Side by Side
Side by Side (developed from the Grow Together course) is a group programme for non-abusive parents and their children who have experienced domestic abuse. The course is ten weeks long and involves weekly sessions of two hours during which parents and children participate in a mixture of separate and joint activities.
The course aims to increase understanding of the impact of domestic abuse and of healthy relationships, enhance coping and resilience, and improve the parent-child relationship (in part through effective communication). The course is centred on learning through a mixture of creative activities, play and discussion. It can be adapted for special circumstances e.g. child to parent abuse and older children, and on request adaptation to include other family members such as grandparents.
Key evaluation findings
Understand healthy relationships
Gain awareness of emotions and their impact on ourselves and those around us
Learn coping skills to regulate and express emotions
Develop empathy and healing between parent and child
Focus on enjoying, repairing and building on the parent child relationship
Practise effective communication
Share hopes for the future and explore potential barriers
Work on affirmations, giving positive words more power than negative ones
Explore changes to be made: what can be done yourself and what you might need from others
“At the very beginning of the course I was very anxious but I began to look forward to each session and was surprised about how useful I found the course. It brought out a lot of raw emotions to the surface but it helped to put a lot of things into perspective….. They made it so much easier for me and helped me to feel strong and comfortable.”
“This course was brilliant and helped me see the situation I’m in, in a completely different light and I realise it’s not my fault and I am hoping that I can have a better relationship and understanding with my children”
“The course helped me understand how I can help and understand the children from their point of view and also how I’m dealing with my emotions can affect the children”