Kieran and Norma have known each other for around four years.  I met up with them in Falkirk to find out their thoughts on relationships. Read their responses to the four questions below.

What makes a good relationship between a young person and a worker?

Kieran: Reliability, dependability, honesty

Norma: Time to sit and discuss what needs to be discussed.

Kieran: they’re like three key principles: honesty, reliability and dependability

Norma: Yes, knowing that you’re going to be there when you’re needed and it’s important if you say you’re going to do something, do it.

Kieran: With transparency too.

Norma: Yes, because one of the things I remember you saying was about you know, that what was important was having a worker that you could see was actually listening to you, not just nodding at the right times.

What is your most vivid memory of each other?

Kieran: My most vivid memory is just knowing who you are. That you can’t forget somebody. Like you can’t forget who your mum and dad are. Same thing.

Norma: I think for me, my memories…when I first met Kieran four years ago, it’s that whole process of where he’s come from to where he is now, because he’s come so far. Such a long way and I’m not the only one who sees that. The team sees that as well.

What do you do for each other that really makes a difference?

Kieran: Like, if I didn’t have you [Norma]? It might be hard for folk to believe that, but I’d probably be dead. Think how many folks Leaving Care’s worked with, that if you didn’t step in or you left them on their own before you should’ve. How many are in jail? How many are actually dead?

Norma: I think the thing for me, what makes a difference between Kieran and I’s relationship is that Kieran is quite open. And that’s taken time for him to be able to do that. He’s very open, so if he’s struggling, he’ll not keep that to himself and that makes a big difference.

Why do you think relationships are important?

Kieran: That feels like a loaded question...because it’s kind of obvious. It’s like an absolute truth really. What happens when you leave an animal on its own? It’ll fend for itself, probably learn to feed itself, but if it doesn’t have that in it, it won’t do it. Relationships are really obvious in that sense.

Norma: I think we all need relationships. We all need somebody, important people in our life that we can rely on, that we can turn to, that we know no matter what, they’ll be there for us. And that gives us a sense of security, helps us move forward in life, helps with confidence and self-esteem. Just getting that wee bit confidence to get that person to say to you “You’re going to be alright, you can do it”. That is because all human beings need to have some…

Kieran: …familiarity.

Norma: Aye, and I think…

Kieran: …you need…

Norma: …at least one key person.

Kieran: I don’t want to say – inclusion’s not the right word, but it’s like unity. You need to be within a group.

Norma: I think everybody needs that key person they know they can turn to, no matter what. I think it’s really important.

Kieran: So you pretty much described my parent.

Norma: I suppose that’s what we’re here for in a sense. My view of corporate parenting is to try to be as good as you can be. In the same sense as a parent, I try to do for Kieran - and for any of the young folk I work with - what I would try to do for my own kids. That’s what we should be trying to do: trying to be as good a parent to the young folk that don’t have that.

Kieran: It’s like there’s a word missing. Family, or something like that.