REAL STORIES – Melissa*

Desperately seeking harmony at homeHome and Family family case study

The iPad proved to be the last straw. Leon* aged 10 just refused to get off the iPad, which led to the start of yet another big drama.

Leon’s mother, Melissa and her husband were at their wit’s end.

As a baby, Leon had been prone to tantrums however, as he got older he didn’t outgrow them, instead they became worse and more forceful.

Melissa explains that over the years they’d tried many different approaches, read lots of parenting books, and been given plenty of conflicting advice in their struggle to find a way to best handle Leon. Whatever they tried never made any lasting improvements and the situation inevitably reverted back, and the tantrums would begin again.

Leon’s expression of frustration was affecting all of the family, and Melissa found herself becoming increasingly concerned that Leon’s behaviour was beginning to impact the younger children too – especially their youngest son who was starting to emulate his older brother.

“We got to a point where we were all so miserable and couldn’t keep going like this,” says Melissa. And then, there was the big scene over the iPad…

On the advice of her mother-in-law, Melissa contacted Home & Family Counselling and set up an appointment to see a counsellor.

Melissa had expected the appointments would be for Leon and was surprised when she and her husband were asked to come along to a session. In hindsight, Melissa found this to be extremely beneficial as it helped them as parents begin a journey of self-discovery that enabled them to change the way they dealt with Leon.

At the same time, Melissa found a book called ‘The Nurtured Heart Approach’, which combined with the counselling gave Melissa the right combination of tools to really make a difference.

“It took everything to another level of effectiveness,” explains Melissa. “The book by itself wouldn’t have been enough, but together with the counselling it helped us find a way of working with our son, and helped us all connect better with each other. The counselling helped me to start seeing my son a bit more for who he was, and what he was going through,” says Melissa, “Seeing Leon in a new light gave me this sense of falling in love with my son again.”

Since the counselling, life has definitely become a lot calmer. “Not perfect,” laughs Melissa, “But it’s a lot better than it was. I’m so pleased we went, we were on a downward spiral and the counselling was very beneficial for us. Leon has also learned that counselling is not a big scary thing, or something to be embarrassed about. Which is great because, who knows what the teenage years will bring!”

* Name changed.