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"how easy is it to forget your children?" 11/06

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"how easy is it to forget your children?" 11/06

Post  frencheuropean on Mon 11 Jun - 19:43

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18394690#TWEET157879


11 June 2012 Last updated at 11:16 GMT

"How easy is it to forget your children?

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In today's Magazine


David Cameron's daughter was accidentally left behind after a visit to the pub. It's a scenario that's familiar to many parents, writes Kathryn Westcott.

For people who don't have children - or for those parents who are super-organised - the idea that a child could be left behind by a parent is simply outrageous. Forgetting your keys or wallet is acceptable but never a child.

But there are many parents who will identify with that feeling of horror when the realisation dawns that a child has been left behind somewhere. The Camerons were said to have been "distraught" when they realised that eight-year-old Nancy had been forgotten when the family left for home in two separate cars.

It's a heart-stopping moment - one that my family experienced not that long ago. Anyone with children will know that trying to get a group of them out of the house - shoes, hats, toilet runs - often needs to be planned with military precision.


It happened at a Sunday lunch several months ago
And if there is a large party of folk to be extracted from the house, one parent may set off with half the gaggle, leaving the remainder with the other.

In our case, we streamed off down the road for a family event at the local church, three generations in tow. It was only when one five-year-old asked where his similarly aged cousin was that panic set in. Frantic messages were verbally sent between the grown-ups, until we discovered that he hadn't been seen since we left the house. After a mad dash down the street, we discovered him at home, oblivious to the alarm that had been caused by that moment of parental negligence.

Like the Camerons, one parent simply assumed he was with the other.

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Start Quote

In many cases both [parents] are working long hours - these are easy mistakes to make”

Justine Roberts
Mumsnet
Camerons left daughter at pub
Justine Roberts, of the Mumsnet website, says that this is a familiar scenario for many parents.

"Many people will have some understanding of how this happened to the prime minister and his wife. Particularly if you are a family with two cars, there is the assumption by one parent that the other parent has a particular child. Everyone can see how it happens - particularly the more children you have - when you become outnumbered."

She says that any inference that the Camerons are not good parents or that the prime minister is unfit to run the country is "cynical".

"It's a case of but for the grace of God go I," she says. "Kids are good at rushing off at the last minute - going off to the toilet without telling anyone - sneaking into the cars of other people in the group. I have four children and I've probably lost all of them at some time or another."

From the messages left on parenting forums and stories that have been shared with readers and listeners to the BBC, it seems many parents have forgotten a child.


Rod Symmons recalls the time his daughter, who was four at the time and a bridesmaid, was left behind after a wedding.

"The reception was held at the South of England Showground and we were the last to leave," he told the BBC.

"My wife and I were in separate cars and each thought Jenny was with the other. By the time that we discovered she wasn't, the building had been locked up.

"Desperate by then, we found someone to open it but could not find her inside. My wife then remembered that she had seen some of the older girls riding in the lift earlier in the day and went to look.


The most important item in the trolley
"Sure enough Jenny was inside the lift, but not tall enough to reach the buttons. She was just beginning to panic and I shall never forget the relief of finding her."

Leaving a child inside or outside a shop appears to be the most common misdemeanour.

Many parents excuse such behaviour by arguing that they are often simply functioning on autopilot, that they are tired and distracted. One mother said she left her week-old baby in the Post Office because she "wasn't used to having a baby".

Father Alasdair McFarlane told the BBC he accidentally left his six-month-old in a shop.

"I went to buy a newspaper leaving daughter in pram outside. I then proceeded to walk out of shop without collecting the pram. My wife was not happy when I returned home," he said.

There have been numerous studies indicating that people are becoming increasingly forgetful as a result of modern hectic lifestyles. Researchers have labelled the condition "busy lifestyle syndrome", with stress being the possible culprit behind day-to-day memory lapses.

"Parents are increasingly busy," says Roberts. "In many cases both are working long hours - these are easy mistakes to make. Of course, it's horrific when it does happen, but it's a function of all the rushing around that people are doing.

"If it hasn't happened to you, you're either obsessive or lucky."


Er... forgotten something?
Every now and again stories at the other end of the spectrum will hit the headlines.

In 2008, a child was left at an airport in Israel after her parents accidentally took a flight to Paris with four of their five children. Most parents writing on forums said there was simply no excuse for this level of negligence.

And there have been incidents of forgetfulness that have had tragic consequences - typically involving children left in cars on a hot day.

Leaving a child behind is a nightmare for any parent - but it is one that many parents have to admit has happened with them."


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Re: "how easy is it to forget your children?" 11/06

Post  matthew on Mon 11 Jun - 20:50

But there are many parents who will identify with that feeling of horror when the realisation dawns that a child has been left behind somewhere

EXACTLY
but we are meant to believe that 8/9 intelligent adults made a premeditated decision to all leave their babies/toddlers behind...


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Re: "how easy is it to forget your children?" 11/06

Post  LJC on Mon 11 Jun - 22:47

matthew wrote:But there are many parents who will identify with that feeling of horror when the realisation dawns that a child has been left behind somewhere

EXACTLY
but we are meant to believe that 8/9 intelligent adults made a premeditated decision to all leave their babies/toddlers behind...


Yes, there is a vast difference between a misunderstanding leading to forgetting and making an agreed decision to forget your children.

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Re: "how easy is it to forget your children?" 11/06

Post  LJC on Mon 11 Jun - 22:49

Nevertheless, if the nursery or infant school where your child attends had such a similar misunderstanding, how would some of these parents who own up to forgetting their child feel if teachers did the same type of thing? I bet these same parents would be up in arms, threatening to take their child out of school, blah blah.

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Re: "how easy is it to forget your children?" 11/06

Post  Karen on Tue 12 Jun - 8:31

everyone

My sister owns a Nursery School in SA - she has around 120children with six different classes.

School closes @17h30 SHARP, However you will not believe how many parents arrive way after that time with some parents "forgetting" to pick up their children, some parents would phone my sister and ask if she could take the little one to her home to be collected by the parents LATER, or they would ask if my sister would drop them home. Some of these children are from extremely wealthy families are children of doctors, bankers etc etc, sometimes my sister in law (who also works for my sister) needs to remain at the school alone waiting for the "pissed" parents to collect the kids sometimes way after 19h00, it got SO bad that my sister has now imposed a heavy fine if ANY parent is later than 17h30.

I wont even get started on the fact that more than half DO NOT pay their school fees in full.

Its awful what happened with little Nancy but at least Mr Cameron took his wee one to the pub and didnt leave her alone babysitting her siblings and getting "abducted"

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Re: "how easy is it to forget your children?" 11/06

Post  Guest on Tue 12 Jun - 9:14

Also, Nancy is NINE, not three. Any child of nine should have the sense to go and find a responsible adult and ask for help, at least if they have been raised right. Where we live, the kids are taught if lost in town, to go into a shop and ask for help from the person at the till.

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Re: "how easy is it to forget your children?" 11/06

Post  Not Born Yesterday on Tue 12 Jun - 9:19

I still cringe at the memory of how, in a moment of stress, I forgot that my son was with me. He was about 8 and we were on a train when a brick came crashing through the window. I jumped up in shock and started getting the glass off myself. It wasn't until a woman sitting opposite said "look at your son!" that I remembered him! He was also covered in glass and stunned into silence. Thankfully the brick hadn't hit him. Why my first instinct wasn't to check he was okay I really don't know.

I'm glad that he has forgotten the incident now but I certainly haven't.

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Re: "how easy is it to forget your children?" 11/06

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