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APPLYING EC PRINCIPLES TO PARENTS AND CARERS

EARLY YEARS ADVISOR, ESTHER GLASER, SHARES HER THOUGHTS...

We know the value of Emotion Coaching our children. In the face of a busy work life taking time to reflect on how we might apply its core principles to their parents and carers night be useful. Here we look at how each step could be adapted.


Empathy

This not only forms the foundation of Emotion Coaching but of any meaningful connection with another person, be they little or big! Are we looking for those points of connection with parents by seeing things through their eyes? We might be used to identifying behaviours in our children and deducing what their behaviour is communicating, but do we do this with parents? This can be vital in opening lines of communication, especially with those we struggle to connect with.

Labelling and validating emotions

Do we naturally presume that all adults can do this? We need to be mindful that not everyone has the same level of emotional literacy and self-awareness. For some, this may have been impacted by childhood trauma or experiences of disapproving or dismissive parenting styles in their upbringing. Encourage parents to express how they feel and guide them in naming those feelings. Starting sentences with ‘I wonder if…’ can give us a safety net in posing that suggestion, whilst giving them the opportunity to agree or disagree. Sharing resources that you use with your children in class can also be a helpful inroad in approaching emotions with their parents.


Setting expectations

Have we considered what expectations we set of ourselves when working with parents and carers? Do we have appropriate boundaries in place and support from colleagues for when we need it? Do we sometimes expect ourselves to give more than we can? Whilst setting high expectations is admirable, we need to know what we can emotionally manage. Self-care and holding compassion for ourselves is a critical part of this.


Problem-solving

What can we realistically do to support our parents and their children and what do we have the emotional capacity for? Are we able to solve a problem in its entirety or must we accept that we can only contribute to that solution? Do we sometimes go into rescuing mode when that might not be sustainable or helpful in the long run? It can be hard to accept that, despite our best efforts, we cannot always offer the solution we want. We are, however, an important piece of that family’s puzzle.


Take some time to reflect on your interactions with the parents and carers that you work with. Perhaps by applying these core Emotion Coaching principles we can strengthen our relationships with them, which will in turn strengthen their relationships with their children.

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