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  Session 1: Module L - Challenges the Family Brings Forward

Group Discussion:

  • There are challenges in staying true to every one of these principles. What have you experienced or what do you anticipate hearing from families that create challenges to living out these principles? 

Choose one person to enter your group’s reflections in the comment box below.

Let’s hear from Avi and Andrea about how to manage challenges. 

We want to practice from Susie Essex’s framework of being firm yet hugely kind. Honor the person you are talking to. That is one of the quickest ways to gain influence and respect from someone you are working with. What’s critical is that it’s genuine, not patronizing. While honoring the person and bringing forward compassion we also need to be clear about our bottom lines.  

Avi mentioned that it’s important to lean on the discipline of asking questions and handing over responsibility to the network. While we are firm and kind, it's also important we maintain our curiosity. Below is a general outline you could follow for managing challenges.  

Ask questions to understand their perspective of the challenge: 

  • What are your immediate thoughts?
  • What are you most excited about?  
  • What are you worried about?

Ask questions about how they are prepared to move forward because we want to hand over ownership of the issue and working through it to the network and parents:

  • What needs to happen for you right now?  
  • What are you prepared and willing to do?  
  • How would you like me to help? 
  • Would it be helpful if I shared some ideas that have come up in my work with other families?  

Let’s imagine a parent says they don’t want to invite anyone to be a part of the network. We might do the following:

  • I can certainly appreciate that I’m asking a lot from you and that no one ever wants to tell his or her family or friends that CPS is involved with their family.  (Firm yet Hugely Kind)
  • I can't imagine how hard all of this is for you and I want to say that I am impressed that you are willing to have this conversation with me and that you are even considering what I am proposing.  (Firm yet Hugely Kind)
  • Here is where I’m at with this, my bottom line is we need a network of people around you and your child who will work with us to create and execute a safety plan with rules so that we are confident the worries for your children will not happen in the future.   (Firm yet Hugely Kind)
  • What are your biggest worries about involving other people? What do you think could be good about involving others, even if it’s not what you want to do? (Understand their perspective)
  • So what are your thoughts about how we can possibly make that happen?  What are you prepared to do? How can I help?   (Move forward)

Another example might be if a parent says “I didn't do this so why would I need to safety plan”:

  • I appreciate that you are in a difficult spot.  On the one hand the police are saying that you………but on the other you are telling me that they got it all wrong. I can't imagine how hard this might be for you. I sure would be very upset if this happened to me and my kids. (Firm yet Hugely Kind) 
  • Here is where I stand, I wasn't there so there is no way for me to know what happened. Sometimes my job is incredibly hard because I will never really know what happened and I find myself caught between two opposing scenarios. So here is my best thinking about how we move forward. This allegation is out there and the police are telling us that they believe this happened and they are worried. So, I can't make this just go away because I need to make sure that whatever the police said happened could never happen to your child in the future. (Firm yet Hugely Kind)
  • In order to satisfy CPS and the police that what they said can never happen in the future CPS’s bottom line is that you bring people around you who will work with us to create a safety plan with rules that will ensure that your kids are always kept safe and that they will never be…… (Firm yet Hugely Kind)
  • Does that make sense?  I’m curious to hear your thoughts about what I just said? (Understand their perspective)
  • What do you think the smallest next steps should be moving forward? What are your best ideas on how we can make it happen? (Moving forward)

Individual Exercise:

  • Imagine you are working with a mom who is saying she doesn’t have anyone for a network, mostly because she has burned so many bridges.  Write down 5-7 questions you could ask mom to understand her perspective and to think through how she will move forward?  

Enter your favorite 3 questions into the comment box below. Type out the questions exactly how you would ask them.