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Michelle is a young mother who had to overcome significant challenges in her life to become the mum she always wanted to be for her children Jermaine (11), Wilson (5), Hemi (2) and Riki (4 months). Describing her life as “a struggle,” she had little support from whanau except her mum Jill who Michelle describes as her “rock.

“Things weren’t changing and they needed to change and they did. I was suffering from depression. I was stuck and I didn’t know what else to do.” So Michelle made a bold move and referred herself to Family Success Matters. There, she met FSM Whānau worker Maria Cassidy who has supported her since. “I felt a connection to Maria. She has a great wairua. She never judges and she has become whanau.”

Determined to change her family’s life for the better, Maria supported Michelle to enrol in Incredible Years and describes that moment as, “the best move I have made.” The course helped Michelle find a way to connect to her kids. One night Michelle took the videos home to watch and discovered valuable parenting techniques on how to praise her children for good behaviour, how to discipline, and how to provide structure for herself and her family within a daily routine. “I thought, the kids look happy in the videos and I wanted that for my kids too.”

Michelle learned that playing with her children builds closeness through fun activities. “I learned how to be a kid again and to get into their mind space.” She also has learnt the value in praising her children for good behaviour and has seen huge improvements in how her children behave, but also in how she reacts to things now. Michelle also gained confidence to parent without relying so much on her mother. Another success for the family was being granted a state house where they finally had a place to call home.

Before Incredible Years, Michelle says her boys were undisciplined. She says they would stay up late, and do what they wanted and not get told off. Through working with Maria and the Incredible Years Michelle gained confidence to take ownership of her role as the authoritative voice in her household.


Michelle says Incredible Years changed her life. She met other parents who were in the same position. Prior to the course Michelle says she felt isolated. She now realises there are other parents out there too struggling and she recommends getting in touch with FSM and enrolling in the course so it can help them too.

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