I have three children; a 19-year-old, a 5-year-old and a 6-month-old baby. I was very stressed, like falling to pieces; mainly because I was struggling to communicate with my teenage son who is a grown man now, not my little boy any more. When I was invited to join a Kids Matter group, I thought it might help me figure out a way to talk to my son.
Being in a group with other parents and learning from their experiences helped me a lot. The booklets were also helpful. I have them at home and still read them – they’re like my Bible. They talk about behaviour and rewards, and how to have fun with your kids and let them know you’re there for them.
I’ve changed the way I talk to my eldest son. Before, I’d shout at him: Where you going? Why you coming home late? Who are you hanging around? But I realised that he’s an adult and I have to let him think for himself; I have to let him learn by himself. All I can do is let him know I’m here if he needs me. So now, I’m much calmer when I talk to him. If I call him, I’ll ask: Are you ok? Have you eaten? I’ll say, “Be careful, I love you”. The atmosphere inside my home is different now – calmer, less tense.
Before the course, I felt like we were just angry at home. As a parent, you are concerned about your kids – because it’s very scary out there, there’s not a week that can pass by without someone being stabbed. Once you have a child that’s it, you just worry all the time; seriously – all the time. Sometimes the world is too much. If you don’t have things like Kids Matter, the worry kind of consumes you; takes over your mind and then you bring it into your home. It runs you down and makes you tired.
The first week I did the course I went home and I could completely see the difference; I wasn’t that angry anymore. The Kids Matter course is like counselling because it makes you realise that you are not going mad; that you are not the only one who’s going through it. Everybody’s a parent; there’s no judgment. The course helped me with my parenting but was also a chance for me to offload; it helped me emotionally.
I am not scared to be alone anymore. It was good for me to go out and be with people who understand and who are in my church…who are friends even after the course is finished. When I’m struggling or having difficulty with this and that, I know I can text and find support.
Everything I learnt about parenting my eldest son, filters down to my younger children. Kids Matter is a really good course.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals.
The attached picture is not a representation of the individual concerned.