Parenting group sweeps in to help Kevin

Something as simple as some tips around his household cleaning schedule has proved a valuable tool in keeping Kevin’s family life in order.

Kevin, from Motherwell, joined one of Includem’s Parenting Groups to get some extra peer support around managing his current challenging family situation.

The group met for five, weekly 90-minute sessions, with the objective of trying to build parents’ confidence and self esteem by learning about others’ experiences.

“In my experience groups like this are usually mostly single mums, so being a single dad, I was very much the odd one out. At first the mums felt it a bit strange having a man in the group. But I think they all found it useful getting a man’s point of view from being in the same situation as them. It gave them a different viewpoint to some of the experiences they were going through,” said Kevin.

He said that he got a real confidence boost from sharing experiences.

“The best thing about it was realising that I wasn’t alone. The group that I was part of was fantastic; we all came here as strangers and left as good friends.

"At times I felt really isolated, so having people to talk to in the same situation has been great. Bouncing ideas off each other.

“Instead of keeping things to yourself and bottling things up, I know I have someone to talk to who can relate to my own experience because they have gone through something similar.

“It really was not judgemental at all. Some of the issues were quite disturbing but everyone was respectful; you got the chance to say what you had to say without interrupting. We also had to set the parameters of how the group would work which really helped us buy in to what we were trying to achieve.”

Failing to manage his domestic situation was only adding to the pressures Kevin was under.

“One of my biggest issues was control and management of household chores. I’m a single man and used to doing the bare minimum. But the bare minimum doesn’t really cut it when you’ve got teenage children. You’ve got to step up to the mark. I got some great tips from the group on how to improve what I was doing,” he said.

“A lot of the stuff we talked about in the group, I’ve learnt from and started to introduce into my daily routine.

“I really enjoyed it. I’m already looking forward to the next one. I learnt something every time I came and hopefully at the next group with new people I’ll continue to learn more.” he added.