Tom and Kelly were at their wits end. The couple had three children: an eleven-year-old (Kim) and 8-year-old twins (Simon & Cyril). Kim was a handful for both parents, and the twins were quickly following in their older sister’s footsteps. They sought help at the local county Mental Health services division one afternoon, and that’s when they were referred to one of our Family Support Services programs at Bridges of Hope. Both parents were very excited–and just a little apprehensive–about the program, which works one-on-one with families in their home over a brief, but very intensive, period of time. During the first couple of meetings with me, they shared how they felt embarrassed that their children were so out of control and expressed doubts about whether it might already be too too late for them to take back the control.
In particular, mornings were awful for the family, because Tom left for work early, leaving Kelly to get everyone up, fed, and out the door on time. There was a lot of fighting and crying, and a lot of stress and frustration for Kelly as she also attempted to get herself ready. Kelly was spending the ten-minute ride to school lecturing the kids amid tantrums and more squabbling. By the time she got to work (about 5 minutes late) every day, Kelly’s nerves were fried. In addition, she was doing all of the housework for the family; and in the evenings, homework time and bedtime were a continuation of the “nightmare.” Tom and Kelly had even stopped going out together as a family, because of their embarrassment over their kids’ behaviors.