Posted: 21 September 2017

Ask me about me

Rebecca Mistry is a  Family Work Coordinator with The Forward Trust, supporting some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in society to turn their lives around.

For many of our clients, the issue of children and young people is an emotional one.

Many have lost contact with their families and do not see their children regularly, if at all. For some clients the children will be in the care of grandparents or other family members, living with foster parents, or possibly adopted.

Clients often carry huge guilt in relation to their offending, substance misuse and the negative impact this has had on their own children.

Struggling to be a parent

They struggle to know how to be a mum or a dad whilst in custody, often feeling extremely disempowered and at a loss in terms of how best to communicate with their children.

At The Forward Trust we run a 'Family Ties' programme - a series of eight workshops that focus on helping clients to consider the effect of their dependency on others. It looks at strengthening communication, managing conflict, maintaining and rebuilding family relationships and opening up a discussion on the impact addiction has on both the family and wider community.

Ask me about me

Recently we came across the ‘Ask me about me’ DVD and have been using this to promote discussion specifically in our 'Prison, addiction and the impact on families' workshop.

It highlights the huge impact parental drug and alcohol misuse can have on children and young people, using eight short films to focus on children’s experiences, emotions and needs, from the child’s perspective.

You can watch a section from the DVD below:

Voices that need to be heard

I was concerned that it would raise many difficult emotions - feelings of guilt, shame and sadness, and for many, the memories of their own difficult childhoods, where crime and addiction may have also played a significant role.

Although it has been challenging, it has been hugely beneficial in allowing for discussion, reflection and above all highlighting the voices of children and young people which are so often forgotten or unheard.

'I have put lots into practice from this course already, like asking my son what his day was like from the moment he got up to the time he went to bed, how he was feeling, knowing that I am in prison, writing letters to him and keeping in better contact.' - Client from Forward Thinking

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