People often ask us why would we take our boys on home visits if they fled their home/families to escape violence/abuse?
One of the biggest parts of our boys programme is developing relationships with their families. Many of our boys have survived for years away from their families and there are many reasons for this happening.
Some of our boys come from violent abusive homes, where their childhood was marked with regular cruel punishments for being a child. Many of our boys families have complex mental health difficulties and/or drug and alcohol dependancy, which means they cannot be the loving, caring and protective parents our boys needed. This of course has had a huge impact on these amazing young men. They have felt angry, betrayed, useless and often confused about the way they were parented. They responded by running away and turning to lives marked by neglect, violence and fear, on the streets of nearby towns.
So why do we help them to reconnect to their families through our outreach team. Why don’t we protect them from their early trauma and wrap them in the PK bubble?
Our children have a history and even if their history is full of trauma, their families are part of who are boys are. They have connection and have genetic links to their parents. They need to know that they were not to blame for the horrors some of them endured, but innocent children caught up in the trauma of harsh living. We want to help them see the good bits of their parents; the bits that may be hidden behind the substances they take to cope with a life none of us would chose; to know that even though horrible things happened there is a possibility of a safe enough relationship as they become adults.
To do this we have to connect and build relationships with the families before introducing their sons again. This can take many months. Parents might appear angry or frustrated about all the things they believe their child has done, and it is our role to help them see their children through clearer, softer eyes.
Our boys love their home visits mostly, but if a boy decided not to have visits we respect that. We will keep the family updated about the safety of their son, and we will work with the boy to let them know it’s ok to feel hurt and resentful towards those who hurt them so badly.
It is not about sending the boys home to live, unless we believe that is a safe option and all parties agree, but helping the connection that creates a positive sense of self for these damaged families; to help our boys have the opportunity to keep communication to their family and their history, in a safe and supported way.
You can support our ‘Outreach’ work here.