Connective Parenting

Joanne Palmer, a Social Worker in Catholic Care's Schools, Children and Family Wellbeing Service writes …

Hello, I’m Jo! I’m lucky to be part of a passionate and skilled team at Catholic Care, and really enjoy my role going into schools to provide support to children, families and staff.

Another exciting area of my role is being part of the Connective Parenting Programme. Connective Parenting is a child-focused and relationship-based approach that takes its foundations from the model of NVR (Non-Violence Resistance). The framework of NVR supports parents and carers to develop strong, positive relationships with their child and manage difficult, conflictual situations if these are present.

The programme is for 6 weeks, and during this time I make visits to families in their homes. It’s a very positive, supportive, and empowering programme to help families build strong connections and create opportunities for change in behaviour and relationships. It’s always individual for each family and based on their needs.

During the sessions we explore supportive activities to help families prioritise their concerns and create plans to address these, which works to reduce potential overwhelm where there are multiple issues present.

We take time to reflect on communication and, alongside NVR, we consider another valuable approach: PACE (Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy). PACE helps us focus on how we think, feel, behave, and communicate, with the aim of making the child feel safe. Over the course of the programme, we explore how to apply PACE communication to help build trusting, connected relationships.

An important theme of the programme is around self-care for parents and carers. With the mindset that ‘You cannot pour from an empty cup’, we explore ideas of how to help parents and carers identify and meet their own needs too, and think about their support systems.

Throughout the programme we work at the pace of each family, to gradually introduce strategies, focusing on those which are most suitable for them, with the aim that these will develop over time, where it is hoped that positive changes for the whole family will be experienced.

If you have any questions or would like to talk to me about Connective Parenting, it would be great to hear from you. Please contact me.