A family affected by isolation and language barriers were able to increase engagement with their community and improve their positive parenting

The family were referred to Home-start Leeds by their health visitor. They had moved to England from Pakistan 8 years previously. Mum spoke very little English and had little support from extended family as they all still live in Pakistan. Dad tried to help when not working but Mum felt isolated, suffered from depression and was finding her 2 years old son’s behaviour challenging whilst also caring for their 10 months old baby girl.

A volunteer was introduced to the family a month after the initial referral and began to build up trust with Mum whilst talking to her about how she could help her. Mum had not had the confidence to venture out by herself or with the children into the city centre because she had little confidence speaking English and worried about dealing with money.

The volunteer was able to accompany Mum on bus journeys and encouraged her to ask the bus driver for the fare. This was a big achievement for Mum and she became more confident and therefore able to take the children out and about resulting in less isolation.

Mum was also struggling with the challenging but typical behaviour of her toddler son. The volunteer noticed that she was often calling him ‘naughty’ and spoke to Mum about this explaining that these behaviours were normal for his age. Together they looked at ways of how Mum could deal with this and put boundaries in place whilst using more positive language. Gradually Mum began to praise him more often which she had found difficult before, due to her depression. Mum found this difficult at first but with the support of the volunteer she became more consistent and confident. Over time, Mum was able to parent more positively, felt calmer and enjoyed playing with her children.

After 12 months of ongoing support Mums confidence increased further, her English improved as a result and she was speaking more easily to other people in the community. The family and volunteer agreed that support was no longer needed.

Quotes from the family…

“I never thought I would be able to go out on my own. My confidence and grown and I enjoy taking my children out.”

“My weekly visits from my volunteer have helped me become a better parent.”

“I can never thank Home-Start enough.”

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