Staff-Parent Relationships That Support Parenting

Step 2. Learning and Finding Mutual Understanding

Three teachers gathered around a table comparing notes.

Sharing the care of children and exploring parenting practices are sensitive and challenging for many reasons, but mostly because parenting is personal. Parents bring their own attitudes, experiences, and knowledge to how they understand their children as well as how they try to motivate and support their children’s development and learning. Additionally, family services staff and home visitors bring their own knowledge and understanding of parenting and child development.

Genuine relationships grow from respecting and valuing perspectives and differences. This requires engaging in open conversations where staff practice sensitive approaches to honoring parents’ experiences and expertise while using their secure relationships to support exploration, discovery, and learning. When staff and parents develop a mutual and meaningful understanding, they build a strong partnership that supports a parents’ decision-making.

Applying the Strategy

Instructions: Review the following conversation starters. Choose one to use during an interaction with a parent. Afterward, take some time for self-reflection. How did using the strategy of learning and finding mutual understanding make a difference in your interaction?

  • What has it been like being a parent this week?
  • What would be most helpful for us to know about your child and your family?
  • Tell me more about your child’s skills and behaviors.
  • How did you figure that out?
  • What kinds of things have you been doing with your child that you think have helped them learn and grow?
  • How do you take care of yourself as a parent?