'Like being in an abusive relationship': Readers react to Bamber Bridge mum’s life with violent teen son

A Bamber Bridge mum who fears being evicted over her 14-year-old son’s violent and antisocial behaviour says the system has failed her family. But what do Lancashire Post readers think about the support available for parents of children with additional needs?

By Laura Longworth
Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 12:07 pm

Kathryn Murray (39) worries Progress Housing Group will evict her family due to Lewis Deakin’s involvement in teenage gangs. This is despite the mum-of-three “begging” authorities for more professional support for Lewis’ behavioural conditions, named Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

When Lancashire Post shared her story, several people also opened up about feeling neglected by authorities regarding their child’s additional needs.

One Facebook user, Kirst Read, threw her support behind Kathryn, saying she is struggling to access medical help for her child’s behavioural condition.

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Bamber Bridge mum Kathryn Murray (39) worries Progress Housing Group will evict her family due to her son Lewis Deakin’s involvement in teenage gangs.

Kirst said: “She's not alone. My son is called Lewis, the same age and does similar stuff. He too has ODD and trying to get the help to get him meds and a diagnosis for ADHD is unsuccessful. She fully has my back.”

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And Lisbeth Mathiesen reveals she also feels unheard regarding her young son’s violent behaviour towards his family, which she believes people trivialise as naughtiness.

She said: “I feel for this lady. My boy is only six but he has become increasingly violent towards me and his siblings when he has a meltdown and we are being ignored too.

“[People] keep telling me, ‘Oh, it's just bad behaviour.’

“No, it isn't. I have two older children who are ‘normal’, never had any issues or mental health problems. So many families are being neglected.”

Other people offered advice to Kathryn about dealing with her son’s violence, like Sarah Helen, who said: “It’s a really difficult thing to do but if you take him to the police station and say you’re throwing him out then social services will have to find him somewhere else and give him support. It’s the only way to force their hand.

“They’ll put pressure on you to have him back home and threaten to charge you with neglect, but if you stand your ground and say you’re safeguarding your other children they will have to do something.

“They MAY charge you with neglect but safeguarding your 11-year-old would be a very strong defence."

Meanwhile, Natalie Riley signposted Kathryn to several child welfare agencies, saying: “Check out Five Ways Every Child Matters. Social services can help because your other children are at risk. Emotionally, physically. Ring Golden Hill for advice, maybe try getting him in there.

"Keep fighting for your family. There’s help but as it costs money, they are not always forthcoming. Ring Action For Children. Big hugs.”

However, Ruth Mary, says Leyland pupil referral unit Golden Hill Short Stay School is only for primary-aged children, adding: “They won't support a 14-year-old, sadly.”

Readers also acknowledged the complexity of antisocial behaviour and sympathised with Kathryn’s struggles.

Lee Holding believes it is unfair to judge parents of unruly children without knowing their full story, commenting: “People are so quick to blame the parents when it's clearly not the case.”

Praising Kathryn for her determination to find help for her son, Julieann Threlfall said: “Every credit to her for acknowledging his behaviour, admitting she can’t cope and she needs help!

"People are quick to judge the parents and blame them and whilst some may not care, at least this lady is trying and admitting she can’t cope. That can’t be easy.”

Finally, Scarlet Willcock, who was left saddened by Kathryn’s plight, added: “This really upsets me. There are so many parents out there just as bad as their unruly kids, who end up enabling the behaviour but here is a one-in-a-million mum who doesn't excuse the behaviour. Doesn't brush her son off. Understands there are underlying issues that contribute to his behaviour and is begging for help.

“We need more parents like this and a proper system and help put in place for them and the kids. I really hope the family gets the support they need before the poor lad falls deep into a life of crime.”

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