Our goal was to design a support resource for kinship carers. Kinship carers – often grandparents – are family members who take care of children when the birth-parents are no longer able to care for them due to circumstances such as ill-health, addiction, abuse or bereavement. The kinship carers are often from deprived communities and face numerous hardships, both generally and as a result of their role as kinship carers.
We worked closely with kinship carers and with organisation Mentor (http://mentoruk.org.uk/mentor-scotland/ ) to design the resource. We learned about the kinship carers’ lives and what issues they faced. A main issue reported was stress. Therefore we designed tailored stress-relief relaxation techniques. By reducing stress and improving the wellbeing of the carers we hoped that both the relationship between the carer and the teenager, as well as the wellbeing of the teenager, would improve.
The benefits of the resource
The kinship carers have reported that the relaxation skills had a positive stress-reduction effect on them and a positive impact on their relationship with their teenager.
Summary of the relaxation process
- Focus the mind here and now
- Release tension in the body
- Relax with deep steady breathing
Format of the resource
So far the work has been exploratory and small-scale. Three future steps are:
- Develop this programme to include the teenagers directly. Interview the teenagers, and, if appropriate, design tailored relaxation skills
- Expand to include different types of families, using the same cyclical and relational model of: improved individual wellbeing = improved relationship = even better wellbeing
- Evaluate the resource in order to scale-up and deliver the programme at a national level
If you would like to learn more about the project please email Jane: firstname.lastname@example.org
The project is funded by The Robertson Trust