This week’s writer is a student social worker on a placement at a parenting project

It’s my second week on placement and my first visit to a parent who
has been given a parenting order. Having spent Friday evening
deciding what my objectives for the visit are, I feel confident as
I set off to meet the father. He is at breaking point because of
his son’s offending behaviour and the lack of respect he is shown.
Visit goes well and I come away with a lot of information about the
family. Discuss the situation with my practice teacher, who is
pleased with how my first visit went. Decide upon my objectives for
my second visit in the uneasy knowledge that things will probably
get worse for the family before then.

Attend a multi-agency meeting on parenting. It becomes apparent
that this mix of professionals still sees the child as the problem
and fails to think about the parent until my practice teacher
interjects. The tone of the meeting successfully turns around and
we actually discuss parenting rather than problems with children in
schools. Despite being new to the idea of promoting parenting, I am
really beginning to take it on board. Find myself reflecting on my
own parenting skills, which can only be a good thing.

Go to a training session with a mixture of other professionals
about how to run parenting groups. The training is extremely
interesting with practical examples of good and bad parenting.
Can’t wait to put some of these ideas into practice with my own
children. Feel a little apprehensive, as I will be facilitating a
parenting group as part of meeting my own competencies. Wonder what
the parents will be like at the group? I hope my mouth doesn’t dry
up. Try not to think about it, as it is a few weeks off.

Have a late appointment with a parent on a parenting order. Her
daughter refuses to go to school and has been convicted of theft.
Spend an hour and a half driving in the dark and pouring rain only
to find the parent has decided not to be in. Call my practice
teacher to say I am on my way home. Wonder why the mother did not
meet me as arranged? Will need to catch up with her next week and
discuss this.

I visit a mother of six children who has been referred to the
parenting project by social services’ children and families’ team.
She says she is at the end of her tether with her eldest child and
would welcome any support. Invite her to the next parenting group
meeting, which she gratefully accepts.

Meet up with a friend who is interested in what I am doing. Spend a
long time explaining the parenting project and what I learned
during my two weeks there. Talk about our own parenting skills and
how we were parented. Decide that we are not doing too bad a job
after all. My friend tells me she always knew I’d become a social
worker, which surprises me but makes me feel good.

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