Dear All,

It seems a long time ago since I was Googling Dorset support services to find a network of support for our family. My daughter and I did the Strengthening Families Course before Christmas in Weymouth and now we have self-referred and S is working with us as my daughters YISP worker. I mentioned to S how the Strengthening Families course had helped us and S suggested that I emailed to say that officially when I had the time. I was very aware at the beginning of September 2013 that something was up with my daughter and our relationship was changing. I realised that as a developing teenager with Asperger’s and also attachment issues relating to her adoption, that it could be that. However, my instinct was that it was more than that, which was why I began seeking support. I got back in touch with CAMHS also via the GP and was in regular contact with my daughter’s school. The Strengthening Families Programme actually increased my confidence in myself as a parent. I actually felt good looking at the parent videos each week as it made me realise I was doing a lot of things right! However, it also began to teach me the changing style of parenting I need to adopt as my daughter is now a teenager. I also did an interesting social services adoption course about the brain of adopted teenagers. The love and limits theme throughout the course was one we have always applied, but recently we have needed to up the limits. But the grounding the course gave me has given me the confidence to do so, whilst realising and vocalising that strict boundaries are part of the love part of parenting. The course also made me realise that my daughter and I were close friends as well as mother and daughter. This has been a lot to do with her lack of friends and problems socialising. I am gradually reworking our relationship to continue a close relationship and trying my best to find her friends of her own age to engage with. My daughter used the course to highlight that for her she was not as close to her dad. We have been working on this as a family and it has been a hard truth to learn and we are still working through it. But we are working through it and communicating better as a family because of it. We now have a family meeting every weekend. We did not used to do this before. We compliment, go through the week and set chores. Our children asked for this to continue after the course had finished.

My daughter had the confidence to vocalise two major worries from work she did on the course. One about her adoption, which has led to me successfully doing ongoing work on her behalf with the adoption agency and also the much more serious issue of having the confidence to reveal to me about a sexual assault. The aftermath of my daughters revelations about the sexual assault by another pupil have been very traumatic for the whole family. My daughter was assaulted by another pupil. CAMHS and the police were involved at the early stages but she also chose to continue to attend the Strengthening Families course even on the day she was interviewed by the police. I could see that my daughter had begun to trust S and this has led to us self-referring and working with S on the CAF form and YISP support plan. In summary, I would highly recommend the course to any other family wanting to review their current family situations. I would like to thank the whole team for their support and S for her ongoing help and support. It has been much appreciated.