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Protective Urges Working with the Feelings of Parents and Caregivers.

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Presentation on theme: "Protective Urges Working with the Feelings of Parents and Caregivers."— Presentation transcript:

1 Protective Urges Working with the Feelings of Parents and Caregivers

2 The reason infants survive 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 University of CA, San Francisco Infant-Parent Program

3 Fundamental Drive to Protect Infants Adult’s instinctively respond to infant’s needs Just seeing a baby brings out feelings of tenderness

4 Strong Protective Feelings Both parents and caregivers have these strong protective urges. These strong protective feelings can either: –Lead to a rich parent/caregiver partnership, or –Interfere with the parent/caregiver working together.

5 Awareness Is The Key Caregivers can acquire a deep understanding of their intense feelings in order to better relate with parents. Parents are supported in articulating their values, culture and daily interactions with caregivers.

6 Working with Parent’s Feelings A key to working with parent’s is learning about what they look for in a caregiver. Research has shown that parents identity the following caregiver attributes as most important: –Understanding –Competence –Honesty

7 Parents Need for Understanding Parents need their caregiver to appreciate what they are going through. They may not show, but parent’s emotions are often close to the surface. A caregiver who understands parent’s vulnerability, can give them the support their seek.

8 Parents Need for Competence Parents need to be reassured that the caregiver knows what she is doing. Parents’ questions are more often a reflection of their anxieties vs. an assessment of caregiver competence. Their heightened emotions can keep them from seeing the good job that a caregiver is doing.

9 Will they know what to do? You know, real basic stuff: How will they know when to change her 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 Parents’ Fears

10 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 they are hard to talk about. Straightforward communication helps parents form an accurate picture of a caregiver & other staff in action. Encourage parents to drop in at any time & stay as long as they want.

11 Summary of Issues of 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 & gaining their trust & respect.

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13 Caregiver Feelings Caregivers 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. Caregiver’s feelings of anger, resentment, worry, anxiety, & sadness should not be ignored.

14 I think that the caregiver 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 University of CA, San Francisco Infant-Parent Program Caregiver Emotions

15 Understanding Your Reactions To understand your own emotional reactions & actions of the parents, follow this 4 steps process: 1.Explore your feelings, 2.Check out your feelings with others, 3.Seek the parent’s point of view, 4.Develop an action plan.

16 Step 1: Explore Your Feelings Exploring our own feelings is hard. By uncovering your deepest feelings, you gain understanding & are better able to find ways to deal with your feelings. It is important to come to accept your feelings.

17 Step 1: Insight 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 University of CA, San Francisco Infant-Parent Program

18 Step 2: Check Out Your Feelings with Others Share with colleagues that you’re looking for explanations 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.

19 Step 2: 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 if what is happening. Dr. Alicia Lieberman – Psychologist University of CA, San Francisco Infant-Parent Program

20 Step 3: 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.

21 Step 3: 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 for 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 University of CA, San Francisco Infant-Parent Program

22 Step 4: Develop an Action Plan Planning begins with addressing your own issues: –In order to resolve a stressful / 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 to do is plan for yourself.

23 Step 4: Insight There are 3 major areas to consider in developing your action plan: 1.Addressing Your Own Issues 2.Interacting With the Parent 3.Finding Outside Help

24 Addressing Your Own Issues Get support Handle your stress Set boundaries

25 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’ll present the topic Select a quiet place & time.

26 Finding Outside Help Contact a resource & referral agency Seek professional help Identify specific services

27 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 & those of the parents. –When you learn how understanding, competence & honesty can quiet parent’s anxieties. –When you acknowledge & accept your own feelings.

28 Rather than being driven toward conflict with parents, you move toward an alignment of care: parent & caregiver working together to protect & nurture the child.


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