Staff-Parent Relationships That Support Parenting

Supporting Parenting: A Balancing Act

Three generations of woman: grandmother, mother and daughter all posing together.Parenting is all things: happiness, joy, and self-confidence; along with loneliness, sadness, and uncertainty. Parents work to balance these emotions along with the varying experiences and behaviors of their children and themselves.

This balance requires that parents learn to keep up with their children’s rapid developmental changes, especially in the early years. The constant changes require parents to become comfortable with being uncomfortable and learn how to be calm and grounded.

Parents bring to this effort their own personal experiences, including how they were parented and treated in other meaningful relationships. They also bring their familial, cultural, racial, linguistic, and community histories to how they understand and experience parenting. And they bring the social interactions in their personal and community lives to the choices they make as parents.

Wanting to do and be the best for their children motivates parents. Feeling pride and seeing how they have helped their children grow and develop also motivates them. Success can then lead to more success. Alongside success, however, parents can often feel frustrated, confused, and sometimes disappointed. Parents need people in their lives who support them in times of uncertainty.

When parents become involved in Head Start and Early Head Start programs, they have the opportunity to share their histories, lessons, and struggles. They also have the opportunity to learn new skills and strategies. All of this can take place through their experiences with Head Start staff and other parents.