No matter the background, many families struggle with parenting at some point in their child’s life. But for families living in poverty, knowing what to do next and having the confidence to take those steps can be a huge challenge. As a result, the parent-child relationship is at risk of breaking down – and the child’s performance at school can also be affected. Fortunately, SHS Practitioners work with families to develop positive parenting strategies, such as establishing morning and evening routines to ensure children are in school, ready to learn, each and every day.
“I was referred to Freddie, aged 10, and his mum, Kate, by the Headteacher. They were worried about Freddie, as his attainment, engagement, and attendance were slipping at school and concerns had been raised about Kate’s welfare. The School Principal wanted me to reach out to Kate and Freddie to see what was happening and work out what I could do to support the family.
Kate was struggling with Freddie’s often aggressive behaviour, the family finances and feelings of guilt over the departure of her oldest son. Kate also didn’t trust Freddie’s teachers and wouldn’t listen to their advice, or take their concerns about Freddie’s engagement with his learning and low attainment seriously. Freddie’s teachers were specifically concerned about his non-attendance, his lack of organisation relating to bringing the right equipment to school, and non-completion of his homework.
I reached out to Kate to understand the family situation and to see how I could help improve relations between Freddie, Kate, and the school.
After speaking with Kate, I could see that she struggled to discipline Freddie’s and had low self-confidence with her parenting abilities. From my home visit, I noticed that Freddie didn’t have a stable morning or evening routine in place. So I worked with Kate to create two child-friendly visual timetables to be used in the morning and after-school to engage Freddie and to help create a sense of normality around school times. Kate also wanted to build up her relationship with Freddie to help him engage in school and feel supported. As both of them liked painting, I suggested they attend an arts and crafts class held by SHS, to help them engage in an activity together.
On top of these positive changes, Kate has also improved relations with Freddie’s teachers, who make sure he is aware of his homework by filling in his homework book and making sure he attends homework club. Kate has also said that if Freddie misses his homework, he won’t be allowed to attend his sports club. This rewards-and-consequences system gives Freddie a sense of responsibility and accountability.
Since working with Freddie and Kate, there has been a noticeable improvement in Freddie’s attendance and engagement in school. His class teachers are very pleased with his progress. Kate is continuing with positive parenting strategies and has a much better relationship with Freddie and the school.”