TOUGH KIDS, TOUGH LOVE
BBC2, 19 October, 9pm
STAR RATING: 4/5
As a novice dad, a slightly more experienced stepfather, and a son, there is one thing I’m certain about: children need to be loved and know that they are loved. With emotional stability almost anything is then possible, writes Graham Hopkins.
This, in essence, was also the message of Kids Company director Camila Batmanghelidjh in this documentary, which turned out to be as much about the woman as the troubled kids themselves. These kids have been rejected by everyone else, including social services, which are supposed to have a legal responsibility to care.
The challenging behaviour, drunkenness, drug-taking, verbal aggressiveness and violence displayed by these young people as they stick their foot through the door to adulthood was, we were told, symptomatic of poor parenting – “adults who are not managing and not caring about their children.”
Fathers, in particular, were singled out for criticism by the kids as Batmanghelidjh sought to provide “maternal love and structure”. And despite images that suggested the contrary, inside it does seem to work.
“I smash things up,” said Rebecca. “But always clean up afterwards.” After everyone’s had their go with these kids, that, I’m afraid, is exactly what Kids Company does: cleans up afterwards. More power to its elbow.