30 November 2017 at 3:23 pm

Barbara's Story: Parenting Again

Many of the children who come to Cholmondeley are in the day to day care of their grandparents. These are children whose own parents, for whatever reason, are unable to care for them. At a stage in life when they expected to be off enjoying their own timeand adventures, these grandparents find themselves as parents all over again.

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Barbara, now in her mid-60s, has looked after her daughter’s children for the last six months. Eight year old Annie, six year old Jane and four year old Ben came into her care because of concerns about family violence and their parents’ substance abuse. All three children are displaying behaviour that is a result of the trauma they have experienced. The older two have become negative and disengaged from learning at school. The children are anxious, have difficulty settling, and wake through the night. Barbara has no other family and few friends who can help her with the children. She has had to move house twice to provide more space for the children and to be closer to their school, and while she loves having the children around, she described herself to me as ‘worn out’.

Annie, Jane and Ben were referred to Cholmondeley by the girls’ school when it was noticed that Barbara was anxious and exhausted. The children now come to Cholmondeley for regular respite care, where all three enjoy their time. They are making friends, having fun and developing their social skills. They enjoy the education programme and particularly love the physical, outdoor activities such as biking, fishing and exploring the rock pools.Barbara describes these breaks as vital to her ability to cope and carry on caring for her grandchildren. In the meantime, our team here at Cholmondeley has been working closely with the family, their own school and other agencies
to put further support in place for the whole family.

We never know what is around the corner. Most of us have a supportive family structure that would
ensure our children or grandchildren would be cared for whatever happens. But for those that don’t,
like Barbara, I ask that you consider lending a hand today. Please make a $50 donation today to ensure our children, and grandchildren, can experience a positive family life, setting them up for a happy and successful life ahead. Your donation will help Cholmondeley to support a family like Barbara’s.

Many thanks,

Arron Perriam
Chief Executive & New Grandparent
Cholmondeley Children’s Centre

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.