difference. Just something that crossed my mind.

    I really wish you all the best of luck with helping him recover. He's so lucky to have parents like you! xxx

  6. Hey Willie, sorry I didn't reply earlier. Yeah it was REALLY shit, but it seemed we were in a shit phase in life then, so just the icing on the cake. I'll talk to you about it face-to-face when I get my arse over there – and that I will do one day I promise. It was a private kinder – most of them are – and was part of a bigger load of shite that had been going on there for years. Some people just aren't very nice you know? In some ways it was a blessing because it woke us up and made us realise we were in the wrong place for us, but still very painful to go through. I didn't want to go legal because there isn't a "win" in situations like this, just more pain, and thankfully Steve agreed with me – although sometimes he wishes we did more… who knows, we've got some ideas for follow-up action, but still waiting on the final report from the government…. we could still be waiting next year! Anyways all that matters is we help Lex and love him like there's no tomorrow. That's all that seems important. Some people back in Aus certainly aren't going to let this go but for me, all that matters is Lex xxxxxxx

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