Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The sadness of Simon Barlow

I've just had a quick trawl through that underbelly of the internet that calls itself Twitter and my word, there's a lot of hatred out there for Simon Barlow.  As we have seen, tonight on Coronation Street Leanne raises her hand to strike Simon as she's at her wits end and doesn't know how to cope.  Simon doesn't deserve to be hit, that's for sure and I'm aghast at the comments online that say he does.

Simon is a hurt little boy, trying his best (and failing) to cope with a life that has been foisted on him. Leanne's a rubbish mum, and she knows it. Peter's a rubbish dad, and we know that too. Next week on Corrie, Leanne will send Simon to live with Ken, but Simon will then turn his anger towards Amy.

So, what's to be done with this troubled little boy?  A bit of understanding wouldn't go amiss.  I have no idea what I would do in this situation if I were Leanne and my kid was hitting me. But it only takes a couple of seconds to Google and find that there are loads of charities offering advice on this very subject.   Leanne's not daft, so why hasn't she reached out for help from her GP as a starter, who would know how to put Leanne in contact with professionals who can help both her and Simon.

As well as being passed from pillar to post between Leanne and Peter, Simon's still trying to cope with the loss of grandma Deirdre and of the men in his life who have tried to be father figures - Kal, Nick. And of course, he'll still be missing his real mum Lucy the florist who died.  This was when a reluctant Peter had to take on the role of dad to Simon, a role that Peter fought against for months and only settled into with the help of Ken, Deirdre and Blanche.  Simon was so timid when he first came to live with the Barlows that Blanche called him 'Shymon'.

Simon has been bullied in the past and ended up drunk after he took one of Peter's bottles.  Simon has ISSUES for heaven's sake.

He does not need hitting. He is a hurt and scared little boy who needs help, and fast.  As does Leanne.

Kudos to Alex Bain who is doing a wonderful job as Simon.

Deirdre: A Life on Coronation Street - official ITV tribute to a soap icon. Available here.

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Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. I find it completely believable and understandable that Simon would have big problems and be full of anger. I do feel for Leanne but it's Simon I really feel sorry for.

Even though we are constantly being told how wonderful Leanne is, I've never been convinced that she was the right person to bring him up. Everyone prefers to focus on Peter's many flaws but unfortunately, I think Simon often copies Leanne - and she can be very spiteful, rude and aggressive.
It didn't help when she jumped into a relationship with Nick (who she didn't really want) because then that didn't last long and it ended in a bitter divorce battle - with Simon being dragged into it.

Humpty Dumpty said...

It's a pity the Platts storyline started with Kylie seeking out Callum to see if there was a genetic basis to Max's ADHD. We can't go there again but it might be worth one of the characters wondering whether Lucy had similar problems to Max. Sometimes there can be an inherited susceptibility which is then exacerbated by environmental factors. Characters don't have to be correct when they're thinking aloud, and it would make a change to hear a variety of opinions. Puberty is often the time when mental health issues start to emerge.

If the writers go down the road of poor parenting, it's a pity they didn't take longer over Simon's change in behaviour. Although in real life, young people do seem to change overnight, on-screen this seems too sudden. Simon's character has never been properly written. At the age of ten, he was sitting at the kitchen table drawing and colouring. He would throw his arms around adults like a six year old. It feels like we've jumped several stages in Simon's development. A child being aggressive at home is quite likely to be aggressive at school. Couldn't he have been excluded a couple of times at the start of this storyline? That would have involved a whole range of professionals, but that's not Corrie's way. When professionals are used, they're often incompetent and don't move the story forward at all.

I hope this storyline has a useful point otherwise it's just a plot device to bring Leanne and a male role model (Robert?) together. Perhaps Simon will lash out once too often and the police get involved. Some viewers thought Faye was evil until she found a friend in Craig. Simon needs to have a proper pal in whom he confides. He's very troubled but we're not hearing about his problems directly from him only from the adults around him.

C in Canada said...

I didn't think Leanne was a 'rubbish mum'. I thought she's been brilliant - the one really constant thing in Simon's life. I don't think it's fair to beat down on her.
If spoilers are true, and she does get with Robert though, that would make excellent parent figures for him, and perhaps that might settle him down. Zeedan did an excellent job of handling Simon too, I wonder why he hasn't checked in on things?

Anonymous said...

