In the 12 months following the pilot of the Parent Champion programme 18 parents completed 2 courses, 2 more are now employed and 2 more are in training. Teachers, health and social workers have noticed the difference our work has made to the children and families who have attended our programmes.
Occasionally I bump into a parent some time after taking a course and I ask if they would like to share anything they have taken forward, here are a few examples:
Still using the worksheets
Since I did the Empowering Families (now the Parent Champion) course in 2008 I’ve had my ups and downs. In May 2009 I had my son K and I had a very traumatic birth, I nearly died and lost between 2–3 litres of blood. After I was discharged from hospital I was in a very bad place emotionally and mentally, I couldn’t bond with my son at all and when I looked at him I felt no love for him, which made me very sad.
So the doctor put me on antidepressants, at this point I thought to myself I cant keep felling like this. I went back to the book that Alan wrote and the work we did on the course. It made me realize that what had happened during my birth with my son wasn’t his fault. If anything it was just an act of nature and the way I was feeling was making it hard for me to bond with him.
As soon as I had come to terms with what had happened I started to bond with him. I kept working towards getting myself emotionally better for me and my children, with the help of Alan’s book and remembering how I felt during the course I manage to do it.
Even to this day I do the work sheets out of the book, if I find I have lost my way a bit it helps me get back on track. I’ve set myself goals in life now and I’ve fulfilled everyone that I have set so far. Currently I’m a full time mum and help to run a community group called ‘parents is the word’ we do fundraising for charity’s and help out in the community. I’m also planning on doing a on-line course in Equality and Diversity.
My future is my own and whatever I want to do I know I can do it as long as I put my mind to it, I can reach the stars!!
Mrs SJ, Parent, Kent
You know what you’re doing
I was thinking of what to write in regards to how your classes have helped and to be honest I don’t know where to start!
As you can probably remember I came to your Empowering Parents (now Parent Champion) course when E was one year old, gosh three years ago now! I was tired, broken and had no faith or confidence in myself. Coming from not a good home myself where I was mentally, emotionally and physically abused.
I wanted to make sure I did everything I could in regards to creating a loving supportive home for my family. I was told about your class and to be honest was nervous about joining because I felt ashamed of myself. I’m really glad I took the plunge because I got so much out of your dynamics and I have been better able to manage some of his behaviours.
We have E being seen by a Clinical Psychologist in ASD and now he has been referred to CAHMS Tier 3 with an Occupational Therapist, trauma specialist and sensory room. They are looking at SPD (sensory processing disorder), ASD more so along Aspergers because of his intelligence. As even though he has had a few problems since birth, along with a highly intelligent mind, to add to what his half sister did to him (sexually interfered) this made matters a hundred times worse.
This in itself sent me over the edge because I was continuously stigmatised having Bi-polar and Personality Disorder for over re-acting about all the problems and what was happening to him. As I said earlier I was completely broken and no confidence in myself to fight to prove that it wasn’t ‘in my mind’ and that my son really did need help.
I knew from age 14 that I needed to sort things out, that’s when I first started down the therapy road for mental health, to which I have used it to the full potential and I now no longer need it. I can lead a normal life where I’m back at work in a training job I really enjoy.
When I came to your classes I felt totally unemotional inside, but struggled to show how bad the feelings were. I couldn’t believe I was listening to “ I can make a change, I can make it positive”. To be honest at first, I felt I didn’t deserve to be a mother because nobody was helping me after constantly asking. It was a struggle to get well, create a better family life and deal with so much drama.
Please don’t get me wrong, I had my breakdowns, suicide attempts and self-harming etc. but when I was listening to what you were saying about we can make that difference. It definitely started to empower me to believe that I can make the difference and help my child. I was very ill when I was pregnant with E, the stress of being poor, family abuse, both myself and my husband working two jobs to live basically and having Psychosis which started due to stress and losing my sons twin, it has been an extremely hard time.
