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Seeing both sides of the story as families struggle

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: June 12, 2012

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You could not help but be moved by the four children at the heart of this documentary. Family relationships had broken down, they had all spent periods in care and one had been forced to spend the night wandering around a 24-hour supermarket when she had nowhere to go after her father threw her out.

What was clever about this BBC3 documentary was that the parents – traditionally blamed for such situations – were featured without apportioning blame.

The filmmakers did what the trained mediators are attempting to do – see things from both sides.

Tyler, 14, from Wales was a typical moody teenager who could fly off the handle with his mum, Gloria, which led to her losing her temper too.

He suffered from ADHD; she'd had a nervous breakdown. The whole family had disintegrated. Gloria had seven children. The youngest three had three different fathers – all of whom are not around – and spent some time with their mum in women's refuges. Tyler's brother and sister were not at home because of Tyler's temper.

Yet when he was behaving well, he was an intelligent, caring lad.

Intervention helped mother and son see the other's viewpoint.

Sisters Viviana and Stephanie wanted the rows at home to end – shouting and sulking were the standard ways to communicate. Their single parent mum held down two jobs but social services are thinking of taking the girls into care as things deteriorate further.

Charlotte, 16, has been using her dad's bank card, stole his property and had a party while he was away.

Simon, a single parent dad, seemed to have a better relationship with his eight-year-old daughter – the same age Charlotte was when her parents split up and she originally went to live with her mum.

Although things improved between them, Charlotte opted to live away from home.

Sad stories... but the tip of the iceberg as nine out of ten youngsters on the streets have fallen out with families.

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