Mia's story

If Mia could change anything in her own life she would create a future for herself free from sadness and anger

Our Good Childhood Report 2017 shows some children in this country are under tremendous pressure, dealing with difficulties in many aspects of their lives.

Mia is 11 years old and in her first year at secondary school.

This is her story.

Difficulties mounting up in her life

Mia lives with her mum and two younger brothers in a flat where she has lived for the past year. She spends alternate weekends with her dad who lives in a neighbouring town.

Mia’s dad is no longer able to work due to health problems. Her mum is a full time mum, devoting herself to looking after her children. With what little she has left to give, she provides sanctuary to extended family and neighbours who have fallen on hard times. Poverty shapes many aspects of Mia’s everyday life: where she can go, what she can do and whether she gets to go on holiday.

Drugs and alcohol have featured powerfully in the lives of some of Mia’s closest relatives and family friends. She has witnessed the devastating effects of interpersonal violence and how it can tear lives apart.

She has also been closely involved in supporting relatives through their battles with mental health problems.

Dealing with less obvious hardships

Mia has many hardships - poverty, violence, substance misuse, mental health problems and homelessness - in her life. But in Mia’s case, like many children, it’s the experience of these, in addition to other less obvious hardships, that’s important.

She has moved seven times in the last nine years. On some occasions with both parents. On others with just her mum and brothers. Once it was out of the family home for over a year to live with her grandma. This has affected her neighbourhood friendships. She never gets too close to other children in a new area. It has prevented her from putting down roots in a place she can call home.

It was important to Mia when her mum fell out with a close friend. This friend, her children and the things they provided disappeared from Mia’s life for a while.

One of the things that really bothers Mia is the way her neighbours shout and scream all the time, race their noisy motorbikes up and down the road and bang their front door open and shut twenty four hours a day. Her neighbourhood feels stressful and unsafe.

Hopes for the future

If Mia could help her family in any way she would give them more money. Not a lot more, but just a ‘normal’ amount. Enough for her mum to stop worrying all the time. And maybe even treat herself every now and then without feeling guilty.

If Mia could change anything in her own life she would create a future for herself free from sadness and anger. Where she would be happy and remain so for the rest of her life.

You can read more about how problems mount up to damage children’s well-being in our Good Childhood Report 2017.

read our good childhood report

Teenage girl sitting on steps biting her nails