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Tom's story: Twelve years old, he was struggling during lockdown

We worked with him and his family, so he could get back on track

A concerned mother turned to us for help with her son Tom's* anger issues during lockdown. He was struggling to cope with his mother’s Multiple Sclerosis. We worked with him and his family, so he could get back on track.

Tom was regularly fighting with his father, not engaging with school work. This was putting a strain on his mother.

Thanks to support from Porchlight, Tom is now in a much better place mentally, and the family is now working with the school help him catch up with classwork.

Supporting Tom at school

The problem began during lockdown but became so serious that he was asked to start attending school in-person again.

This allowed our workers to start meeting with him in school. They gave him support to manage his feelings and communicate what he was going through - first on a one-to-one basis and then with the whole family.

Listening to his fears

These sessions revealed that Tom was using aggressive behaviour as a way to cope with his mother’s Multiple Sclerosis. He was afraid of losing her and worried that his father, who had to travel for work, would not be around to support the family.

We worked with him to resolve these feelings. This included helping him come up with questions about Multiple Sclerosis he wanted to ask his mother, and coming up with house rules that would help him control his emotions. A plan was developed about what to do if his mother collapsed (which had happened once before).

We also signed him up to the young carer's plan to ease his mother’s worries. This means that an older carer will check in on him during school and report home.

Positive change

He is now in a much better place mentally, and has not had any more angry outbursts. The family is working with the school to get a plan in place to help him catch up with his education over the summer.

Porchlight works with families and children because underlying causes of homelessness can often be traced back to childhood. By putting the right support in place, we can ensure they feel included, have positive mental health and a bright future.

*Name has been changed.

We work with young people and their families to help them stay safe and manage any difficulties they might be facing. The local community can be a vital support network for people of any age. Helping young people connect more closely to theirs is a big part of what we do. Find out more.