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Understanding parents

I love Sunday evening period dramas, particularly in the winter months. Call the Midwife is one of my favourites, always finding a way to pull at my heart strings.

Sunday’s episode featured a mother who seemed overly concerned about her baby, imagining the worst outcome regarding its wellbeing. On reviewing her medical notes, the staff discovered that her first child had died in his sleep aged eight months and the anniversary of his death was looming.

In the episode, as soon as they were aware of this the medical team showed compassion and empathy towards the mother.

This made me think about how we can support parents and be less judgemental.

We can sometimes put labels on parents: ‘lovely family’, ‘caring’, ‘he’s demanding’, ‘she always has something to say’. We need to press the pause button and not place parents in the ‘good parent’ or ‘bad parent’ file. Labels are not helpful.

What is helpful, is trying to understand parents (see my previous post on how past experience can influence behaviour) and being inquisitive about historical information that may help us understand why a parent may display certain behaviours. We can then offer support and solutions in a non-judgemental way, helping parents to feel empowered, which will have a positive and lasting impact on their child.

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  • Lou

    Well said Laura.
    I didn’t see Call the Midwife but would hazard a guess that even without the loss of her previous child she was right to be concerned about something this time round, even if was something fairly/relatively minor health wise? (Or not?)
    Yes it’s important to respect, work in partnership and trust in the mother’s instincts. Practitioners who are themselves parents would hope for the same when their own children attend nursery or school. Equally, a degree of anxiety or concern is perfectly understandable when responsible for another precious human being. It can also spur is on to protect and fight for our children. Parents are the child’s best bet – and they are their child’s first /main educators- so getting positive experiences of home school partnerships starts early and sets the baseline. Parents are the ones who accompany the children alongside all their transitions, not just for a couple of years.
    Support each other practitioner/parent – and also encourage non judgemental behaviours through seeing /seeking the best, (while of course holding our safeguarding training in mind, it goes without saying but that’s another matter again….). It used to be fab when parents came in to volunteer, in the old days, as working together occasionally really helps forge better understanding and strong parent/practitioner connections. Days out to the forest/beach/ park/museum /garden centre (whatever) can also be good fun, in a spirit of ‘community’.

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