\ Seriously Awkward Campaign || Teenagers - Sweet Elyse

Seriously Awkward Campaign || Teenagers

The Seriously Awkward Campaign by The Children's Society is one that's close to my heart. It makes me so sad that we even need to campaign for these reasons especially in this day and age but we-do and that sucks.

Did you know that once a teenager reaches the age of sixteen that they are no longer covered for support or protection by the UK government? Considered to be pre-adults these children have no way of protecting themselves against exploitation, abuse, crime or hardships, where as someone a few months younger has full protection - doesn't sound right does it? But, you'll find this is indeed the case.

Children who have been in care will have felt unloved or thrown away at some point in their lives only to find the same thing happening once again once they reach 16! It's these children that need EXTRA support from the government and that's why The Children's Society are campaigning to change this.

Please support these children and sign their petition below so we can see more children protected until they're legally old enough to go out into the big wide world.


Here's my story: 

When I was thirteen months old I was abandoned in a house alone by my birth parents. In these situations typically children would either perish or be taken into care - I was lucky in that I was adopted by another family member with the approval of social services and given so much love and care that I do believe I had a better upbringing than the one I would have had with my natural parents.

Regardless of how lucky I was I still found it extremely hard to open up to people growing up, I held my cards close to my chest and my natural instinct was to distrust until proven otherwise, To be honest it's still something I struggle with. There's also another emotion that comes from being a social services kid and that was a deep rooted sense of abandonment that comes from being 'thrown away' or 'unwanted' regardless of how much support and love you have from foster or adopted parents.

Being the 'different' kid made me feel socially and mentally awkward and misunderstood, I always felt displaced and as though I didn't belong anywhere. I tried my hardest to fit in and I became an impressionable and shy young girl. At nine years old I started my menstrual cycle and with that comes puberty. I was young but my body looked grown up feeling like a weird kid this was the last thing I needed.

I became painfully aware that my body was now being ogled by the opposite sex due to my curvy hips and larger chest and that my new 'lumps' had suddenly lead to more male attention. Attention from all ages and, I was uncomfortable with it. I was naive yes but my natural distrust set me in good steadings in a few situations where I could have become easy pray for abuse from older men.

As a teenager all of the emotions that I should have felt growing up and the fact that my upbringing wasn't 'typical' hit me hard it was though the naivety of my youth had gone AWOL and I was left with deep-dark depression in it's place. My extended family never really wanted to discuss anything about my history as it either opened old wounds for them or seemed pointless and my communication with my [adopted] parents had broken down in it's almost entirety so I let my thoughts and feelings fester and turn poisonous.

I became angry and irresponsible, my depression spiraled and I no longer wanted to live due to the pain, loneliness and hurt that I felt inside, I felt as though I had become a burden on my family and friends. I suddenly felt alone - the feeling of being in so much pain you don't want to live overtook me and, the inevitable happened. This wasn't a cry for help and I had researched, planned and executed it in a way that no-one could obviously see what had happened and therefore couldn't interrupt before the end result took place. As I woke up with my whole body in a painful cramp while throwing up I remember being so upset that it hadn't worked.

These days (18 years later) I am grateful for every blessing I have. I'm grateful that I didn't die but I'll never stop forgetting how much pain I felt at that time. I was so lucky but many other children aren't, especially those children who have a lack of support or are at risk.

This isn't a unique story or even one that's being given published for sympathy. I do however mention it because it's personal to me and to why I feel so passionate about the Seriously Awkward Campaign. It shows you how the support of an adult and an open communication line between older children and sensible adults can be the only lifeline that children have. If that's broken down then who do they go to? If they have no-one then the emotional and physical displacement alone is enough to lead them to drink, drugs, self-destruction, abuse and suicidal actions.

When I think of all of those children who are going through this right now my heart hurts so bad for them, the pain you feel before you decide to take those actions is so deep and gnawing and doesn't compare to any external pain. I wish I could away their pain. I wish there was a support network for these children and I wish there was more protection for these teens so they didn't have life incidents that would lead to these deep and dark thoughts.

So who's going to speak up for older children?

Do you wish there was something that could be done, I know I do and that's why I've signed the petition and shared this campaign to increase awareness - can you share this? For as little as two minutes you could help make a difference by signing the petition, in as little as five minutes you could share the petition or this post with others to bring awareness to this campaign.

Also keep in mind the government now don't cover housing benefit for those under the age of 21, this, of course, will lead to more children being homeless, starving, falling ill, going missing, being exploited or killed due to a lack of protection and support from our country. If they don't have protection and can't get affordable housing (18 years and older) then what are they supposed to do?

▼△ Interactive story, facts and  you can also read the full report (PDF)  ▼△


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