Sara, 26, explained why the couple thought they would benefit from IPIP:
"I was giving in to the kids all the time just to keep the peace. When I started that pattern, they would refuse to listen to me. It was like I wasn't their mum, I was just a friend. It got to the point where they had control over everything I did; if I went into the bathroom they would be banging on the door and when I tried to watch TV, Poppy would pull my face away saying 'look at me, look at me'. She treated me like her property, like a toy.
"Before the IPIP course, I didn't realise I was such a pushover. I used to see other people's kids kicking and screaming in town and watch their mum saying they could have the sweets if they would just be quiet. I judged mothers who did that, but then found I was rewarding bad behaviour myself at home in exactly the same way."
"I feel so much more confident as a mother now. Of course, there are still some things Dylan and I don’t 100 per cent agree on but the programme has brought us closer and we won’t talk about ‘grow up issues’ in front of the kids any more. We face things together, as a team, and don’t let things come between us. We’re really grateful to Emma and the NSPCC for that."
As part of the course, NSPCC practitioner Emma Stokes taught the couple techniques which they found really effective. One of these was 'quiet time' – when the children are bickering, Sara turns off the TV and tells them it's not going back on until they're completely quiet.
Emma also held sessions on planned activities with them, about how to cope when there are five children instead of three. But Sara said the best part of the course for her was when Emma observed the couple with their children and pointed out all the positives of their parenting, giving them a boost in confidence in their own abilities.
"I have seen Sara use skills she's learned on the course and she's amazing now, she has gained real authority. The couple have learned that it's about working together as a team. As with many couples, there will always be external issues like former partners and financial problems but if they are united, they can face anything together."
"I feel so much more confident as a mother now. Of course, there are still some things Dylan and I don't 100 per cent agree on but the programme has brought us closer and we won't talk about 'grow up issues' in front of the kids any more. We face things together, as a team, and don't let things come between us. We're really grateful to Emma and the NSPCC for that."