The story about the support of V.G.
V.G., 38 years old, is a mother of three underage children, two girls 11 and 4 and a boy 7. She is separated from her husband who left home after the birth of her third child. She does not have a stable job and the husband's financial contribution is small and irregular, depending on his seasonal work. The family are financially supported by the elderly parents of V., but they cannot offer more than financial help because of health problems.
the mother has been psychologically burdened by husband's departure and financial difficulty.
At home, there is a lot of tension because the mother has been psychologically burdened by the husband's departure and the financial difficulty. It is difficult to impose limits on children, with the result that the two older ones have poor performance at school and are disobedient to their mother while the younger one remains too attached to her and she is not socialized.
A friend of hers, who had been successfully supported in the past by Home-Start, spoke to her about it. Despite her initial hesitation, V. decided to seek Home-Start's help when the Headmaster of Primary School which her children attended invited her to discuss their behaviour.
The Home-Start coordinator initially visited the family to make a first assessment of the situation. The coordinator found beside the mentioned problems that the mother had abandoned herself, was unable to keep the house in order, the communication between the family members was done only with raised voices, the boy had learning problems and aggressive behaviour while the eleven-year-old daughter presented a picture of an older girl and also defiantly defended the absent father, thus causing the mother's anger.
The coordinator chose to connect the family with a volunteer who was a divorced mother herself. The two of them worked a plan to put some limits on children’s behaviour and normalize inter-family conflicts, based on much dialogue, group play, reading fairy tales to the younger daughter and achieving short-term goals that would gradually lead to improving the self-confidence of the mother and the other family members. Through weekly two-hour visits, children were assigned small missions such as tidying their rooms and studying their lessons. It was suggested to the mother to organize their time so that they all sit together at the table and talk and not eat alone whenever everybody wants or in front of the television and also give the children some responsibilities in tidying up the house. Already from the first visits, the house looked cleaner and more cared for and the children were happy to present to the volunteer some of the schoolwork they have accomplished. At these weekly meetings, time was devoted, when needed, to express all their feelings and thoughts about the absence of the father in order to extinguis hanger. Discreetly, reference was made to the behaviour that is appropriate to the age of the older daughter and to the dangers she will likely encounter if she insisted on this behaviour i.e. to use makeup. The boy entered into a process of assessment of his learning problems by the appropriate agency.
In 6 months, the situation improved greatly at all levels and the father visits the children without creating friction. The children have a better performance at school, the boy is in the soccer team, the four-year-old daughter is more socialized with other children of her age. As far as the mother is concerned, she seems much calmer and steadier in keeping the limits she sets and manages the difficulties more effectively. In her view, Home-Start's presence was a catalyst in addressing their family crisis.