Today’s review comes from Sophie*, a single adoptive parent to 6 year old Lucy*. Lucy and Sophie have been a family for 3 years. Their review is of ‘Kids Need…’ cards.
I must first point out that these wonderful cards published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers are a tool for families and professionals to use together. I am not a professional, but have used these with my 6 year old daughter to assess her understanding and inform my parenting a little.
This set of 52 cards comes boxed, with instructions for us, and immediately both me and my daughter were drawn to the image on the box – A very child friendly illustration of a girl with a halo, and an adult. “That’s me mummy isn’t it?” she beamed.
According to the instructions, the cards have been designed for use by practitioners who assess parenting or work with parents and carers to increase their parenting capacity.
The cards come with three headers – Kids Need…, Kids Sometimes Need… and Kids Don’t Need… and we laid them on the floor next to each other. The other cards are about things that might or might not be important. One at a time, we looked at each card and Lucy had to decide which of the header cards to put it with. We had a little chat about each decision she made, but a professional could explore this further. And indeed the instructions come with some suggestions of ways to develop discussions.
For us, this gentle exploration was enough, and Lucy has since asked to use them again and we’ve chatted about the difference between needing and wanting. It also helped me see what things were important to her, and gave me a clearer view of her needs and desires. I’ve become a little more reflective of how I respond to her now. I skipped some of the cards for now, and as she becomes older I’ll swap those in.
Examples of the needs/wants include:
To be believed and listened to
To feel special
To make their own decisions
A stable home life
To be criticized
To be responsible for looking after their siblings
To be smacked
A clean dry bed of their own
Some of these will be difficult for some children to deal with, you know your child best, and know what is inappropriate to discuss given their histories.
For professionals, it might be useful to know that these cards have been designed for those assessing parenting capacity, especially those using the Assessment Framework. And Mark Hamer, who developed them is a solution focused social worker/therapist based in Cardiff. There is a reasonable amount of information in the instructions but this is aimed more at professionals.
We are having family therapy at the moment, and I’ll be asking our therapist to take a look at these cards. I might even suggest to the SENCO at school that they might like them.
Sophie received these cards in exchange for an honest review. They are available online through Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
*Name changed to protect identities.