When a young male was referred to us from the Young Offenders Team in Newcastle for stealing cars, smashing property and joyriding, conflict in his family and with his probation officer was at an all–time high. Multiple school exclusions, drug taking and getting no GCSEs had left the mother and son’s relationships in tatters and the son at real risk of leaving the family home.
The Family Entrepreneur (FE) assigned to this case had to work hard to reach this family and encourage them to engage in support. The son, living with ADHD, didn’t want to reside in the family home anymore and his mother had reached the limit of what she could handle. His ADHD diagnosis wasn’t understood and as he hated the way the medication made him feel, he’d stopped taking it.
With no colleges willing to take him due to past behaviour and no qualifications to fall back on, he was getting into the wrong crowds and making poor decisions. The teen was using cannabis and alcohol to cover his situation and moods. He was constantly turning up at the family home intoxicated.
“I had a tearful phone call with the lad – he said he wanted to give up, he was going to smash the place up and break things, he’d just had enough. I was so proud of him for phoning me and that he’d recognised that I was his next point of contact. It was overwhelming that he’d eventually started to engage with me and recognise the importance of our work. He knew I’d been through it myself so was in the best position to guide and support him. I could hear people screaming at him in the background. The situation was getting out of control, so I told him to leave the house while I stayed on the phone to him.”
After coaching him through the emotions and his argument, the situation was much calmer and they spoke about things the teen liked to do. Our FE discovered he had a passion for fixing and building things. He wanted to be a mechanic, but nobody would take him on.
ADHD can make people aggravated when they have attention, and they strongly dislike confrontation. Other symptoms are carelessness, poor organisational skills, an inability to focus, forgetfulness, restlessness, difficulty keeping quiet, mood swings, irritability, and extreme impatience.
Due to her personal experience of the condition, our FE was able to better understand what the teen was going through and help him accordingly. This included sourcing and reading materials about ADHD to him, as he couldn’t read or write very well. This all takes time but that’s what our model is about – being patient and working at the right pace.
Thankfully, our FE was able to find a centre who were willing to let him resit his Maths and English GCSE in a one–to–one, supported way.
The next step was getting his medication sorted.
“I asked him to explain to his mental health worker exactly how he was feeling. From my family member experiencing the same difficulties, I knew there was a few options he could try. The key is being completely open with the worker, so I went along to the appointment with him, this was really important in terms of reassurance for him, otherwise he may not have turned up.”
He started taking the new medication and we’re pleased to report, he’s still on it now. He started at his placement and hasn’t had one incident or meltdown.
“They absolutely adore him. He’s already started his Maths and English. He’s finished his YOT order, he hasn’t committed any more crimes, he’s loving education and training, and the provider says he’s thriving.”
Working with the family as a whole, our FE also started helping the mother with her alcohol use. She’s gone from four drinks per night to one, over the course of a few months. We also managed to add them as a high priority on the council list as the family were struggling with bedroom tax but weren’t able to exchange with anyone due to the teen’s antisocial behaviour.
Most cases like this one have to be dealt with over a period of time – there are no quick fixes. We start from the top, see what the root of the problem is, and work from the bottom.
We pride ourselves on being an organisation that engages, supports and empowers people who don’t know where to turn. We help people solve their own problems and enable them to change their situation.
“From first turning up to the house and not knowing which problem to tackle first, I’m delighted with how much trust I’ve built up with the family and how much they’ve changed for the better. I was a tearaway teen myself so once I explained I’d been where he is now and experienced the family conflict, and there is an end to it and a solution.”
Our Barefoot Professional model employs local parents who have experienced and overcome similar issues as those we support. They’re in the best position to offer bespoke packages of whole family support and deliver sustainable change in their own communities across North Tyneside, South Tyneside and South East Northumberland.
Our aim is to improve life chances for children; however, children aren’t generally the key factor, so we achieve our outcomes by building resilience and stability in the family home, working with the whole family.
For more information on how we can help, please visit the Our Programmes page, or call us on 0191 643 8938.