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“My son and I have a stronger bond”: Mums graduate KUT
By staff member Abbey Kenaly
Over the past six weeks, seven mums have been participating in Keeping Us Together at Dillwynia Correctional Complex.
The most rewarding part of facilitating Keeping Us Together is seeing the difference it makes in helping mothers in custody increase their understanding of their children.
In the beginning, some participants were hesitant about contributing to group activities, but as we worked through each session, the walls come down as they start to feel comfortable sharing their life and parenting experiences.
Keeping Us Together involves self-reflection, and mums are asked to think about how they react to situations, as a parent and in everyday life.
This opens discussions about more effective and positive ways to respond to lead to better outcomes.
This cohort of mums enjoyed the mindfulness aspect of the program.
At the beginning of each session, we would discuss mindfulness activities they had practised during the past week.
Some of their contributions were:
“The breathing exercise helped me this week, the one with my hand on my belly.”
“I’ve been writing a lot. It helps me.”
“I played that game on the phone with my kid Miss, the one you said. If you could be any animal what would you be?
…. She loved it, it was good to play with her because I was just focused on me and her and in the moment ….
She was a monkey and then we talked about the time we saw a monkey at the zoo with Nana.”
We also explored communication and discussed how hard it is to effectively communicate when panicked or in an erratic state and how this leads to saying things we can regret.
In one activity, we looked at scenarios and identified the most effective communication style for each.
Participants told me they learnt a lot about better communication and how it has helped when speaking with their children on the phone.
This has been a wonderful group of mums to work with, made even better by hearing their feedback:
“Stop, pause, play has helped me a lot.”
“I learnt new things and things I need to know to help improve parenting my child.”
“You learn a lot about yourself and things start to make sense.”
“My son and I have grown a stronger bond.”
One of the mums created this great artwork depicting everything she learned from the program (pictured).
Thank you to NSW Department of Communities and Justice for supporting us in delivering Keeping Us Together to mums at Dillwynia.
Please donate today and support mums to build better futures for their children.
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