We didn’t know what to expect when we first attended Dandelion Time with our son Alex*, we weren’t even sure it would help in anyway but were willing to try anything.
My son has always been very hot headed and was never a great at following instructions and very easily distracted at home. Unfortunately, coming from our background boys, do not learn to cry or talk about their feelings. They often grow up seeing older role models bottle things up and think that is the ‘norm’. As parents we were struggling to keep it together, juggling work, life at home, home schooling and an eight-month-old baby, and trying to keep him calm was proving extremely difficult.
He was very angry and violent towards his elder sister and dad. I felt like I had lost my loving, caring son, I was always on edge and scared of upsetting him at times. I had to act as a referee between him and his dad whilst being accused of taking sides and hearing him say he wasn’t wanted or loved was heart-breaking. Nothing we could do was enough.
We are so thankful for the referral of the school to Dandelion Time. My son has been provided with the tools to help manage his anger and talk to us about his feelings instead of using violence.
Yes, he still argues with his sister and doesn’t always see eye to eye with us, but he doesn’t turn to violent behaviour as quick or as often as he did. All relationships across our family have improved a great deal. We can now enjoy each other’s company without worrying about upsetting him. We are more patient with him and understanding towards his feelings. We can now confidently talk about what has upset him once he calms down instead of him bottling it all up inside.
The family case workers and volunteers we have met and worked with have been absolutely amazing and patient and have made us feel very welcomed without judging us or making us feel like bad parents.
They have helped us find new ways of connecting with our son. We have found new ways of connecting as a family and spending quality time together with no interruptions just focusing on us as a unit.
Our son has discovered he enjoys being around animals. Before Dandelion Time, he never wanted to touch any animals. Now he has cared for sheep, donkeys and held guinea pigs. He would have never even considered cooking outdoors on a campfire but is now looking forward to showing his sisters how to light a fire and helping with meal prep both in doors and cooking by the camp fire.
We finally feel like we have made a long-awaited breakthrough with not just our son but even each other and look forward to days filled with laughter ahead. We may still face some hurdles but with the newfound understanding and reconnection I’m sure we will be able to get over these.
Thank you to everyone who has helped us on this journey of self-discovery, acceptance and helped us wonder out loud about anything and everything.
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This is a composite case that is indicative of our work, names and images have been changed.
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