Michelle

Loneliness in a home full of children.

"It's difficult raising five kids on your own, but I just get on and do it. Back when my youngest was two and my eldest 12, I would go for weeks without speaking to another adult. To and fro to school every day, and not a word to anyone in the playground."

Michelle,
Michelle

It seems silly to say I was lonely – how could I be, with the washing machine constantly going, lunches to make, homework to help with every night. After the kids’ bedtime, the telly took the place of friends I used to have at work.

I didn’t realise how bad things were until I noticed my three-year-old getting really clingy. We never went out, and she seemed scared of everything. By then, I couldn’t cope in any new social situation – I thought people would just stare at me. I knew I had to change, not just for me, but for my kids.

It was a nightmare the first time we went to the Action for Children playgroup. My two little girls cried and cried and I almost took them home. But Monica, my support worker, came out to meet me and I stayed – just for twenty minutes, that first time. Then it was an hour, and finally the whole session.

That meant I could do a bit of adult education – jewellery-making. For the first time in a long time, I asked my ex to look after the kids, so I could go out and do something for myself. I could chat to people at the jewellery workshops without thinking they would ignore me.

"Having support from Action for Children changed me – and my daughter. She is far more independent now and less clingy. I've got a hobby, new friends, and am thinking about going back to work. At one stage, I thought I was going to jump into that big black hole I tend to go into sometimes. Now I've got something to believe in."

Michelle,

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Tips for parents to tackle loneliness

As a parent or carer, it can be heart-breaking to see your child feel lonely. Here are some suggestions for how to tell

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