Monday 25 June 2012
Mum’s heavy drinking was ruining Callum’s life. He had been hit by his mum, and he and his brother could no longer live at home. He was constantly worried. CHILDREN 1ST helped Callum, his brother and his mum by providing counselling, support and expert help.
*You can help children like Callum by donating £3 to CHILDREN 1ST by texting ACT to 70444. Alternatively, please donate online or call 0845 10 80 111.
And if you’re worried about a child suffering abuse call ParentLine Scotland on 08000 28 22 33 or email email@example.com.
Our summer campaign is all about highlighting the effect that alcohol-fuelled violence can have on children and young people. Read Callum’s story below.
Case study – Callum
Claire had two sons, Callum (10) and Paul (eight). She had experienced domestic abuse, which the boys had witnessed on a number of occasions. Claire separated from the boys’ father and had starting drinking heavily on a regular basis. Callum and Paul were struggling to cope with what had happened and had real trouble understanding and expressing their feelings.
Claire struggled to support her sons’ needs and often dealt with their behaviour by hitting them. On one occasion, whilst drunk, Claire punched Callum in the face. Both boys were removed from her care and taken into foster care.
CHILDREN 1ST worked intensively with the boys and with Claire during the year that the boys were in foster care. Callum used play therapy and Paul took part in children’s group work.
During one play therapy session, Callum talked about the time they’d gone to a summer beach barbeque. “I was really looking forward to it,” he said, “but mum had some wine. I felt really scared because the last time she had wine she hit me. Then me and Paul got taken away from her.” He said that he felt nervous during the whole barbeque, adding: “I had butterflies in my tummy, instead of burgers”.
The brothers were offered support to help them cope with the difficult feelings that arose during their time in care, and also in relation to their mum’s drinking. Although they made good progress the worry that things would change was ever-present. “If we go somewhere and people are drinking I worry that mum will have some and embarrass us.”
Claire attended a parents group every week. This helped her see that there were other ways to deal with the boys’ behaviour without resorting to physical punishment and without the use of alcohol. It also helped build her confidence as a parent. When she had contact with her sons, workers helped Claire put into action all the things she had learned at the group. This was also followed up with a home visit to Claire, encouraging her to reflect on the time she had spent with the boys and identify the positives and things that could have been done differently.
Over time Claire vastly reduced the amount she was drinking and the boys returned to live with their mother full time. Callum was worried that his mum would turn back to drinking when she was feeling low. They were able to speak about this as a family. Claire told the boys that where she’d been and where she wanted to be were two very different places and that the work with CHILDREN 1ST had helped her focus on where she wanted to be. She continued to attend the parents group and CHILDREN 1ST gave ongoing support to the family.
All names and potentially identifying details have been changed to protect the identity of any individuals.
Picture by Rob McDougall.
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Last updated: Wednesday 11 July 2012