With a background in psychology, specialising in early years child development, and years of experience working as a primary school teacher, I expected myself to be a really great parent…. But I struggled.
I spent each day hanging on with gritted teeth and clenched fists, trying not to lose my patience with my young sons. I went to bed each night vowing to do better the next day, and yet when I woke up in the morning I would start counting the hours down until bedtime. I couldn’t understand what was happening. Surely I should be doing this well? Surely I should enjoy being a parent? Why couldn’t I pull myself together?
And I was also asking questions of my sons such as “why don’t they do what I ask them, why do they never listen to me, why do they have to be so unhelpful and noisy etc?”
I had heard about positive parenting courses, so one day I decided to take action, and booked a place on a course with The Parent Practice.
From the first class, I felt the pressure to be this perfect parent, with perfectly behaved sons, start to lift. My sense that I was the only one struggling with the challenges of being a mum of two active boys disappeared. It was clear I was not alone!
I started to understand just how complicated being a parent can be, and was thrilled to hear some simple practical things I could do that started to change the dynamics at home. I gained confidence in myself as a mother, and I started to genuinely love spending time with my children.
Although the positive parenting skills were making an enormous difference at home, there were still some things that weren’t fitting into place so we went along the road of assessments. Receiving a diagnosis meant we now understood how our sons’ brains were wired a little differently, and what they needed more (or less!) of, so we adapted the skills we had learned to maximum effect.
I wanted to share this experience with other families, so I trained to become a parent educator, and have been supporting other families through The Parent Practice, and also volunteering at The Parent Gym, and at schools within hospitals such as Great Ormond Street, and Evelina Children’s Hospital, and assigning parents and children of inmates at Wandsworth Prison.
And now, as a Special Needs teacher in an independent prep school in Surrey, I am using everything I have learned with the children I teach. I have a particular interest in Sensory Processing Disorder, Dyspraxia, ASD and ADHD/ADD.
My sons are now 16 and 12 years old. Despite all the challenges of the last year, my husband and I still genuinely love spending time with them. And never more than watching Aston Villa together!