I am passionate about parenting and have worked with parents for over 20 years. My first involvement was a personal one when I was finding raising two children on my own extremely lonely and challenging. My life began to change after attending a parenting course when they were at primary school. Since then I’ve been committed to supporting projects that enable parents everywhere to access the ideas and strategies I found so helpful within my own family.
In 2000, in my role as Parenting Officer for the Youth Offending Team, I set up the Oxfordshire Parent-Talk programme for parents/carers of troubled or at-risk teenagers and I wrote the Take 3 parenting programme (http://www.take3parenting.co.uk) to meet the needs of that project.
One of the core concepts of the programme is that we can’t change other people but we can change ourselves. Over the years I’ve met many parents/carers who were at their wits’ end about how to alter their young people’s challenging behaviour. However, I saw adults develop in confidence and transform their parenting skills when they were given a chance to discuss their anxieties and be gently supported to try out new ideas. They began to realize that they could make changes. As a result of this, their young people’s behaviour also changed radically and their families became much happier. When families are in crisis parents/carers typically become confused, helpless, angry and/or depressed and love gets lost and frozen, but when parents/carers can be supported and refreshed with new ideas and skills, they regain their confidence and love and connection can flow again.
Over the years I have trained many parenting practitioners around the UK to work with the Take 3 programme, but these days my particular interest is in working with parents/carers of adolescents (10-18 year-olds), in person or on-line. A series of sessions with a parenting practitioner will frequently enable reconnection and an easier relationship between parents/carers and their young people. Occasionally nothing seems to change and parenting work does not seem to be enough. In that case I would support people to find other help, but if they wanted to continue working with me I can offer Systemic Family Constellations, which can help to shed light on why things seem ‘stuck’ in the family, and also Emotional Freedom Technique, which is a useful self-help tool that can help with a parent’s own worries or anxiety.
Apart from being a parenting practitioner, mother and now a grandmother, I have been a reflexologist, a training officer for the CAB, a china restorer, lived on a small-holding and have a degree in anthropology. In 1998 I co-edited the book Cross-Cultural Marriage: Identity and Choice.