It’s Monday morning. Nicola does her usual jobs around the house before work. There is no daily commute which gives her time to make sure her teenage son is set up for his homework. Arrangements are then made between her and her 23 year old son so as not to interrupt each other’s work. Time to start her day.

First, Nicola makes a phone call to a Dad who has seven children. He is not able to make zoom calls so Nicola currently supports him by phone. She discusses the outbursts of his seven year old son which can be violent and then his 12 year old son who is very withdrawn and finds it difficult to talk about emotions. Both the boys are on the Autism Spectrum. Nicola talks him through ways to calm them down and how to express emotions, which they will try out this week. Dad is relieved that he has some positive ways to respond to his sons and build their relationships.

Next up, it’s the final week of a parenting course for a Mum with two children under the age of eight. She has recently split up from her husband after suffering abuse. Her main concern is the well- being of her children after the split. Her son had low selfesteem and her daughter had violent outbursts. Today, they discuss communication and problem solving. Then, they evaluate the course and look at the improvements. Mum is more assertive and has learnt to avoid confrontation with her ex. She feels back in control rather than angry or manipulated. Her daughter has calmed down and no longer hits her brother. Her son is feeling more confident and now talks about his feelings. Mum is very happy andthanks Nicola for all her support. Nicola loves to see how much a family can improve using the tools she gives them.

This is why she loves her job so much.

Empowering parents to make changes and feel back in control makes it all worthwhile.

The next zoom call is with a couple who have two young sons. Nicola’s volunteer, Clare, joins them for the call. Dad suffers with depression and anxiety and is struggling to parent well as their son will not listen to instructions. He is very bright and possibly on the Autism Spectrum. Both parents would like to give consistent parenting and support their son’s needs. Nicola and Clare are pleased to hear that both parents have been having 15 minutes one-to-one time each day and that Dad has spent some positive time with his eldest. This week, they talk about positive praise and clear instructions. Both parents are eager to put these into practice.

One more zoom call and another volunteer, Gwenda, joins the meeting. This time it is a Mum who has two boys. She is recently separated after domestic violence. Her concerns centre mainly around her 12 year old who suffers with separation anxiety. The emotional first aid kit she set up with him is really helping as he now has strategies to cope with his emotions. Mum is finding things so much easier. She agrees to a weekly timetable so that her son knows what is happening each day and when. This should help him with his anxiety.

Lastly, Nicola rings another parent that she is supporting by phone. She is having trouble with her three boys who constantly argue. Going out for a walk together when she returns home from work is helping burn off some of their energy. Nicola talks through ways of encouraging the children to come up with their own solutions, and suggests that rather than being a referee, she helps the children to express their feelings. She reminds her to spend one-to-one time with each child so they all get her attention.

It’s time for Nicola to get back to her family. Once she has tidied up, she goes out for a walk with her children. This works well in terms of exercise but also gives a clear boundary between work and home life.