Struggling with a child’s behavioural problems does not mean you are a bad parent.
Mother of five Rachael Payne said with the right support she has noticed big improvements to the way she and her husband approach parenting.
Reflecting on this year’s National Families Week theme – ‘Stronger families, stronger communities’ Rachael is thankful for the change being brought about by CatholicCare NT’s programs designed to help families like hers.
Before her eight-year-old son was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD at the age of four, Rachael was working fulltime in a job she loved.
“I went from working fulltime to being a stay at home mum because I felt torn between my responsibility as a working citizen and my family,” she said.
Rachael spiraled into depression spending a lot of time under her blanket crying. That was until she met her support worker from CatholicCare NT. “She helped pull me out of it.”
Before then her son wouldn’t sleep. He would hurl physical and verbal abuse towards Rachael. She felt he no longer wanted to be with her, so he moved in with his dad for a while.
“My ex-partner always said his behavior was bad parenting. He soon discovered otherwise.
“On his return home my cries were finally answered. In February this year I was introduced to the family strengths program, and a CatholicCare NT support worker who provided in home support.
“You can’t imagine the relief I felt,” said Rachael.
Admitting to feeling nervous about her first meeting with CatholicCare NT, Rachael knew this was the turning point to something better.
Rachael urges anyone who needs help being a better parent to speak out and ask for it.
“I used to think asking for help would mean my kids would be taken away. I had no idea asking for help could open my world.
“Before working with CatholicCare NT our family flew solo, now we enjoy spending time together.
“My husband works six days a week so we’ve made Sunday our mystery tour day. When we wake the kids they have no idea what adventure lies ahead. So far we’ve headed out to the water gardens, had a barbeque in the park, and a day around the spa at home.
“We still have some way to go but we are better than we were,” said Rachael.
Jayne Lloyd, Director CatholicCare NT said it was time to acknowledge the critical role families play in building a stronger community.
“CatholicCare NT has programs specifically providing support to families in Darwin, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Katherine, Wadeye and on the Tiwi Islands.
“Our programs support families to discuss issues and explore options to bring about change to strengthen relationships, and improve overall happiness.” she said
National Families Week 2014 will be held from Thursday 15 May to Wednesday 21 May, 2014 (coinciding with the United Nations International Day of Families on 15 May).