Motherhood is tough. And if mums are facing added challenges, family life can feel overwhelming. Our work with mums and their young children provides a safe, therapeutic group environment for women who are struggling, but want to make more positive life choices.
What do we offer?
A twice-weekly support group for mums with their young children. This setting is unique: it offers mums a safe space to express, reflect upon and address their needs, whilst their children are cared for by our trained play leader and team of experienced volunteers.
The mums’ group session is confidential and facilitated by a fully trained psychotherapist. Mums are asked to commit to attending sessions both on a Tuesday and Friday in order to maximise the benefit to both their child and themselves.
“The Friends of the Family [Mums and young children] group dynamic is as important as the counselling itself as it provides a support network, practical solutions to everyday problems and a sense of not being alone.”
“I come in twice a week and I feel like I have a home. Friends of the Family feels like my second family; they watch the children grow up and the mums bloom and I couldn’t ask for a better group to be at.”
Within the group session, mums explore issues impacting upon their abilities as parents and seek to resolve their difficulties with support from the psychotherapist and other mums. They are encouraged to recognise and understand personal patterns of behaviour, respect and learn from other mums who may be experiencing similar issues, and take practical steps to overcome their challenges. Mums are also introduced to relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and ways of managing stress and developing strategies to cope with extremes of emotions.
Mums can also be referred to our complementary counselling services if it’s felt they would benefit from extra one-to-one support.
Play sessions are carefully planned and run by the play leader and volunteers. As a result, babies and young children:
- are supported to be companions in play, with both the other children and adults present
- are encouraged to initiate and direct their own play in order to explore experiences and further their own development
- have their individual needs recognised and met in a secure and welcoming environment
- receive positive attention from attentive and attuned adults.
Additional trips and activities for families are organised, and group lunches are also held to encourage mums and children to socialise together.
Who is it for?
Mums with babies or toddlers and who may be experiencing any of the following:
- depression, including post-natal
- feeling unable to cope with the demands of young children
- isolation with no supportive family
- a controlling and violent relationship
- a degree of mental ill health.
How does it work?
When a referral is made, we will reach out to the mum to discus the needs of both mum and child and how we can help. If our service is right for the family, we will arrange a home visit and an opportunity for the mum to come and see the group. Following an initial one-to-one and settling in period for both mum and child, when the mum is ready she will join the group and commit to coming once a week on a Tuesday between 10 – 12noon. To get the most benefit from the group, we recommend mums commit for a year (sessions are term time only). Thereafter we will review on a termly basis based on the family’s needs.
During each session, the Group Coordinator and volunteers will encourage mum to settle her child into the group’s play routine before going into the therapeutic group with other mums. With a focus on child-led play, our team will engage children and nurture and develop their interests and life skills whilst the mums are in group on a Tuesday. We also have the opportunity for mums to have an additional session on a Friday, for one-to-one counselling as required.