My eldest is a bit of a tantrum thrower and he can be quite aggressive; I hoped that Kids Matter would help me with boundaries. My main problem is that I am not consistent.
The first couple of weeks were a bit scary because I didn’t know anyone but it got easier. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to turn up every week because I suffer from postpartum depression and have good and bad days, but I was there every week; even if I didn’t feel like it, I went along. It was rewarding to know that I wasn’t the only one with problems and not only are there ways around them but also people I could talk to. It was a little bit hard talking about my childhood (I found it easier to talk about my parenting then to talk about what my mum did) but I learnt that a problem shared is a problem halved, isn’t it?
I enjoyed the social aspect of the group; getting to know people and grew confident talking and sharing parenting knowledge, as did the other mums. The tea and cake was good and it was nice that my daughter was looked after for the duration of the session; she enjoyed playing with the other children whilst my son was at nursery in the same building!
I was intimidated by the roleplay and didn’t always agree with things in the Kids Matter booklet but the programme is about ‘give and take’ because there’s no one way of parenting, and so it was fine to disagree. There were people of different cultural backgrounds in our group; a mum from Russia as well as Muslim mums and mums from the Caribbean, and it was interesting to hear how other people raise their children – and that we all face the same parenting struggles. I found myself being less discriminatory and more understanding of other people.
Since doing Kids Matter I am more patient. My other half has noticed a difference in me; I’ve stopped shouting so much. I’ve learnt to think about why my child might be acting up; that she might be stropping off because she’s hungry not because she’s being naughty. I know I’ve got the coping strategies to manage my children’s behaviour and that there is a reason for everything they do. On bad days, when my mental health is fragile and I’ve got both children kicking off at the same time (throwing themselves all over, throwing and hitting stuff – my daughter has learnt from her brother) and I’m like, “Oh my god what do I do”, I know I’ve got to nip the tantrums in the bud.
I would recommend Kids Matter to people because it definitely helps with everything; socialising, being confident in a group and parenting. Rather than you feeling like, “Oh I can’t do this”; the programme makes you believe in yourself. It was good having people there to listen and not tell you what to do. Everyone gives input and you take away what works for you. There’s no right or wrong way. Even people who have four or five children, might have another child and experience something completely different.
Before the group I’d have rated my parenting a 5/6 and now, I’d give myself an 8/9. It’s definitely gone up!
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual.
The attached picture is not a representation of the individual concerned.