Staff-Parent Relationships That Support Parenting

Using a Parallel Process

The Parallel Process

Programs can support professionals in ways that mirror the support professional provide to parents. This process takes place when similar practices are reflected in different parts of an organization, community, or system, as well as in the services provided to families.

The staff-parent relationship becomes a parallel process. In this process, the emotional connections Head Start staff form with parents can influence parents’ emotional connections and attachment with their children.

Young children and their parents are in a parallel process of growing and learning. While their journeys are different, they both need to experience trust and security to support their ongoing growth and development. When parents experience positive, goal-directed support from staff, it helps them provide that same kind of support for their children.

With the parallel process in mind, staff can support parents in exploring their own parenting identity and how they want to parent their child. Rather than providing answers and solutions, staff can create space to support the parent’s process of self-discovery.

Learning from Your Interactions with Parents

Think about the parallel process. How might your interactions with parents influence how they interact with their children?