This best practice page provides guidance for professionals when working with parents. The page provides details of local parenting support classes and drop in sessions.
Parents and service provider views
Parents tell us:
They need to:
- Be able to find information on parenting and family issues when they want it and in whatever style, language or form they can understand.
- Know that if they need help or direct support they can find it locally.
- Know that services working with them talk to each other and are clear how by doing so they can add to the positive experience and outcomes for them and their family.
- Know which services will be best for them.
Services tell us:
They need to know:
- What other services do.
- How to engage the right services.
- What other services are already working with the family.
- How to get sustainable funding.
Vision for all parents and their families
- Parents will know where to get assistance when they need it and have access to those services when they need help in resolving difficulties.
- Children and their families will possess the skills and knowledge to protect themselves from abuse, harassment, discrimination, exploitation and neglect.
- Families will develop the confidence to show their love and to protect and care for their family members and community.
- All parents and communities will be involved in the development of services delivered by well-trained and well-supported staff, providing a fair and equal service, which is accessible by all families.
- All those services supporting parents and families will share appropriate information, methods of service delivery and be responsible for managing risk, assessing the impact of services and encouraging different professionals and organisations to work together.
Aims of the North East Lincolnshire Parenting Support Strategy
- We want to support all parents to be confident, responsible and empowered through access to the right support and information and to develop the ability and skills of parents in supporting their children to achieve their full potential and to make a positive contribution to their community and society.
- We want parents to have access to services when they need them and to feel involved in the planning and delivery of services around their needs.
- We want services to reflect the influence that both fathers and mothers have on their child’s development and be inclusive of all parents and relevant others best placed to meet the needs of the child.
- We also want to help the workforce feel confident and supported in delivering effective services to parents through supervision and training linked to National Standards for Work with Parents.
- We want all services working with families to work together, sharing a common understanding of the value they add to improving the outcomes for those families.
- We want to deliver consistent messages and approaches around social and emotional development of families (including extended family members). This should be the business of all those working with children, teenagers and families.
- To inform commissioners about the financial planning process that will allow stability and confidence amongst all providers of parenting support.
Principles of support for parents
- All parents should have equal opportunity to access the support they need and will not be disadvantaged because of gender, sexual orientation, culture, faith, creed, learning/physical difficulties or social or economic status.
- Parenting support will be most effective when parents and services work in partnership. Good communication and appropriate sharing of information between partners will see this support work best.
- Parenting support will be organised around the needs of parents and will be judged on sound evaluation and cost effective provision.
- Parenting education and support will respect the rights of privacy and family rights as set out in Article 8 of the Human Rights Act (see Appendix 2) and the rights of the child set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).
- Parenting education and support will seek to promote social inclusion and independence to enable children, teenagers, families and communities to help themselves.
- Parenting support services will actively seek the participation of parents and families in service design and delivery.
- Those working with families should promote strong role models both within their service and within the families themselves.
- Good practice will require reflection, supervision and a continuing search for improvement both at individual and organisational level.
Extracted from North East Lincolnshire's Parenting Support Strategy (pdf doc) available to download on the right hand side of this page.
Working with parents
As a professional working with children and young people you are highly likely to come into contact with parents. This means you need to prepared to engage with parents in a positive manner whether this be face-to-face or via other methods of communication. As practitioners we need to be able to recognise the difficulties some parents may face when communicating with, seeking support and asking guidance from any agency. We must gain the trust and confidence of parents to ensure that together the needs of the child are fulfilled.
Below are some key points to remember when communicating with parents:
REMEMBER: communication is not just about the words, it is about listening questioning understanding and responding.
Build a parent partnership-
To be able to support the child or young person in your care, you must build a parent partnership in which you can work together to support the individual. As the professional you must be positive and make the parent/s feel comfortable. This will help to develop the foundations on which trust can be built between both partners.
As the professional you should activity seek to involve parents in the school, organisation or agencies community. You must therefore ensure parents feel welcome and that their involvement is valued.
Parents like anybody need to be respected, you must therefore never make assumptions about parents and where possible ensure you maintain confidentiality. Remember, everybody has their own values and beliefs which we should respect.
Be honest and truthful-
When discussing an individual child’s progress with a parent, remember it is their child you are talking about and therefore you should be open and honest. Parents want you to tell them the truth, therefore you must ensure they are not kept in the dark on any issues surrounding their child’s development.
Make parents feel valued-
Parents should be regarded as experts on their child and should therefore be fully involved in their care, education and overall holistic development. You must value their child as an individual; when a parent asks you about their child’s development never generalise and talk about the cohort as a whole, always give the parent specific information or details.
Give parents a voice-
Allow parents to talk about their child and actively seek their input, advice and opinions. Listen to their response, take what is said on board and aim to incorporate it into your practice.
Be self aware Be open, calm, approachable, and friendly whilst remaining professional at all times. Bear this in mind when considering your body language, facial expressions and general manner.
The language you use should be ‘parent-friendly’; the use of professional jargon or acronyms could leave the majority of parents feeling confused, increasingly isolated and ultimately detached from their child’s learning.
Do you know a family in North East Lincolnshire who could benefit from a little extra support?
Within the Family Intervention Project sits the Parenting Team whose overarching aim is to get parents parenting.
The parenting team works very closely with parents and families and ensures the support plan provided is tailored to meet their specific needs. This means the level of support will vary, however, as well as working with parents in groups, on occasion the team will work within the family home as this is the place where the behaviours need to be changed.
The team’s duties are wide and varied, but their number one aim is to give parents new strategies and tools to get them back in control and strengthen their family unit. Whilst their main objective is to help parents maintain their independence, the team can help organise parents’ time, accompany them to meetings and offer general support in day to day routines.
The Team will work on a one-to-one basis with parents and families, however they strongly encourage parents to engage in the Parenting Programmes that FIP offer, thus enabling parents to share experiences, skills, advice and support each other. The Programmes range from a one day course to a 13 week course, usually held at The Elms during the daytime.
To support the Parenting Programmes and for parents to continue to keep in touch with each other, the team also hold weekly parent /carer drop in sessions. The drop in sessions are run by parents with the team supporting them. The drop in sessions can be accessed by all parents/carers whether or not they have had FIP support.
When are the drop in sessions?
Every Friday morning from 10am until 12noon at The Carers Centre, Victoria Street Grimsby.
What are the criteria for making a referral?
The team require the parents to:
- Agree to work with them
- Be open and honest to ensure they can get the best out of it
- A level of commitment however, much support will be given to ensure attendance
- How do you refer a parent to the team?
- A referral to the parenting team can come from any organisation, agency or through a self-referral from the parent themselves.