Debby Morgan, Service Coordinator at Action for Children talks about how we support children to get through emotional abuse with families like Maria's.

“25 year old Maria is Mum to 3 year old Sophie who has complex needs due a range of disabilities and health issues and 4 month old baby Harry. Her partner and father of the children was sporadically involved with the family, there were issues with drug misuse, he had significant spells in prison and had damaged the family home repeatedly to the extent that the police had prevented him from visiting Maria and the children.

The impact on Maria and the children was immense. Maria was meeting the medical needs of Sophie, however the amount of time spent seeing to her daily needs meant that baby Harry had no time with his parents and his emotional needs were being neglected.

Sometimes when Harry cried there was a lot of positive response; he was cuddled, cooed at and his needs met. Other times his crying was ignored for hours his mum became frustrated and would become angry with him."

"For children, the inconsistency in responses is confusing and can lead to deep rooted lifelong problems."

Debby Morgan, Service Coordinator at Action for Children,
Maria stock

"To tackle the issue we started showing Maria how to do baby massage on a one-to-one basis in the home. At first, she found it difficult to give her full attention to Harry, however over the course of a month she became more engaged as she noticed that this relaxed Harry and she also begun to enjoy their special time together.

Maria took part in a twelve week parenting programme at the Action for Children centre where we use play-based every day activities to support parents to recognise and act on learning and development opportunities with their children in a fun and engaging way. By the end of the course, Mum told us that she felt less awkward whilst playing with Harry. She had felt silly to be doing it but now she was able to do it more confidently. She also realised that Sophie was showing interest in the activities and was content to watch what was happening which made her feel happier about giving attention to Harry."

"Harry enjoyed exploring all the different toys and activities, we try to offer things that children may not be offered at home, such as messy play. Each week we could see little Harry growing in confidence and really enjoyed being around other children."

"Harry and Sophie now have a fulfilling relationship with Mum, who is much more confident in her parenting and has undertaken further support to fully separate from her abusive partner."

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