A project in a nursery school in Berlin: how children from families with addiction problems are helped

Project in day care centers in Berlin

How can children of families with addiction problems be helped?

Tuesday 02/15/22 | 06:59 AM | to Oda Tishowski

Video: Evening Show | 02/15/2022 | Carla Spangenberg, Francesca Schulze, Vista Berlin in the studio | picture: dpa / Monika Skolimowska . icon image

Every sixth child in Germany grows up in a family with addiction problems – in each daycare center group or classroom, the average number of children is about three to four. So addiction prevention can’t start early enough. By Oda Tishowski

The volcano makes you want to play: Baby Tikka is sitting on a gray plastic rock about 25 cm high with its wings spread wide. What it lacks is its feathers so that it can fly away before the volcano erupts. “Flieg Dino” is a game brought by the “Fluffi-Klub” team to nurseries in Berlin. With the help of the dice game, children from the age of four should learn to recognize and categorize emotions.

Round cards with colorful illustrations belong to Volcano: families of dinosaurs arguing, shy and happy. All children will know many scenes, it is the little struggles and dramas of daily life. But others may seem familiar to only a few of them: the grumpy daddy dinosaur with a beer bottle in its claws, the fright of visitors as the apartment descends into chaos. Anyone who correctly recognizes dinosaur sentiment can collect feathers for Tika.

The game “Dino Fly!” | picture: Hannah Rosebrook

When the clues pile up

“Fly Dino” is only one way, like “Fluffi-Klub” [Projekt-Website bei nacoa.de] He wants to make children strong and resilient. This also includes knowing your feelings and being able to build trust and talk about issues. Then, trained staff can step in and try to help by addressing the parents and arranging help, Hannah Rosebrook, social worker at Fluffi-Klub explains: “It’s very important to me that it’s not about blaming the parents. But daycare centers sometimes note. Something, for example the smell of alcohol. If this happens to someone who takes care of the baby normally, and then it happens once, that is of course not evidence. But if it happens regularly, then of course you look at it differently.”

But what can and should educators do when the evidence is piling up? Hanna Rosebrook advises looking for a conversation with the parents first: “You could say, for example: We’d like to talk to you about what we’ve observed. We’ve noticed this and that in the child—can you say something about that? And if you then notice that the parent is open to it , then you can get through. But if there is resistance and you have a feeling that something is still wrong, of course it has to go on.”

Every third child affected later suffers from an addiction problem

In this case, going further means that more help can be provided and that outside experts can also be called in if the child’s well-being is at risk. Fluffi-Klub communicates in its workshops who can contribute something and what teachers should pay attention to. The programme, based in part on the fluffy hand puppet “Fluffi”, which gave the club its name, runs for a year and a half.

This is badly needed, because children from families with addiction problems are especially at risk, says Andrea Hardeling, managing director of the Brandenburg State Office of Addiction Issues: “It is assumed that about a third of children who grew up in such families later developed themselves. An addiction and another third is probably mental illness.” In the lives of children, who have developed healthy under these conditions, strangers often intervene early and support the child. This could also be a kindergarten teacher.

‘We need more support’

But projects like “Fluffi-Klub” are still extremely rare, only five day care centers can train their staff at the same time. The demand for information is great, because educational specialists know that the problem is on the table. What is scarce is professional help, according to Andrea Hardelling: “More support is needed, both for children and families. Children need contact points for support, and families also need a signal that they need help a lot. More has to happen and of course should. finance it.”

The “Fluffi-Klub” must also be funded – part of it is funded by the Berlin State Office for Health and Social Affairs, and part is borne by day care centers. Five facilities can participate in the program at the same time, and the cost of each day care center is 700 euros. To this end, employees are intensively trained in various workshops on how to recognize addiction problems in the family, how to behave and how to provide help.

break the silence

Sometimes addiction problems in the family really come to light through the daily observations of the daycare staff. But sometimes it’s the kids themselves who handle the situation at home, says Hannah Rosebrook of Fluffi-Klub: “We’ve also seen kids make specific statements as part of resilience training. If we do, for example, work on a topic Feelings and asking the question, In what situations do you feel afraid? Then a child said: ‘I am afraid when my mother drinks again and gets angry.’

This is why Fluffi-Klub doesn’t just train teachers: In Flexibility Training preschoolers learn what makes them strong, not just against addiction: recognizing feelings, setting boundaries and being bold to talk about problems.

Broadcast: Inforadio, February 15, 2022, 9:00 a.m.

Contribution from Oda Tischewski

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