At the age of five Rebecca witnessed her mum’s former partner break into their home. He punched and kicked holes in walls, broke furniture, and yelled and screamed at her mum threatening to kill her until the police came and removed him. Rebecca felt scared at home and would not leave her mum’s side. She had trouble sleeping and said she had horrible feelings in her tummy. She would only sleep when next to her mum and was becoming increasingly controlling and aggressive toward her mum as she struggled to manage her fears and worries.

Our children’s and families worker helped Rebecca to understand and manage the horrible feelings in her tummy, and helped her to identify safe places and people she could ask for help. With this help Rebecca made some worry boxes, a small one for small worries that she could manage herself and a bigger one for big worries to talk with mum about. Rebecca was also given a dream catcher to catch the bad dreams at night.

At the same time mum was helped to understand Rebecca’s behaviour, to recognise the difference between normal five year old behaviour and signs of trauma. Mum was then able to identify strategies and boundaries to help Rebecca feel safe again. Mum put a plan in place including a reward chart for every night Rebecca was able to sleep through the night, slowly moving her back to her own bed as she felt safer. Rebecca’s mum felt more confident in understanding and meeting Rebecca’s needs and putting in age appropriate boundaries.

Their relationship blossomed again. Rebecca now sleeps through the night, most nights in her own bed and says that home feels safe.