Parents as Partners

I’ve taken up the mantle as guest blogger this month as Cate is focusing on her family. Collaboration and being part of a team is so important, particularly when life throws curve balls you weren’t expecting. Teams can look so different. The SYF team is always strong and supportive but working in Surrey means we don’t just work for one team – with so much multi-agency interaction, we often work in a team with colleagues from different organisations. I want to share with you my recent experience of this.

What happens when you put children’s services, the third sector and a psychiatrist in a room together? No, not the beginnings of a joke (although there is often a lot of laughter in that room), but rather the joy of working in partnership to implement Parents as Partners (an offshoot from Time for Kids) – the five principles (Connect, Trust, Hope, Belong and Believe) have been reworked to focus on what parents (and carers) need to thrive. We come from three different sectors, bringing together very different backgrounds and perspectives. The wealth of experience and expertise is astounding. You might expect that we are at odds given the diversity, but conversations are thought provoking, purposeful and full of empathy and understanding. Perhaps, significantly, they are not service driven, but rather concentrate on what we can do that will be of benefit to both families and our colleagues.

We don’t often get the chance to digest and reflect on meetings as our diaries are full to bursting – when do we find the time to really stop and chew over the insights and value that emerge through conversation? So if you would, humour me as I reflect on why these meetings are so great.

Firstly, our vision is shared – we all want families to thrive and for parents (and carers) to be included, listened to and supported as they raise their children. There’s also something else very important in this partnership – we connect and have taken the time to build strong relationships with one another. We listen to each other. And we trust each other.

Connection and Trust. These are actually two of the principles of Parents as Partners (and Time for Kids). They capture the way we want to work with parents (and carers), but in fact, they also capture the way we want to work with each other. The Parents as Partners/Time for Kids principles remind us of important values, not just for children and families but for all of us. We all need trust and connection – to be included, listened to and supported in our working life.

So, then, what have I learnt… that we mustn’t forget to look out for each other. That for us to be our best for the children, young people and families we support, we need to also have strong, trusting and caring relationships with our colleagues.

Is there someone you can reach out and connect with – either within your own team or a colleague in a different organisation?

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