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Jan 01, 2016
Strengthening parenting skills within families
Medellin, September 17, 2013
ContentGeneral frameworkWorking with families and the differential approachStrengthening key aspects of parentingMethodological guidelines for working with familiesWorking with families with early childhood policies
1. General framework
BackgroundEarly childhood as a priority
2010 Backed by the Canadian International Development Agency, the Inter-American Childrens Institute (IIN) developed several technical assistance procedures in agreement with Colombia and Guatemala.
2011 During the 86th board of directors meeting, Early Childhood became a priority for the 2012-2015 phase of the Action Plan. A Work Group (WG) made up by the following countries was created: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, USA, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Surinam and Uruguay.
Background2012 The WG scheduled several virtual meetings and created the basis for the document: Parenting guidelines to implement and manage early childhood public policies in accordance with childrens rights laws.
2013 First non-virtual meeting of the WG (Panama). The members exchanged information based on the parenting document and agreed that the comprehensiveness of the management model would be enriched by defining a set of guidelines for working with families.
BackgroundEven though the current version of this document was previously approved by the WG and has already been distributed, any observations that come from this meeting can still be included in it.
The purpose of the parenting guidelines document is to make the most out of positive impact of the initiatives that promote healthy and safe family environments and contribute to the development of children.
Why work with families?Thanks to the efforts made in the region in recent years, a lot of new Early Childhood network services have been created, giving children access to new safe environments that contribute to their development.Children are now able to act as active rights-holders by sharing new ways to play, expressing themselves, and doing everyday activities with their families. The work of the educator is to encourage these types of interactions.Unfortunately, these interactions dont always occur frequently and/or have the adequate staff capable of promoting these activities outside of the classroom and in the home environment. This means there is a considerable gap between the stimulating environments a child will encounter at their educational center and at home with their family. If this gap aligns with cultural barriers, it can exacerbate a childs social exclusion.
Idea strengthIt is necessary to amend comprehensive early childhood protection policies by ensuring they target each child's immediate environment. By doing so, it will be possible to get the most out of the work being done during inter-institutional meetings. This leads to the proposal to implement an extensive outreach effort with qualified personnel capable of promoting new parenting habits while instilling a culture of respect between genders, generations and different cultures and values.
Parenting capacity buildingFrom the beginning of their lives, children partake in a culture in which it is important to understand the many factors that affect their development. From a very early age children are directly affected by their family environment, which in turn is being influenced by much larger environments. Promoting the parenting skills of adults affects not only the bond between parents and children, but it also helps foster new partnerships with service providers while helping improve the quality of these services.
Children's interactions with their caregivers are essential in helping them develop their own personalities.
Significant interactions between children and their caregivers are essential for early childhood development. The dimensions along which the interactions will be significant are: frequency, intensity, timing, relevance and strength of the bond.These interactions will be crucial for developing the skills and means needed to explore the world (learn), define relationship styles and come up with ways for dealing with conflict.When we talk about caregivers we refer to those in close contact with the child and those who assume a key role in helping them develop bonds while also providing for their support or structure. Parenting capacity building
Families provide the context for, and are a collective agent in, these types of care. Families determine their own roles and responsibilities when preparing for early childhood care according to age and gender. In our culture mothers are the primary caregivers, a role defined by tasks and not kinship. By including parenting capacity building processes into public policies and coordinating them with protection networks, it will be possible to have a much larger impact on childrens environments. Parenting capacity building
2. Working with families and the differential approach
Parenting styles are permeated by cultural, social and geographical factors.In order to strengthen parenting styles, the history and conditions of the children and their families have to be taken into account. DiversityEthnicity: afro, indigenous, RomLocation: rural and urbanCultural: cultural characteristics of each communityCapabilities: the many capabilities of childrenFamily structureGender: Gender rolesEffects of violence or natural disastersUnique environments surrounding familiesTHE DIFFERENTIAL APPROACH IS USED TO STRENGTHEN THE ROLE OF PARENTS, MOTHERS AND CAREGIVERS
Why is the differential approach important when working with families and caregivers?Values the potential, skills, abilities and customs of every person, family and local group. Accepts the characteristics and specific needs of every group, especially of those that have not been heard from before. Recognizes that diversity has been a main source of discrimination and has created large social gaps and exclusion. Achieves social inclusion and equitable integration into society.Guarantees the rights of every person, family and group by creating solutions based on their uniqueness. Encourages gender equality in every family taking into account the evolution of the roles between men and women. Acknowledges the impact caused by violence while helping families overcome the victim vs. victimizer dilemma.
Develops the mechanisms for inquiring about, researching and identifying the needs, capabilities and strengths of the aforementioned groups.Creates policies that will empower families seeking inclusion and equity in their communities.Maintains cultural legacies and social fabricImproves the parenting methods that will favor the comprehensive development of all children according to their unique needs.
Implications of implementing the differential approach when working with familiesRedefines gender roles in parenting
3. Strengthening key aspects of parenting
Key parenting aspects to strengthenHorizonParenting practices must contribute in different ways to the comprehensive development of children.
Children and families as seen from a rights perspective
Children, families and their communitiesChildren, families and their communities immersed in the political and institutional spheres.
Recognizes:The entitlement of childrens rightsTheir capabilities as able and active rights-holdersTheir ability to operate based on the interaction with the people around them.Progressive autonomyInvolves:Adults who can facilitate comprehensive human development based on the life stage, characteristics and capabilities.Parents, mothers and family caregivers play key roles: They are guarantors, facilitators and mediators. Children and families as seen from a rights perspective
Children and families as seen from a rights perspective (continuation)
Right to life
Advancement of healthHealthy environmentsNutritionSafety and healthRight to receive medical attentionFamily planningDevelopment rights
Quality interactions: promote exploration and language, sensory and movement exchange opportunities. They promote play, storytelling, music and art.Parenting sensitivitySafe affectionate bondsEmotion regulationRight to search and use cultural and recreational servicesChildren and families as seen from a rights perspective (continuation)
Listen to them (thoughts, feelings, opinions)Acknowledge their ability to make decisions with others about the issues that affect themExercise citizenship differently from adultsDevelop a sense of belongingRight to protection
Social, emotional and physical security:Safe affectionate bonds - attachmentEffective conflict resolution and safe environmentsSafe physical environments that prevent accidents and promote healthSupport during crisis situationsChildren and families as seen from a rights perspective (continuation)
Families are part of a larger contextChildren, families and their communitiesIdentifying and/or creating and strengthening family and community support networks to:Cope with (natural and social) adversity.Accompany the development processes of others.Help children develop feelings of identity and belonging.Create safe environments that promote engagement.
Families do not implement any isolated mechanisms without societal and institutional support.
Each actor (state, family, community and civic society) can and must develop mechanisms that will guarantee comprehensive childho