The Voice of Motherhood Workshop – Thursday 29th March 2018

This workshp was delivered by Tracey Brittain (Strategic Development Officer MVDA) and John Scadden (Middlesbrough Council).

What is life like for you as a mother living here and living now?

The introductory question that opened a frank and personal conversation around the issues that BME parents experience when raising their children. Discussions were around the following:

  • Occasional limitations of language leading to poor communication and understanding.
  • Listening to and acting on information from peers as opposed to professionals.
  • Inadequate or inaccurate information has led to an escalation of problems that could have been dealt with more efficiently if parents had been directed appropriately in the first instance.
  • The complexity around building meaningful and trusting relationships within the family.
  • Parents often feel they are being judged.
  • Knowing what is right, what is wrong, what is acceptable and what is unacceptable when raising children.
  • Knowing all parents go through the same dilemmas and experience the same anxieties.
  • Understanding the different levels or forms of discipline and their effectiveness. 
  • A real fear of the consequences of the actions taken by parents.
  • The occasional unsettling behaviours between parents and professionals when dealing with possible conflict due to misinterpretations of a situation.
  • Cultural, religious and spiritual differences and how they impact on parenting skills.
  • How we react to situations can sometimes bring about the wrong outcome – fight or flight.
  • Children affirming their rights and almost holding parents to ransom!
  • Social media, the massive global impact it has and the challenges it can create. 
  • Peer pressure from school, social media, sports, extracurricular activities and TV. 
  • Increased knowledge of how children’s brains develop and how this affects their behaviour.
  • Restorative approach to raising children
  • Expectations of healthcare, educational and government bodies with some direction too.
  • A need for further input and structured training for parents.
  • The interpretation of spoken language for everyone may be slightly different, therefore producing varying outcomes.
  • Conflicting information often causes confusion.
  • Cultures, values and expectations differ.
  • Little or no knowledge of processes can make parents feel inadequate, distressed and overwhelmed.
  • Early intervention often means a more effective outcome.
  • A need to look at identifying and then tailoring a plan to meet specific needs.
  • Educating ‘in-laws’ too as they are often dominant within a relationship.
  • Parenting practices are often rooted in history so move through generations.
  • Gender inequality, expectations and the role of men within the family.
  • It’s perfectly acceptable to ask for help. (it’s a sign of intelligent reasoning)
  • A broader understanding allows us to offer more help and support to others.
  • Developing a ‘My Family Plan’
  • The introduction of champions, advocates, befrienders and/or peer supporters.
  • Managing conflict, emotional wellbeing, emotional regulation and child development were identified as required training for the future.