Jade* is a mother of three children: four-year-old Hanna*, five-year-old Lucas* and seven-year-old Milo*. Jade and her children were referred to PACT’s Bounce Back 4 Kids programme in 2021 after leaving her ex-partner following domestic abuse and stalking. Jade and her children needed support to recover from the long-term effects of the abuse, including the emotional impact it had on the children and the way this expressed itself through challenging behaviour such as aggression or anxiety.
Initially, Jade attended BB4K’s BOOST Self-esteem group, which is a 10-week online series run by the BB4K team. The workshop is for parents and covers topics such as confidence, self-worth, trusting your own judgement, and not blaming yourself.
Jade then took part in the BB4K Under 5s programme with her daughter Hanna, who was three years old at the time. Hanna was struggling with her emotions and would easily become aggressive, and the course enabled her to better understand and manage her emotions and develop empathy. She was able to understand that it is okay to be angry and learned ways to express her anger without hurting others. One year on, she now has a much better understanding of other people and can talk through her feelings and let out her anger in other ways rather than lashing out.
Following this course, Jade’s five-year-old son Lucas was offered play therapy by the BB4K team. Lucas has autism and other health conditions that would have made it difficult to participate in group work. He was experiencing anxiety and did not like to be separated from his mum, and his confidence was very low. Since starting the play therapy sessions, Jade has seen a noticeable improvement in his confidence and lower levels of anxiety. Lucas is no longer frightened by as many noises and has felt confident enough to participate in after-school clubs and try new activities. The play therapy sessions are still ongoing, and Jade is very pleased with the progress Lucas has been making.
Jade was also seeking support for her eldest son, Milo. She observed that he had become distant and withdrawn, which was out of character, and she was struggling to bond with him. BB4K invited Jade and Milo to attend their Heart to Heart programme, which is a series of sessions for parents and children with a focus on developing positive and healthy parent-child relationships, improving children’s self-esteem, and validating and empowering parents to meet their children’s needs.
Milo was anxious and over-excited when the group began, which was expressed in disruptive behaviour. The team managed this well and throughout the sessions, Milo’s behaviour improved and he was able to participate in a calm manner and better communicate his feelings. He was more able to talk to his mum about the topics covered in the group, and by the end of the course, Jade observed that he had returned to his bubbly, full-of-life self. His school also reported that he was much happier and more confident in class.
The most significant difference Jade noticed was the improvement in their relationship. During the last joint session of Heart to Heart, Milo said “I love you” back to his mum, which was the first time he had said this in a long time. This was a really powerful moment for Jade and, since the course ended, her bond with Milo has continued to strengthen.
Jade said she found the whole experience of receiving support from BB4K to be life-changing: “The team at BB4K are all worth their weight in gold. The support we received was incredible. I went from such a dark place where we were literally just getting by each day and dealing with all the trauma and chaos that comes with leaving such a toxic environment, to rebuilding myself as a parent and helping the children to also recover from their experiences and their own trauma and rebuild relationships with them. I’m not a perfect parent, but I’m a much happier one, and there’s no way I could have done it without all the support and advice from BB4K… There just aren’t enough words to show how grateful I am.”
* Names changed for confidentiality
The children are all achieving incredible things at school and doing after school activities, but most of all they’re just enjoying every minute of their childhood in such a more relaxed and happy environment.
Jade, mum of three
I find I don’t compare myself to other parents anymore (well not as often), I’m more relaxed about the things that don’t matter like housework and make more time for the children.
Jade, mum of three