Mel and Kevin
We have 2 separate placements. A 16 year old female who likes her own space in her room or spending time with her boyfriend and a 12 year old boy who joined us 6 weeks later who thrives on being in the hub of the family and being involved in every activity. With them both having their own individual needs at opposite ends of the spectrum has at times been very challenging.
Our young lady is working towards living independently and is currently working out her own budget, cooking and doing her own washing which means she is spending more time on her own, either in her room or eating later than the rest of the family. We have encouraged her to cook and prepare meals at the same time as Melanie prepares the family meal to enable her to join us at the table. Any opportunity to engage in a conversation with her is taken to make her feel more relaxed and part of the family. Even though the majority of the time we only get a shrug of the shoulders or the silent treatment. Some would say she’s just a typical teenager but knowing what this young person has gone through it is work in progress and we are having to have a lot of patience and persistence to keep encouraging her to come out of her shell.
Our boy is enthusiastic and wants to join in with family meal times, TV time, outdoor activities and even joining us when we go to salsa. He has low self-esteem so we have encouraged him to make his own decisions in planning meals, choice of films and even the conversation topics with our group of friends at salsa. It has only been a short period of time that he has been with us but the change in his confidence is huge. He now accepts praise and compliments which is very rewarding for us to see. Even when he steps over the line and is a little too cheeky with the back chat, it is still heart- warming to see this young man growing before us.
Having the 2 individual placements means that we have to ensure both young people get attention, support and the advice they require without taking too much time away from the other people in the house. Like any household it is always a juggling act and each young person needs to know you are there for their needs, as and when they need them, even if it is 2.30am.
In a nut shell we wouldn’t change a thing. It has worked out perfectly for us, having 2 separate placements with totally different reasons for them being in care. All our training has come into use one way or another and continues to surprise us on how much we have learnt and automatically put into practise. The support team around us has been fantastic and with the careful matching with placements we can already see the life changing skills these young people are embracing with us even if they don’t know it yet.