Staff-Parent Relationships That Support Parenting

Co-creating Strong Bonds

Children with teacher at a table talking.The foundation for a trusting and supportive relationship between Head Start staff and parents is established when parents feel seen, heard, understood, and respected. Feelings of consistency, dependability, and predictability further deepen the staff-parent relationship and make them more secure.

This kind of secure relationship can be especially important for parents of young children. During their earliest years, children grow constantly and change rapidly. The change can be confusing. Keeping pace requires parents to continually adapt.

Supportive relationships between parents and staff are especially critical when parents are confused, uncertain, or working through difficulties with their children. Feelings of trust and security with family services staff and home visitors can help to lessen parents’ uncertainties and vulnerabilities as they continuously experiment with new ways to support their children’s growth and development.

Staff can encourage feelings of trust and security when they see families in a positive light and use a strengths-based approach in their interactions with families. With a positive attitude, staff begin to create a strong foundation for building partnerships. Adopting a positive attitude does not mean avoiding challenges and talking only about positive observations and ideas. Instead, it involves adopting a frame of mind that begins with a family’s strengths. A strengths-based approach demonstrates that all families can make progress. With this attitude, staff and parents can become ready partners who strive for better outcomes together.

Learning from Your Interactions with Parents

  • How do you create opportunities to help families feel safe and comfortable enough to express their true selves with you?
  • How do you contribute to building a parent’s level of trust, openness, and ability to work with you as a partner on their parenting journey?