“Even if there are no concerns, a parent could still benefit from additional support in their role as a parent.”
Points of attention
- Ask regularly about the children and parenting.
- Discuss the impact of the situation on the children.
- Help the client to support their children’s resilience
- Involve the children and support them where necessary.
- Involve people who are closely related (e.g. children, partner, grandparents, neighbour, friend) and support them where necessary.
- If necessary, involve another facility to support the client.
- Make a note in the file how you supported the client in their role as a parent.
How can you empower parents in their parental role and also work on the children's resilience?
You can rely on the KOPP [COPMI]-prevention interview for this. This conversation was developed to support parents with mental health problems in their parenting, thereby working indirectly on the children’s resilience. Ideally, this conversation should be conducted together with the client’s partner. If the client does not have a partner, it would be recommended to involve one of the child’s confidants.
4 pillars of resilience (Family Platform):
Tell the parents that it is important to properly inform their children about what is going on.
Explain to them that this helps children not to worry unnecessarily and it helps to make things predictable. Encourage parents to inform their children themselves about what is going on. They can do this by using booklets, brochures, websites. If the parents do not feel comfortable informing the children themselves, you can suggest having the conversation with the children together. If parents are reluctant to inform their children, try to look for a different way – one that is acceptable to the parents – to inform the children.
Explain to parents that it is important for the children to be able to do child-centred activities.
Children often help taking care of the family. There is nothing wrong with the fact that children do this, but the scale should not tip completely to one side and there has to be enough recognition for it. There has to be enough room for fun child-centred things that promote children’s development and that allows them to relax. It is very important for children to be able to do activities outside the home and have plenty of fun social contacts.
Explane to parents that it is important for children to be able to turn to someone outside the family with their stories, concerns and questions.
Forbidding children from talking to anyone about the parenting issue makes them feel alone. Check with the parent to see if there are already any support figures in the children’s lives. See who can fulfill this role if they haven’t already. This can be anyone: a family member, a teacher, someone from the youth organisation, a neighbour, etc.
Remind parents that it is important to consider their children’s emotions.
Encourage them to regularly ask the children how they are doing, to show interest in their world, their hobbies, their experiences at school, their friends, etc. This makes the children feel that they are allowed to express their emotions, which is supportive.
The order in which you bring up the 4 pillars does not matter. It is also possible that the 4 pillars are not equally addressed or that the parents are reluctant to one of the pillars. In that case, don’t force things, but be satisfied with what parents do manage to achieve.
How do you involve and support relevant people from the client's context?
Support the other parent:
- Ask about the other parent’s well-being;
- See if someone from their social network can be involved to help with parenting tasks;
- Inform the other parent about support options and motivate him/her to take steps if necessary.
Support key people:
- Notify the key people and inform them about the situation. That way, they can give the child extra attention and offer support during difficult moments. However, ask for the client’s permission first.