Annamarie Dack, Founder of Empowered Parents
Helping worried parents to understand their child’s behaviours, de-stress and feel empowered again
Born into childhood neglect and abuse, I was just three years old when the social workers came for me.
Back then, I weighed the same as an 18-month-old child. One of five children, I slept in a bed with no blankets and scavenged food off the neighbours. It was described as the worst case social services had seen in the region at that time.
I grew up with my vulnerability flashing like a neon sign above my head.
By my 16th birthday, I’d become a self-harmer and attempted suicide three times. I’d been excluded from school and with no GCSEs or career hopes, I soon fell into an abusive relationship and became pregnant.
Almost everyone was convinced I would be a nobody, so I set out to prove them wrong…
At 21, I got a job selling school holidays and started my career.
My son, however, was unhappy and began to display behavioural difficulties; he was later diagnosed with ADHD. I had no reference point for what ‘normal’ was supposed to look like and was totally unprepared for the challenges ahead. We went through some very dark times and struggled to access help.
I started working with vulnerable children and – after completing a few Head of Centre posts – a local trust employed me to create a new specialist school for excluded children, which I completed last year.
I was saddened to see that parents were still not getting the support they needed – someone to actually teach them how to manage their family challenges.
Last year, I decided to leave education and launch my own business: Empowered Parents. Without judgment or assumption, I offer both online and home programmes that are centred around intervention planning – giving parents a step-by-step guide to managing behaviours, as well as strategies for dealing with emotional difficulties.
I’m aiming to reach as many families as I can – promoting good child mental health as part of the process; three months in, demand is incredible!
My son and I now share a wonderful relationship, as I do with my new grandson too!
My past is a double-edged sword. I’ve had a lifetime of challenges, but it has given me incredible strength and purpose.