Help bereaved youngsters celebrate Mother’s Day

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Two city youngsters will celebrate Mother’s Day despite losing their mum five years ago.

Now, charity Grandparents Plus urges more support to help vulnerable youngsters tackle the underlying traumas reawakened by Mother’s Day.

Grandmum Susan Harewell, 61, of Downs Barn, is one of thousands of grandparents left caring for grandchildren after the death or incapacity of a parent. Susan, a retired care worker, tries to make the day into a celebration. She said: “It’s quite difficult for me but you’ve got to help the children through it. We’ve always tried to keep Mum’s memory alive. We make a cake and make sure we visit their mother’s grave. We call it Mummy’s garden.”

Susan took on the care of her granddaughters eight years ago, when she was recovering from cancer. The children’s mother died three years later because of her alcohol addiction. Susan says, “Each child gets through it in a different way. The older one kept her emotions hidden for several years. She had a lot of anger so she went for counselling with a local charity.”

The charity, Grandparents Plus says Mother’s Day creates added emotional strain for thousands of grandparent carers and urges more support to help vulnerable youngsters tackle the traumas reawakened by Mother’s Day and other occasions when families traditionally get together.

Grandparents Plus is calling for children in this situation to be offered better access to counselling and other support services because they may have emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Around two children in every 100 are growing up in kinship care – or around seven in every primary school.