Presentation on theme: "WestEd.org Infant & Toddler Group Care Creating Partnerships with Parents."— Presentation transcript:
WestEd.org Infant & Toddler Group Care Creating Partnerships with Parents
WestEd.org Learning Objectives Participants will be able to: Describe the strong protective urges of adults to respond to their children’s needs. Examine the three caregiver qualities that parents identify as most important: understanding, competency, and honesty. Identify their own feelings around working with families, especially when things are not how they would want them to be, and understand how their reactions influence the relationship. Practice the Acknowledge-Ask-Adapt process with parents to develop stronger skills in working with families.
WestEd.org “The reason infants survived and the reason we have survived as a species is because parents are so extremely protective and so attuned to every source of danger that might impinge on the well-being of their children.” Dr. Alicia Lieberman – Psychologist, UCSF Infant-Parent Program
WestEd.org Move About: What protective urges have you experienced or witnessed? Reflect for a few minutes about experiences you have had in your program with protective urges — either your own or a parent’s. After you have gathered your thoughts, move to the posters labeled “My Protective Urges” and “Parents’ Protective Urges.” List your experiences on the appropriate poster.
WestEd.org Fundamental Drive to Protect Infants Adults instinctively respond to an infant’s needs. Just seeing a baby brings out feelings of tenderness.
WestEd.org Strong Protective Feelings Both parents and caregivers have strong protective urges. These strong protective feelings can either: Lead to a rich parent/caregiver partnership; or Interfere with the parent/caregiver working together.
WestEd.org Awareness Is The Key Caregivers must acquire a deep understanding of their intense feelings in order to better relate to parents. Parents need to be supported in articulating their values and culture, and have daily interactions with caregivers.
WestEd.org Parents’ Feelings A key to working with parents is learning about what they look for in a caregiver. Research has shown that parents identify the following caregiver attributes as most important: Understanding Competence Honesty
WestEd.org Protective Urges: Working with Parents’ Feelings Protective Urges: Working with the Feelings of Parents and Caregivers, 1996.
WestEd.org Parents’ Need for Understanding Parents need their child’s caregiver to appreciate what they are going through. They may not show, but parents’ emotions are often close to the surface. A caregiver who understands parents’ vulnerability can give them the support they seek.
WestEd.org Parents’ Need for Competence Parents need to be reassured that the care teacher knows what she is doing. Parents’ questions are more often a reflection of their anxieties than an assessment of care teacher’s competence. Their heightened emotions can keep parents from seeing the good job that a caregiver is doing.
WestEd.org Parents’ Fears “Will they know what to do? You know, real basic stuff: How will they know when to change the diaper? When to feed her? Are they going to feed her? Even with a good caregiver-to-baby ratio, if she gets cranky, will they know if she is sick? Will they know what we know as parents?” Robert Masuoka - Parent
WestEd.org The Importance of Honesty Parents place a high priority on trustworthiness. Honesty is talking to parents about things that happen during the day, even if it is hard. Straightforward communication helps parents form an accurate picture of a caregiver and other staff in action. Encourage parents to drop in any time and stay as long as they want.
WestEd.org Dyad Discussion: Protective Urges With a partner, share a recent example of parents expressing their protective urges. How did you address the parent’s fears? Was the parent satisfied with your response? What would you do differently next time?
WestEd.org Summary of Issues related to Parents’ Feelings Parents of infants need understanding; they are worried about the quality of their child’s care when they are not there. By helping parents sense your understanding, competence, and honesty, you will reassure them & gain their trust and respect.
WestEd.org Individual Reflection: Care Teacher’s Feelings Think of a time in your work when you were experiencing fatigue, anxiety, anger, worry or frustration. What was going on that may have been contributing to these feelings? What did you do about it?
WestEd.org Protective Urges: Working with Caregivers’ Feelings Protective Urges: Working with the Feelings of Parents and Caregivers, 1996.
WestEd.org Care Teachers’ Feelings Care teachers become disturbed when they believe the parent is not properly caring for the child. They also become upset when the parent doesn’t appreciate or respect them. Care teachers’ feelings of anger, resentment, worry, anxiety & sadness should not be ignored.
