Mary and her 14 year-old daughter Kate have always had an intense relationship. Mary has a physical disability and Kate has a lot of responsibility for her age as her mum’s carer. Mary and Kate have been fighting a lot. Mary started to get really concerned about Kate, she was hanging around with older kids and Mary was worried that Kate might be drinking and experimenting with drugs.
Kate was getting into a lot of trouble at school and was at risk of dropping out of school. She had been suspended four times in one term.
Mary and Kate were referred to Reconnect by a disability support service. Their Reconnect worker met with both of them separately. Here are their stories:
My family is being torn apart. We never stop arguing. I am so worried about Kate and her opportunity for an education. I really hope that Kate can open up to you and have someone to talk to about her feelings. She doesn’t want to share anything with me anymore but she needs to have someone to talk to.
I grew up in a house of abuse and that has been something I have never gotten over. I have never wanted my children to experience that kind of life.
I have been so stressed out. I was caught shoplifting and mum was really angry. I hate my school and the teachers. I was suspended once for arguing with one of the teachers, and another time I was suspended because I got into a fight with some girl in my class. It wasn’t my fault but I got suspended anyway. I wish I could go to another school to get a fresh start.
I wish I didn’t get so angry about things and could stay cool when people have a go at me. I have to stop getting into trouble at school because I hate being at home all the time with mum.
I just want things to be stress-free without fighting at home and school.
Kate’s Reconnect worker helped Kate sort out many of the issues that were causing problems. Together they came up strategies for managing her anger. Kate’s Reconnect worker also worked with the school, including teachers and the social workers, and used a school support program, Connections, to find Kate a new school.
Kate’s Reconnect worker was also a support person during her community conference meetings about some offending activities and a court case. Her worker was able to speak about Kate’s commitment to change.
Through support from Reconnect and in collaboration with other service providers, Kate made a fresh start in a new school. She is happy, has new friends and is enjoying learning again. Mary feels that this new friendship circle has gotten Kate away from criminal trouble and has helped in the family being happier.