Leanne should stay single. Simon always gets stuck in the middle when her relationships end badly and the last thing he needs is another new stepfather. He needs professional help.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Leanne reach out to her GP? The same reason wives don't report their husbands when they're being knocked about. Fear. Simon is not a little boy and he needs to be held accountable. Send him off to the grandparents who fought so hard for him a few years back. As it stands, I think this character is for the bin.

Tvor said...

I don't think there's necessarily any genetic issues here. That kid has lost people he loves over and over and has had to deal with his father's alcoholism many times. He's nearly died in a fire because of it once. He's nearly lost his father to it and nearly lost his dad in the tram crash. Add in a bitter, dirty divorce and custody, a new step mother that didn't really like children though she did try, and a father that's far less involved even when he's present than Leanne is. HE was bound to have anger issues. Also not surprised he was so immature for so long, too, even though that was irritating for this viewer.

They should have had Simon in counseling years ago but it's a soap and there's no drama in that. Gail should have had her children in counseling after Richard tried to kill them, too and she didn't. We can all see the result of that. I fully expect Simon to grow up and develop an addiction to booze or drugs even if they manage to sort him out now with help. *That's* the genetic predisposition issue, the addiction thing.

Anonymous said...

But when is this storyline REALLY going to be about Simon and not just about the depressing Leanne having a hard time? I feel like I have watched her break down and wail a thousand times now.

At one point Leanne used Simon to get back at Peter - IMO no good mother would do that so it's a bit difficult to feel sorry for her despite the writers going all to make little Simon as nasty as possible.
Leanne didn't even tell him about her past as a prostitute knowing full well that someone else probably would. Instead, she left it to her former client who turned up and took them hostage.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe your comments about Leanne being a bad mum. I think she is an EXCELLENT mum, the only constantly caring human in Simon's life. And why on earth would she tell a young boy about her questionable past at this stage? I defy you to find me a parent who doesn't keep something about their past from their kids - and probably spouses as well. On a day-to-day basis, she has been doing a great job with Simon, standing by him when even his own father didn't. The only problem is lack of professional attention, but that is just as much the fault of his father and his grandfather.

Anonymous said...

Leanne is a wonderful person, and mother, on Corrie! Her character comes alive thanks to her great acting abilities.
Simon has grown into a little monster, and too many parents make excuses for the bad behaviour of their kids. Simon knows better and yet continues to act like a little thug. He needs a great number of spankings and other discipline to make him straighten out.
There are far too many people running around that have no regard for others thanks to poor parenting, Simon is fast becoming one of those.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 18:28 - So you think Leanne was right not to tell Simon about her past even though he would inevitably find out from a stranger?
Just because Peter wasn't the right person to bring him up doesn't mean that Leanne was. He would have been better off with Ken.

Leanne's own attitude (spitefulness, rudeness and aggression) has rubbed off on Simon IMO. And I doubt it's been much fun for him when she's decided that he should have a new stepfather every year.

Anonymous said...

Leanne is not a perfect mother, but she certainly isn't "rubbish" at it.

I'm surprised how badly Peter is being portrayed lately. Although not a great father, I don't believe he would not pay any attention to his visiting son.

Anonymous said...

I find it ironic that everyone criticises Leeanne for her love life but yet not a word about Peter who had an affair with Carla while married to Leeanne and when he married Carla had an affair with Tina and was even going to leave Simon behind to be with her.Yet despite all that Leeanne always did her best by Simon and she's the bad mum?!Not as far as I'm concerned.

Cobblestone said...

I can't agree that Leanne is a rubbish mum; I think she's the best thing that ever happened to Simon, could he but see it. She genuinely loves the boy - or why else agree to take him on, never mind fight for him, given there's no blood relationship. Sure, she's a flawed human being: who isn't? But she's always tried to do her best for him.
I have to say, given that we, as viewers, know perfectly well that Simon's behaviour is a direct result of things that have happened to him growing up, I'm frankly horrified by the comments of those who believe he needs a smack round the head. He's not naughty, he's psychologically damaged! So let's just start adding physical abuse to his list of traumas, shall we? That'll fix him. "Shipping him off to his father" isn't much better. He needs to realise Leanne's devotion to him, not have her abandon him too. Professional counselling is the only way forward; I'm glad to hear that's what's coming up.

Anonymous said...

I think this post is based on total delusion. This is not a real kid in any sort of real situation. Your attack on Leanne is no better than anyone else's back handed comment about giving Simon a smack. Simon is not a little boy and that attitude is precisely why too many young people do not take responsibility for themselves anymore. This culture of youth needs to stop. We need a culture of respect and responsibility - and that goes both ways!

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