When Adults Don’t Listen

A child stands up and says they are frightened. They express their fears. They open their hearts. They tell, tentatively at first, wondering if they’ll be heard.

A child sits and shares worries. Apologises for them. Tells you they are irrational. Then sits and sobs, their heart breaking in a thousand pieces. The words come tumbling out one after another.

They lay awake at night wondering if you’ll believe them, if you’ll know just how hard these words are to say. They wonder if you’ll dismiss them or if you’ll find a way to help.

They tell you they can no longer cope, they beg you for help. They ask you to stop the sadness, to make it go away.

And then you do your worst. You do not listen. You do not act.

An act born out of bravery, of determination, and yes of desperation. You were their hope.

But there are budget cuts you see.

“We cannot help you here.”

Perhaps school, yes they can help…

“There are no resources here. We cannot help. We wish we could”

CAMHs, they can help, they are sure to understand…

“We cannot help here. There are other children who need us more. A parenting course perhaps… but nothing more.”

A child has spoken. Asked for help. Yet adults fail them time and time again.

Until these children learn not to ask.

And what then? When they can ask no more.

Then we turn and shake our heads, and walk away, thinking someone else should have done more.


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