This is a guest post from Michelle, a mother of two who writes at Lost in Blaenavon.
"I know that Flower and Bear are only little, but this is a cruel world. There are paedophiles, drug dealers, drug addicts and generally some nasty people about who are addicted to the thrill that causing someone pain brings! So I'm worried for their safety. Even though I live in a quiet area, I know that there are places that I need to make sure my children avoid, but now it's being forced into their little world. But maybe I should start from the beginning!
I have a brother who is almost eight years my junior. He was a lovely child, who always tried to defend me and would always make sure he helped anyone out whenever he could. When he was about thirteen, he changed overnight! We assumed it was just the fact that he was a teenager and had hormones raging round his system like all teenagers, but it was something a lot more powerful than that, he became very secretive and started stealing money from us. We couldn't prove it was him and so we just made sure we kept no cash in the house.
When he was sixteen, the truth came out and our whole family was devastated! We're a respectable, hard working, religious family so we weren't expecting anything of the sort! It hit us all like a ton of bricks! My brother had been given drugs by a drug dealer in school and he had become addicted to cannabis and cocaine. You name it, he had tried it. He blamed my father's heart attack for his delving into drugs, but I blame the drug dealer that offered him a free sample!
He refused all help and moved out not long after. My parents knew where he was and kept an eye on him. To protect me and my siblings, we weren't told where he was living or anything. I knew a rough area where he lived, but that was it. Maybe it was a good thing, maybe not. For two years, I barely saw him and each time I did he looked worse and worse. How he kept down a job, I have no idea! Every now and then, he'd come home complaining about the lad he was sharing a house with, saying that he couldn't live there anymore, but every time my parents told him the rules for his return home, he would leave the next day and we wouldn't see him for a few months. It was hard because we never knew if the last time we saw him would be the last!
Eventually, after two years, he saw sense. He came home asking for help to free himself of the habits he'd developed so long ago. This was great wasn't it? It was good, except that his drug dealers weren't about to let a cash cow like him get away with dropping the habit! I don't think it helped that he owed them so much money!
They put death threats out on the whole family to try to scare him into giving them the money. Fortunately they didn't know where we lived, but they did have our phone number. Night after night, we would receive threatening phone calls from them and no matter how many numbers we blocked, the following night they would have another ten numbers to ring from.
The police were fabulous! I have to admit! They came and spoke to us and took lists of numbers away and generally reassured us. But the threats to our life were very real. In the first few weeks after my brother came home when the death threats started, the police said to my father that he needed to move his entire family away. We had no choice.
We tried to move my grandmother without telling her, but she was being stubborn and we had a lot of nasty comments from her friends about us taking her away. Eventually, my father told her the truth and she was the first to move. I moved with her as my volunteer work had become too dangerous in the area and I had to transfer.
We left friends and jobs and a beautiful house behind because of my brother's drug habits! In fairness, he has cleaned up his life and doesn't drink or do drugs anymore and now has three boys and a wife. At 23 he's more like the boy he was than when he was 13!
And that is what worries me about Flower and Bear. How do I protect them from the pain that I and my family suffered because of one person's stupidity! How would you do it? How would you protect your family? How can you educate your children about drugs?"