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By Jason Conibeer
September 2002, Newport
A digital story from Capture Wales

Changing families

Jason Conibeer tells us his feelings as his parents separated when he was a young child. Even though this time in his life was difficult, it has made him realise how important his own family life is to him today.

"There are six in my family. There are my parents, plus my own family which are four. A very happy four.

I know that discipline needs to be instilled into children. However, these are not the best methods of correcting that behavior. They only inflict suffering. I have discovered that not all families are like the one I had; they can be very different. Each family has its own fault lines and many, like the one I grew up in, have cracks. Our cracks became a cravass as the rows intensified and slowly we became two, no longer three.

I now look forward to Christmas with both my families. Not because of the presents and the gifts but for the ability to communicate and spend time together.

Visiting my parents at Christmas is a pleasant experience because they are apart.

I know that together they were a disaster; apart they are great.

You can overcome your past and build a better future.

All six of my family have a place in my heart... my own family collectively, and my parents individually."

End slide - 'Reflect on your past and look to the future'.

Jason Conibeer

Tell us about yourself?
I am 31 years old with two young children. I work for one of the big four banks as a business analyst.

There is one central photograph of you and your parents in your story, what do you think about when you look back at this?
I see the tenseness that was in my family then, there were times when I knew something wasn't right but was never sure what it was. When my parents were getting divorced I felt that it was my fault and I carried that guilty feeling around for a long time. Nobody really explained what was happening, it was only when I was a lot older that I found out why they had got divorced. I hope that this story allows younger people to understand that nothing is their fault and that things happen that you don't see or understand.

What was the workshop experience like?
The workshops were excellent it's just a shame that I can't help other people put their stories together. I learnt a lot about using images to relay feelings and emotions.

...and with Christmas around the corner what are your plans this year?
My plans are to spend Christmas with my children and share in their excitement.

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