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What is Growing Together?

Growing Together is part of both the child and adult mental health services in Islington. Our team is made up of psychologists, psychotherapists and family therapists. We work with both parents and children aged between 1 and 5 years old, in families where both the adult and child are having difficulties with emotions, behaviours or relationships.

Young children have lots of things to learn about, such as how to manage their emotions and behaviour, and how relationships work.  As a parent it can be hard to support your child’s development, if you are also struggling with your own problems.  If you are feeling low, worried, stressed, angry or lonely, it may be harder to enjoy being a parent. Talking to a therapist in the Growing Together team can help.

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Can Growing Together help my family?

Some people in the families we work with feel worried, while others might feel sad or angry. There can be disagreements between family members about how children should be looked after. Most parents feel frustrated and don’t know what to do next.

If any of the descriptions below seem to fit your family, then Growing Together should be able to help you. Parents often tell us they:

  • Aren’t enjoying being a parent as much as they had hoped: you might be struggling with parenting or feel like you want to be working but can’t.
  • Feel low or sad: you might be crying or upset a lot of the time, or have no energy for all the things you have to do. You might be having negative thoughts about yourself, your life or your parenting.
  • Feel anxious: you might be worrying a lot or feeling afraid about your child’s safety. You might not feel able to do things you would usually do, because you just feel too anxious to do them. Worrying might mean you are doing some things constantly, like washing your hands or checking and rechecking things.
  • Find that they are easily frustrated and irritated by other people: this may be your child, partner, family or friends. You might feel like others don’t understand how hard it is or try and make things more difficult for you.
  • Have experienced a traumatic event: you (or your child) may have been affected by violence, a serious accident, war, or a difficult bereavement. 

Because parents play such an important role in the life of their young children, sometimes when parents are struggling with difficulties their children may also be finding things hard. When this is the case, children can:

  • Have a lot of difficult feelings, such as being very fearful, anxious, sad or angry.
  • Find it really difficult to be comforted or calmed after getting upset or angry. Some children stay very upset, or have unusual ways of reducing their anxiety, or they might find it hard to be comforted by someone else.
  • Show very little emotion, or don’t seem as interested in things that other children find stimulating
  • Not make eye contact with other people or finding it difficult to have eye contact with them
  • Behave in ways that parents or carers find hard to manage. Examples might be a child who is very aggressive, impulsive or extremely active. Sometimes children might be very clingy, not wanting to leave their parents, or don’t like changes in their routines. Some behaviour might worry parents, such as repeating the same action over and over again in a very repetitive way.
  • Struggle with daily activities such as sleep, feeding or going to the toilet, or being delayed in developing language or skills that other children of the same age are managing.

When children are finding it hard, it puts more stress on parents who are having their own emotional struggles.The family can feel that they are stuck in a negative cycle, with parents feeling they aren’t coping and that being a parent is getting harder and harder.

Obesity - A Positive Lifestyle


 How might Growing Together work with my family?

Growing Together is part of both the child and adult mental health services in Islington. Our team is made up of psychologists, psychotherapists and family therapists. We can help you understand more about the difficulties you and your child might be experiencing.

We offer individual or couple sessions for parents to work on their difficulties. We also run groups for parents on a range of topics. We offer sessions for parents and their child together to improve their relationship and the child’s behaviour.

We will adapt what we offer to fit your family’s needs. All of our work is designed to help parents to feel better, and to help their children learn to manage their emotions, build good relationships and develop skills for the future.

We meet with families in children’s centres, GP practices and other community settings.

We are trying to make sure that families are able to get the help they need, when they need it. To help with this, we spend time in Children’s Centres and Nurseries talking to staff about the wellbeing of parents and their children. We also offer training to professionals who work with young children and their families in Islington.

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How can I see the Growing Together team?

If you think that Growing Together could help your family, then please speak with your health visitor, GP, or someone from your local Children’s Centre, nursery or school. They can talk to you about what support you would like and contact Growing Together for you.

One of the therapists from Growing Together will then telephone you to arrange a meeting with you. We can meet with you at a Children’s Centre or another community location in Islington.



Useful resources and links:

Mellow Parenting Groups Website

iCope (Islington Adult Mental Health Service)  

The Holloway Neighbour Group Stress Project

The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships

Winston’s Wish : The Charity for Bereaved Children

Relaxation Information



How can I get involved?

We want Growing Together to be a service that families find accessible, acceptable and effective. We want parents to be involved in as many different ways as possible – in fact many parents helped us choose our name and service logo.

If you have any ideas or would like to help us think about ways we can improve our service, we would love to hear from you. Call us on 0203 316 1824 or email us at growingtogether@nhs.net to get involved


Growing Together Leaflet for Parents

For more information please click on the link to the leaflets below:

Growing Together: A Parent’s Guide

Turkish Growing Together Parents’ Leaflet

Somali Growing Together Parents’ Leaflet

Italian Growing Together Parents’ Leaflet

French Growing Together Parents’ Leaflet 

Spanish Growing Together Parents’ Leaflet

Bengali Growing Together Parents’ Leaflet


Mellow Parent Information

Mellow Professionals leaflet

Mellow Parent leaflet Sept 2016


Information for Referrers

Referral Information Leaflet

Referral Form

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Last updated on 29th July 2016