WestEd.org Care Teachers’ Emotions “I think that the care teacher might find herself, totally to her surprise, having an outburst of anger or becoming distracted, less organized in her everyday routines. These are signs that she has feelings that are not being managed well, and they are spilling into other aspects of the caregiver’s life.” Dr. Alicia Lieberman – Psychologist, UCSF Infant-Parent Program
WestEd.org Understanding Your Reactions To understand your own emotional reactions & actions of parents, try following this three-step process: 1.Explore your feelings 2.Seek the parent’s point of view 3.Develop an action plan
WestEd.org Step 1: Acknowledge (Explore Your Feelings) Exploring our own feelings is hard. By uncovering your deepest feelings, you gain understanding and are better able to find ways to deal with your feelings. It is important to come to accept your feelings.
WestEd.org Acknowledge (cont’d) “Stay with the emotion and watch it. If we’re angry, it’s a good idea to observe ourselves being angry and to sit with it for a while and try to follow its movement.” Dr. Alicia Lieberman – Psychologist, UCSF Infant-Parent Program
WestEd.org Individual Reflection How do you go about exploring your feelings? Do you have trouble “following or staying with” your feelings? What were the cultural messages you received as a child about having such feelings?
WestEd.org Check Out Your Own Feelings with Others Share with colleagues that you are looking for an explanation that may not have occurred to you. A clear statement of the feelings that are bothering you facilitates these conversations with others. Sharing with colleagues will help you clarify your feelings & give you other perspectives on a situation.
WestEd.org Activity: Clarifying your feelings Write a clear statement about how you were feeling. Turn to a partner and after giving them some background on your feelings, share your statement. Have your partner ask questions and give you feedback about how clear your statement is. Have your partner share her statement of feelings with you. Give her feedback.
WestEd.org Insight “I think that the feedback of peers – of people we trust – is very important in helping us to gain perspective on our own feelings and where they might be coming from, and in giving us a richer understanding of what is happening.” Dr. Alicia Lieberman – Psychologist. UCSF Infant-Parent Program
WestEd.org Step 2: Ask (Seek the Parent’s Point of View) Listen to what the parent has to say. Create a relaxed atmosphere so the parents can talk freely about their feelings. Spend most of the time listening. Don’t argue or try to solve the problem. The conversation will contribute to a more complete picture of what is happening.
WestEd.org Activity: Seek the Parent’s Point of View Share with your discussion partner which of these steps you find most difficult. Share strategies that you have used to make the steps easier.
WestEd.org Insight “By bringing the issue up with the parent in a general way, we can test our assumptions and determine from the parent whether what we’re assuming is right or whether actually there is a different explanation of the situation that is worrying us. The parent may tell us that things are quite different from the way we imagine them to be.” Dr. Alicia Lieberman – Psychologist. UCSF Infant-Parent Program
WestEd.org Step 3: Adapt (Develop an Action Plan) Planning begins with addressing your own issues: In order to resolve a stressful or difficult situation, you have to change how you relate to it. Often your plan will include negotiation & problem solving with the parent or outside resource. Sometimes all you need is to plan for yourself.
WestEd.org Insight There are 3 major areas to consider in developing our own action plan: Addressing your own issues Interacting with the parent Finding outside help
WestEd.org Addressing Your Own Issues Get support Handle your stress Set boundaries
WestEd.org Interacting with the Parent Before meeting with the parent, create a plan to include: Reflecting on the relationship » Is there tension? How might you adapt your approach? Deciding on the content » Decide the key points ahead of time. » Be clear about the bottom-line issues. Planning the interaction » Plan how you will present the topic. » Select a quiet place & time.
WestEd.org Finding Help Family Child Care Providers: Contact a resource and referral agency or family child care association, or family resource specialist. Center-based care teachers: Ask a peer, supervisor, family support specialist or other resource specialists in your organization.
WestEd.org Summary You become better able to develop thoughtful plans for working with problematic issues when you: Come to know the power of protective urges – both your own and those of the parents. Learn how understanding, competence & honest can quiet parent’s anxieties. Acknowledge & accept your own feelings.
WestEd.org Revisit Learning Objectives Participants will be able to: Describe the strong protective urges of adults to respond to their children’s needs. Examine the three caregiver qualities that parents identify as most important: understanding, competency, and honesty. Identify their own feelings around working with families, especially when things are not how they would want them to be, and understand how their reactions influence the relationship. Practice the Acknowledge-Ask-Adapt process with parents to develop stronger skills in working with families.