I have just completed 8 weeks of a Non-Violent Resistance Programme run by Parentline and facilitated by a great Parentline volunteer.
I feel fortunate that very quickly after I was referred to the service that I got a start date and although I was very apprehensive about sharing my story again about how my children were behaving and treating me and each other and coupled with the fact that I was exhausted from walking on eggshells around them, I was glad to get going.
To be completely honest my expectations of achieving a positive outcome were low before I even started the programme as the unacceptable behaviour had been going on for so long and was constantly escalating into more damaging violent outbursts and I felt utterly helpless and unsafe in my home.
I had also completed two previous parenting courses on zoom with different organisations and these did not work for me and I did not feel the engagement.
I immediately felt the warmth and compassion from my Parentline facilitator. She was very reassuring and for that hour every week made me feel like I was the most important person in the world.
I decided to approach the following 8 weeks with an open mind and a degree of flexibility in my thinking.
I loved the logical and systematic approach of the course and from the very beginning I had a pen and notebook, and it was quite easy to take comprehensive notes as there was a lot of information and to properly digest it, I would sit down later with a cuppa and go back over it.
Honestly, there was a lot of information put out there that I already knew and probably every parent instinctively knows but what I loved about the Parentline NVR facilitator was that she presented it in the most logical bite size form and gave me lots to think about regarding how I approach the situation in my home with my children and most importantly with myself.
None of this is rocket science but when you live in fear and are completely exhausted and burnt out just surviving from day to day everything feels insurmountable.
These are not counselling sessions but in between some session’s difficulties arose with the children and it was so helpful to tease out different options to consider in dealing with the issues at hand.
My Parentline NVR facilitator was always patient and considerate, and we did explore other suggestions for different issues, but she was always able to refocus my attention back to where we were in the programme, so the consistency was brilliant.
I know that working with me to help my situation was perhaps a bit more difficult as I am going through a very traumatic separation where my 4 children aged between 12 and 13 are confused and angry and tend to bottle up their feeling and lash out at me. I have no support in fact quite the opposite from my estranged husband.
So, this course introduced me to fresh concepts and ideas about how to change the way that I see things and how I deal with them.
The language used is precise and clear and it helped me set an intention for the coming week and to just take small positive steps every day.
After week 4 I stopped being afraid of my children and started to feel more confidence in myself and how I was parenting.
Unfortunately, domestic violence has been a factor in my home and not by me, but my children have been exposed to both property damage and physical hurt.
I always believed that violence or punishment was not a solution to our problems, and I reacted by freezing all the time, which in turn completely diminished my parental presence and basically the children had no respect for me.
The course gave me back some autonomy in my home. The announcement that violent behaviour will not be tolerated in our home and by bringing in a reliable person to support me, all helped.
I am trying to get the children to think more about their actions and words and my expectations are realistic as they are teenagers after all.
My Parentline NVR facilitator has taught me to think outside the box and reminded me that I love the child not their behaviour.
I think that this is a very worthwhile service for parents and of course every family situation is complex and different, but I would encourage parents courageously come with an open mind.
I found the timing and the pace of the course excellent, once a week for an hour over 8 weeks which is ideal also as so much is covered.
The sessions were extremely helpful for me and I felt very supported and listened to throughout.
Thank you Parentline.