I’ve done the Kids Matter parenting programme twice. My English is not very good – I am from Egypt and speak Arabic – but *Naomi helped me to understand the sessions; and the second time I understood better and found the information very helpful, especially because the culture here is very different from my country. Parenting is very different in Egypt and we talk to our children differently. There is not such an emphasis on cuddles or kisses (physical affection) although I have learnt that this has a good effect on children.
The sessions about how rewards and routines impact behaviour were very helpful. I’ve learnt that it’s important to listen to my children, especially when they are teenagers – pay attention and don’t ignore them! I have a 19-year-old and two other teenage children, aged 17 and 13 years old. I am focusing especially on my youngest child; I told him that he is big now and old enough to talk through things with me, which has been positive for us.
I enjoyed learning from other cultures at Kids Matter groups. I learnt about different ways of parenting from the Middle East and Africa, as well as Europe. I shared about myself, my country and my friends. Although at times it was hard for me to understand what was going on, the sessions were still helpful. People were very considerate when I asked them to speak slowly or repeat things, and were happy to explain with examples.
Before doing Kids Matter, my children were in a bad habit of eating their breakfast in their beds upstairs no matter how many times I asked them to come and eat downstairs. I decided to put some stricter boundaries in place, and stopped taking breakfast upstairs to them (some days it’d be two or three times) so that they had to come downstairs rather than stay in bed for too long. I’ve also been spending more time with my children – playing cards and memory. We’ve been talking more, and I’ve not shouted at them as much. Kids Matter reminded me that if I shout at my children, they might respond in the same way; I have noticed that if I am calmer and quieter, and talk slowly, my children are more likely to listen.
I’ve learnt to take time for myself (to be relaxed and quiet), which makes me a nicer mum. If I am nervous or worried and spend all my time working, shopping, cooking and cleaning – the pressure is immense.
The Kids Matter programme is very good and helpful. I would do it again – for a third time! I enjoy it and every time I learn more and more.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals.
The attached picture is not a representation of the individual concerned.