Child to Parent Abuse How are you feeling today baby bear? Sally Fawcett & Karen Kemp 29 th October 2014
How are you feeling today Baby Bear? By Jane Evans
Dear Child, This story about Baby Bear is for you and for all the children who have had difficult things happening at home with the grown-ups they live with. Baby Bear has some big feelings about the fighting and shouting between the grown-up bears, and needs some help to get these feelings out. I hope this story will help you to find names for the big feelings you might have too, so that, like Baby Bear, you can have more ‘sunshiny’, good feelings and less ‘rainy, stormy’ ones. With love from, Jane
Once upon a time there were two Big Bears and a Baby Bear. They all lived together in a house in the woods.
Baby Bear loved to chase butterflies, to make mud pies and to go to Nursery. This filled Baby Bear’s tummy full of sunshine.
One night Baby Bear was asleep with Teddy the teddy bear, when some big sounds woke Baby Bear up. It sounded like a storm was happening downstairs so Baby Bear kept very still and hoped that the storm would soon stop.
In the morning when Baby Bear came downstairs everything looked wobbly and messy. One of the Big Bears looked sad and the other Big Bear said nothing and went out.
After this, on some nights there were no downstairs storms but on other nights there were, with crashes, bangs, whooshes and sounds like the howling wind. Baby Bear found it hard to sleep.
Then one day one of the Big Bears left the house for good. Baby Bear stayed living there with the other Big Bear and there were no more downstairs storms at night. Baby Bear did miss the Big Gone Away Bear but not the scary downstairs storms and sad faces.
The next day at Nursery another bear took Baby Bear’s drink. “Mine!” shouted Baby Bear, snatching the drink back and hurting the other Bear. They both began to cry, so one Nursery Bear took Care of the hurt bear and another took care of Baby Bear.
“Goodness Baby Bear, are you OK?” asked Nursery Bear. “You Seem to have some big feelings today. I wonder what they could be?”
With help from Nursery Bear they talked about how Baby Bear was full of grey, rainy feelings on the inside and how these were to do with the downstairs storms and sad faces that had been keeping Baby Bear awake at night. Nursery Bear listened and said it was time to talk with some other Big Bears to work out how to help make things better for Baby Bear.
After that Baby Bear still had days with grey, rainy feelings inside. Sometimes the rain leaked out and ran down Baby Bear’s fur making it wet and soggy. On other days Baby Bear would feel the tummy sunshine come out.
When Nursery Bears asked, “How are you feeling today Baby Bear?” after thinking for a bit, Baby Bear would say, “a bit rainy today” or “the tummy sunshine is out!” So now Baby Bear finds words for feelings and has more sunny, happy feelings and fewer rainy, sad ones. How about you? how are you feeling today?
Context This resource was piloted whilst the Freedom Programme was delivered at Acorn Children Centre, Castleford by Well Women Service. The Freedom Programme is a 10/12 weeks group work programme working with female victims and survivors of domestic abuse. Whilst the parents were attending the programme, the children were provided with crèche facilities within the Children Centre Building.
Delivery Agreement with Parents The scene was set in similarity to the content of the book within the home corner with the children identified in a safe and non- threatening environment. Four children were identified for Karen to work with and explore the book. The age range was from 0 – 4 years
Child 1 - Age 3 Child 1 chose two bears of the same size to represent mum and dad, choosing the small bear as baby. Child 1 placed the baby bear with dad. In page 12 Child 1 commented that “its dad who has gone” and went on to say that they were sad looking out of the window because he has gone. Child 1enquired who the bear was on page 17 and understood that the small bear had a sad feeling. Again on page19 she related the butterfly to a happy feeling and being at the centre. On the last page Child 1 chose the second face as herself and thought the blank face was a sad one. Child 1 requested to go back to her friends outside.
Child 2 – Age 2 ½ Child 2 chose the largest bear for dad and a medium one for mum. She called the smallest bear baby bear. Child 2 related the happy feeling the butterflies to the children’s centre and was clear that sunshine was happy and the cloud was a sad feeling. When reading page 6 she told me that baby bear was scared. On pages 8 and 9 Child 2 stated that “it is baby bear who is going” even though the pictures depict a large bear leaving. Child 2 concentrated to page 12. On the last page Child 2 said that the first bear was herself, the second bear was me and the third bear was her friend D. When asked what she thought about the blank face she commented that “it was sad and she would paint it black”
Child 3 – Age 4 Child 3 did not acknowledge the bears set out in the room and focussed on the book. He pointed the large bears out as mum and dad but did not mention the small bear. Child 3 understood that the sunshine was a happy feeling and associated the butterflies with the centre. When looking at page 7 Child 3 made no comment but looked forlorn and appeared to shrink down. On page 9 he stated that “dad’s leaving mummy in the house with baby” On page 17 Child 3 enquired who the big bear was but made no further comment. On the last page Child 3 chose a sad face and commented that he was sad.
Child 4 – Age 4 Child 4 selected the large bear and portrayed this as her mum. She chose the Bookstart bear as her dad and the smallest bear was baby bear, she did not specify if this bear was herself. Child 4 placed daddy bear at a distance from mummy bear and baby bear together beside her. Child 4 concentrated up to page 9 and then commented on page 12, which shows the large bear leaving. Throughout the session the baby bear was giving mummy bear lots of hugs and commented “lots of cuddles”. She repeatedly asked to read “The magic sky” book. She then chose a book about monsters and informed me that “mummy doesn’t like monsters, but dad does.” Child 4 understood that the sunshine, on page 5, was a happy feeling. She related this to being at the Centre as we had butterflies in centre that were emerging from the chrysalis. She also understood the sad feeling associated with the cloud in the bear’s tummy. Throughout Child 4 acted out the story using the bears. On the last page Child 4 told me that she was feeling happy and chose the smiling face as herself.
Conclusion Children do not have to be directly present to be affected. Impact was powerful Staff were astounded with the outcomes Trust is a crucial element Vulnerable and resilient children Express feelings to promote healthy wellbeing Preventing poor outcomes