Staff-Parent Relationships That Support Parenting

Carrying the Work Forward with Families

Smiling mother with her child taking a selfie photograph.We know that parenting is personal and that the family, cultural, and linguistic history that informs parenting has deep roots. As Head Start staff and parents build working relationships, they are learning about each other and finding the most effective ways to work together.

Parents and staff each bring something unique and meaningful to the relationship. Their work on behalf of a common focus — supporting the child’s growth and learning — brings them into partnership and grounds their efforts in respect and appreciation of the personal, family, and community experiences that influence family life and impact the child’s development.

Like life itself, learning and growing are in a constant state of change. However, change can easily upset balance and cause anyone to feel vulnerable in the face of the unknown.

Head Start staff can buffer families from the negative consequences they may experience while confronting obstacles or challenges in their lives. This buffer grows out of warmth, strength, and safety experienced over time through secure and trusting interactions and relationships between parents and staff.

These relationships help parents develop resilience and can help to lessen or shelter families from the risk and negative consequences that may result from disturbances in growth and development in their unique family unit and community. A belief in themselves and in others, based on past shared experiences with Head Start staff, can protect parents on their journeys through stormy times of change.