Tracy Beaker – An African Mother’s Nightmare

I don’t know about you but when I was growing up Tracy was blamed for every naughty behaviour my cousins and I had.

If you’re not familiar with Tracy Beaker she’s a character created by Jacqueline Wilson (my fav childhood author) and the book was adapted into a TV show, The Story of Tracy Beaker. Tracy Beaker was given up as a child by her mother (can’t remember what happened to the father) into the foster care system. She’s grown up in a place called The Dumping Ground and she has Cam. Cam fosters her but every time something goes wrong she sends her back to The Dumping Ground because she cannot cope with Tracy.

Tracy is loud, rumbustious and mischievous. She is naughty in the basic meaning of the word. She will talk back and get into trouble one way or another and she is prone to tantrums.

So, when we watched the show on CBBC or parents thought we were learning all of our bad behaviour off of Tracy and so when we were really naughty it was all because we kept watching Tracy Beaker.

However, when I was a kid I decided I wanted to adopt. I decided when I was around eight years old because I was holding my baby cousin and I loved him so much that I thought to myself, “If I had to look after him for the rest of my life and love him like my own, I would.”

Those were pretty intense thoughts for an eight to nine year old but hey I remember them clear as day.

Once I had established I was open to adoption I decided after years of watching Tracy Becker that I would adopt teenagers, because how is it fair! They are so often overlooked as people prefer babies who will love them more. I argue teenagers would love you more but hey.

In terms of Tracy Beaker, they are living in a place literally called The Dumping Ground! *in Diane’s voice* that seems right to you?

Then Cam, how are you going to abandon a child that has already been abandoned over some little issue? I swear down she sends her back one time because she accidentally set the kitchen on fire. (She was cooking and it got out of hand. In essence it was actually an accident, sis didn’t do it on purpose but she got sent back anyway).

One, why did you leave a child unsupervised in the kitchen. Two, why did you take in a child if you’re too busy to supervise them. Three, you knew Tracy’s personality, why did you give her false hope and false promises if you knew you couldn’t handle her? Even if you did not know for sure, if you weren’t a hundred per cent sure you should have left that child alone!

Even Justine, I grew up and realised, she wasn’t that bad. Sis just had bad coping mechanisms. As I grow older the more I look at the characters and blame the adults in their lives. Justine also had abandonment issues. I can’t remember the story with her dad but I know it made me mad. So, it makes total sense that she would act out in that situation.

Have you ever worked with kids? I have, and most of the time behavioural problems can be traced to the adults in their lives.

So now whenever my parents or any other person laments about the bad behaviour of a child on TV I ask them, but have you thought about why? If you were abandoned and that young, how would you react?

There’s that guy from Waterloo Road who acted out a lot and then you find out his parents are never there and man is lonely. Loneliness is hard to deal with as a fully grown adult, how is a teenager supposed to handle that healthily with all the hormones they’ve got swirling around?!

I remember getting to the episode of Tracy Becker where we find out that the foster system kicks you out at 18 with jack all and I was shocked. It was the episode about Lol and Bouncer who were the oldest kids in the place. One was older than the other as well and they were sad about being separated.

Side bar: I didn’t know Lol’s name was Lawrence. I swear I forgot that, all I remember is he’s called Lol.

I don’t wish that on anyone. I believe everyone deserves to feel the love and comfort of family. Of course, there are families that are super dysfunctional and toxic so I’m not saying having a family is perfect.

However, when you have a good family, a family that does love you and look out for you. That is gold. I wish that for everyone, whether biological or found.

So yeah, Tracy was not the villain in Tracy Beaker. I feel like it’s clearer in the book but if parents were paying attention they’d see it was clear in the TV show too.

I watched the movie… was it a movie… anyway I watched it, where she gets on a train to see her mom and her mom ends up being a waste of space and Cam finally adopts her after having Tracy jump through multiple hoops.

I have beef with Cam.

I have beef with Tracy’s Mom.

She deserved better honestly.

So yeah she was definitely not the villain and I wish adults didn’t put all the blame on children. I wish people thought harder about why some kids act out as there is always a reason. There are exceptions to everything however nine times out of ten, it’s not all the kid’s fault.

And that is what I loved about Jacqueline Wilson. She talked about tough topics like bullying, depression, abuse and postpartum depression in her books and how those topics affect children. She gave kids a voice and I loved that because I would read her books and think wow, she listens. Often people dismiss the pain a child feels because they have the attitude of, “What would you know, you’re only a child.” However, Wilson turned around and said actually, children aren’t stupid and this is how it effects them.

I don’t know if that was the goal of her writings but her books taught me a lot growing up.


The staff who worked at The Dumping Ground were good, my favourite was Duke and Jenny, mostly Duke though.

Oh my days, do you remember Ben! I was so sad when he left! Although, him leaving was a good thing right? Sorry, I was looking up character names cause I suck at names and got hit with the nostalgia when I saw Ben. What a time.


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