In September 2018 we were getting so desperate. Things were not going well at home and we were really struggling with Miss 13's behaviours. We had concerns around what the effect of her behaviours was having on the other children so we mentioned this to the CAF Clinical Nurse. Her recommendation was for the family to attend counselling together.
I have to admit the thought of this terrified me, to begin with, three or four people watching us, and then telling us everything we were doing wrong (thankfully it didn't go like that). We agreed that it would be for the best to give it ago. We didn't want to turn down anything that was on offer that could benefit us all, let alone Miss 13.
A referral was put in and we were advised we would be seen by the end of November. In January when we finally got seen again after the holidays and we asked for an update, we were left waiting. Finally, early February it was admitted there had been a stuff up with the referral and that supposedly we had declined the offer. This was a little hard for us to stomach considering we had never heard from them let alone decline them.
Things were beginning to get stressful again in the house, so we were finally able to start our family counselling.
We were offered the opportunity to attend four sessions, the first with the children then the rest with us. It was interesting hearing how the children engaged in the session. We saw a new side to Mr 14 who actually took the lead and was able to communicate his concerns. Miss 11 gave a tiny bit before she fringe boredom, Mr 11 well he wasn't having a bar of the whole things, he felt his role was to entertain the room. Poor Miss 13 thought she was under attack and sat most of the session in her defensive pose.
The biggest take from this session was that the children wanted more positive reinforcement. This was a fair call as we were aware that we had slipped in a negative outlook with everything going on.
Both DH and I left wondering what we had got ourselves into.
The next two sessions we went and gained nothing, they told us everything we were doing, trying and putting into place was fantastic. Their advice, keep doing what you are doing. They didn't have any tips or tricks that we could take away, we felt somewhat disappointed.
The last session was with the children again, they talk about the positive changes, it was great to hear.
What did we learn from this experience, sadly not a lot, we went in expect some tips and ways forward but this seemed not to be the case.
However we did feel please with ourselves having ticked that box, and we wait patiently for the what next.