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When mum, Jannat*, 40 adopted her baby daughter she thought it would all be ‘plain sailing’ as she had already raised a teenage daughter. However, when her baby daughter turned into a toddler, the tantrums began…

Jannat’s story

My name is Jannat and I have two daughters aged 19 and two. I adopted my youngest daughter within 24 hours of her birth. As an adoptive mother, I was very much conscious of my parenting and was always second guessing myself. It had been a long time since I had been a parent of a baby so I had started joining courses such as HENRY, an eight-week course to help families develop healthy lifestyles.

"Admittedly I was struggling"

It was while I was doing HENRY that I heard about the Incredible Years project. My toddler daughter was expressing herself mainly through tantrums and anger. I hadn’t left her alone with anyone so she was very clingy to me and admittedly I was struggling. The Incredible Years parenting course seemed an ideal way to look at my parenting techniques and how I could improve those and subsequently the relationship with my daughter.

The course was wonderful. They provided a creche facility for our children so that we could concentrate on the sessions. It wasn’t until the 11th session that my daughter didn’t cry when I left her at the creche but amazingly after only three sessions, my daughter’s tantrums stopped!

"I hadn't realised how strong willed and independent she was"

I hadn’t realised how strong willed and independent she was and that she wanted to do things her own way. I had been comparing her to my elder child and how I used to play with her, but I learned to get down to her level, treat her as an individual and let her lead our play time sessions. I had thought she was attached to me but realised that in fact it was me that was attached to her as I was so scared of losing her. I had to face up to my insecurities of being an adoptive mum - it took me so much strength to make it okay.

I started to notice the impact of our play and how she imitated me. I was leading the play before but now I was taking a step back. I learned to understand what her gestures and expressions meant, and I have been able to enhance the intelligence that she has. Her speech has come on and she has started to have proper little conversations with me.

"The course has changed my life"

She has even started going to nursery three mornings a week, which is something I would not have dreamed of happening before doing the course. I have some ‘me time’ which I really enjoy and the anxiety of thinking that I would lose her seems to have gone.

The course has changed my life. I got so much information and support and they tweaked the course to suit everyone’s circumstances. I have changed so much as a parent and by letting my daughter enjoy and have the freedom to make her own play choices, I am more relaxed and enjoying every minute of this parenting journey.

*names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

About Incredible Years

Incredible Years Toddler Basic aims to improve parent-infant relationships and attachment by using positive parenting strategies. The project is aimed at parents, grandparents and carers that have a child aged between 12-36 months.

Through two-hour sessions over 13 weeks, parents, grandparents and carers will learn more effective strategies to enhance their child’s emotions, how to help their toddlers handle separations and emotional regulation issues by using predictable routines.