E was born two weeks early and it was a very difficult birth, I wasn’t treated well at the Hospital. This left me so ill I couldn’t even go near my son for five months because I felt I would contaminate him, with how damaged I was. Adding to all of this we started having over night contact with my step-daughters, at my husbands request, as he wanted the whole family together. I can understand to a degree but I was so unwell and struggling to get people to see past me to see the early signs with my son. Unfortunately my husband was one of these people. I was made to feel isolated every time I spoke up, but using your knowledge gave me the strength to go in there and fight for my child.
For example, he has nightmares, head banging (even in sleep), hears voices and sees people who are not there like you or I. He switches from this lovely great humoured little boy into a little boy with no emotions or feelings for others and will do anything to hurt people or bugs. He was refusing any female to come remotely near him, let alone wash him, he will claw at his own face or mine and flat down refused to eat.
So we were forced to place him back on bottle milk for three months, biting, kicking, wanting to kill everything, sit upside down, anger and aggression — we would even have to bear hug him in the town centre as he went into frenzy mode.
Now E still has his problems but they have become a lot easier, like you said change your way of thinking, I honestly don’t always manage it but the majority of the time it works. I have started to believe more in myself that I can make a decent life for my family and myself.
I feel that people should back you in every way with what you are doing, because you know what your doing and it’s effective. It’s people like us that actually want to be better for ourselves, and our family, that we place our trust in your teaching and it pays off. It’s just a shame for all the parents that miss out because they don’t realise the benefits of making a change in their life.
Mrs GS, Parent, Kent
Today I have a fabulous life!
Today I have a fabulous job, fabulous life and fabulous friends. If you had asked me that two years ago then that would have been a different story!
I attended the Parent Champion course as a professional person and really did not think it was for me and was honestly not going to return to further sessions. Something made me go back and Alan Wilson was our guide throughout the course. I then realised that I was not attending the course professionally but I needed the course personally.
The course is really difficult to describe it is not a parenting course, it does not tell you what to do it changes the way you think and the way you think about yourself. Being a wife and a mother I had forgotten about me and spent my time worrying for other people and by the time I attended the course my life was completely upside down. Please do not get me wrong my life did not get better overnight and we all still have to work at things but my outlook and perception is brighter. I am positive and I try not to let things get me down.
A while ago I was made redundant, I turned this negative into a positive and landed a job on my first application form. There were hundreds of applicants, I knew I could do the job and was perfect for my life, The applications were whittled down to 6 – the interview was one of the best I had ever had and to be honest I did not want to be too confidant and it was the first time ever I can actually say I had done well in an interview. An hour later I had got the job my new boss and I both cried on the phone as I was so happy and she said to me then that that had completely sealed it totally and she knew she had picked the right person.
I now have a fabulous dream job in a secondary school where I have the all the holidays off with my children, my life is full of ups and downs sometimes more ups then downs but we laugh and smile and get through it as tomorrow will always be better! My children adore and love me as I do them, they respect my decisions and know what I do is to keep them safe and healthy and the reasons why I say no. Yes they will reason with me and I am prepared to meet them half way if they do too.
I have two girls 14 and 11 year old who now understand give and take – My 5 year old is now testing his skills with temper tantrums and arguing, sometimes he forgets no is no but he is only 5 but the girls will now comfort him and tell him that mummy is not a bad person because she says no its because she loves him so much. Yes there are days when I sit down and cry but these are less and its feels good to cry but there is a lot less shouting and a lot more love and laughter.
I think a lot of people were shocked that someone like me attended the course and I think you would be surprised at the amount of ‘someone like me’s’ who needs the help and direction but are unable or just cannot ask. This course should be more widely available to everybody who needs it and certainly not be labelled for anybody in particular. To be honest if I had not stumbled across the course I don’t know where I would be today!
I would also like to say a big thank to Alan Wilson for highlighting and developing this way of thinking and for becoming a mentor and coach to me.
Mrs JD, Parent, Kent – December 2009