“Being a young parent does not stop you from progressing and becoming a better version of yourself,” Our young parent practitioner Anthea advises.
Anthea is one of our young parent practitioners, and she wants others to know the importance of guiding and caring for young parents within our local communities. Here, she explains how she assists them in their daily lives and how she aids in their growth and development as young parents.
Tell me about your role as a young parents practitioner, what is your typical day like?
Everyday can be completely different, no two days are the same. It depends on the needs of the client and how many clients you have got. Sometimes a client’s needs are quiet, and there will not be much going on, then there might be a random time where everything is going off at once.
On a normal day, I will come into office first, and try to get some paperwork done. Then I will probably go and visit a client, this would either be to accompany them to a service, or to support them with budgeting, getting children into nursery, mental health, attending a core group meeting or child group meeting.
Why do you think professionals may not realise a young parent’s potential?
Communication, or rather, a lack of communication with the young person. If you build up a good relationship with a young person, parent or any individual, you would be able to see their potential. Anyone who cannot relate to the young parent, and cannot understand the level that they are at, will not see their potential.
What do you do to help these young parent’s realise their potential?
Talk to them, continuously. When you talk to them, you find out what they are interested in and what they are passionate about. Sometimes when you have a child, you forget what you enjoyed to do before, since you are focused on raising your child. You forget to look at, what did you like? What did you enjoy?
For my children however, I told them to try everything, and do what they enjoy, because otherwise you will be pushing them into something that they do not enjoy. And that is what I advise my young parents as well, to find what gets them excited, explore it and not give up on pursuing it.
Young Parents may find it intrusive to be watched and observed by you, what do you do to ease them, and show them that you are here to help them, and secure a better future for them and their child?
Communication, again. Our role at St Michael’s is to help them with what they need, and not what we want. So it is more about what they want from us and helping them with that, as opposed to what we want from them. So once that relationship has been established, and the trust has been created, they can trust that we are there to support them with their needs and not there to try to implement things onto them. Once that has been established the relationship will be flourishing, more often than expected.
Where do you think the young parents would be without your support and guidance?
We provide one-to-one assistance and session groups. Social workers will not provide such groups for them, they will only offer one-to-one sessions, and they will recommend that the young parents attend a specific group. But we hold their hands, literally, and gradually let go, and that is not what many organisations do, that would be the difference.
What motivates you to keep pursuing and excelling in our job?
I enjoy seeing them realise their potential, and watching them grow and develop, and their children too, it is inspiring. It is not easy being a parent, and it is not easy being a young parent. Being a young parent, you are judged automatically, people presume straight away that you are not capable. Being a young parent does not stop you from progressing and becoming a better version of yourself. Being happy within yourself is the most important thing.