Trust offers stressed mums chance to shine

Among the Anglican Trust for Women and Children staff helping stressed mums to be better parents are, from left, Anna ...
Chris Harrowell

Among the Anglican Trust for Women and Children staff helping stressed mums to be better parents are, from left, Anna McKenzie, Shelmaine Terblanche and Melissa Cole.

Support is at hand for struggling mums who are afraid they have nowhere to turn.

The Anglican Trust for Women and Children, based in Otahuhu, offers its 14-week Mellow Parenting programme for such mothers.

It's facilitated by staff members Anna McKenzie and Suli Latu, overseen by service delivery manager Shelmaine Terblanche, and promoted by Melissa Cole.

McKenzie says the course is designed to help the many South Auckland mothers raising their children in isolation.

The growing popularity of social media is having an impact on society and the way people parent, she says.

"They used to be able to phone a girlfriend and say 'let's have a coffee and our kids can play together'. Neighbours once knew each other but now they know a computer screen.

"People don't have to leave their house to communicate with others. A lot of parents feel powerless."

The Mellow Parenting programme is free for mums with children aged under 5 living in the Counties Manukau District Health Board area. The next course starts in March.

It's aimed at mothers dealing with mental health issues, domestic violence or problems with their immediate or extended families.

The weekly course helps them develop their strengths and learn new parenting skills and strategies.

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Terblanche says the programme emphasises the view that collective responsibility plays a part in successful parenting.

"This creates an environment when they come here that it takes a village to raise a child. Other people are going through the same thing so let's help each other.

"If we took responsibility in that way so many social issues would fall away."

The course gives struggling mums something to look forward to each week, McKenzie says.

"We have mothers from our 2009 programme who are still in contact with one another and two of them have gone on to run preschool programmes. It's life-changing."

Some mothers wrongly believe they need to have a certain amount of money to set their child up for life, Terblanche says.

"We tell them to just talk to and play with their child. They don't need flash toys. They need time, love, and initiative."

The next Mellow Parenting programme starts on March 4.

Phone Shelmaine Terblanche on 276 3729 extension 9509 for details.

 - Stuff

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