Danny, 9 years old, doesn’t live with his parents and rarely sees them. He is cared for by an older relative who has health difficulties herself, needing frequent hospital visits and medication which has side-effects. The unsettling situation and concerns about his main carer was taking its toll on Danny. His behaviour at school was reported to be erratic and disruptive, often resulting in conflicts with other children. Once upset, he found it very difficult to manage his emotions and might cry inconsolably, lash out and shout. It was also difficult for Danny to follow instructions, or even to sit still – especially when upset.
We matched Danny with mentor Rob, who supported Danny throughout his mentoring sessions to name, express and manage his feelings in calm ways. Rob also fed Danny’s sense of adventure and his creativity, taking him on trips to London museums and to crafts workshops where he could make something with his own hands for family members. For a boy who, at the start of mentoring, told us “I’m not good at anything”, each of these achievements were significant, and fuelled a quiet but growing sense of self-confidence.
The mentoring journey can be a rocky one but, the bond with Rob was a strong and trusting one.
By the end of the mentoring year, Danny had made real progress in identifying and managing his emotions. The feedback from his school reflects this wonderful change in Danny:
“Danny now removes himself from situations and children who may have a negative influence on him. He now demonstrates empathy towards other children and is able to hold back making the sort of hurtful remarks he would have made before mentoring began. Danny is also better able to follow his teacher’s instructions, will apologise and rein himself in should his behaviour go a bit too far.
He now plays fairly and respectfully at play times and doesn’t stand out for misbehaving like he used to.”
[Names and images have been changed for confidentiality reasons.]