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Success Stories:

CDI HS makes a positive contribution to communities we serve! We collect highlights from local program and core staff to help us reflect upon our impact.

"Promoting Positive Parenting Through Positive Interactions"

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Photo: Girl and MotherA child and family program serving infants and teen mothers in Kansas was disheartened by the lack of involvement of the mothers with their infants and the poor attendance at group parent meetings. The program employed numerous techniques to better involve parents, all of which failed. Alice Eberhart-Wright, a consultant the program engaged, has been an advocate for identifying and building on strengths during her long and varied professional career. She began by visiting each home, getting to know the mothers and getting permission to videotape them interacting with their infants, a process Alice calls “Focus and Reflect.” During the videotaping, Alice made only positive comments: “It’s so wonderful the way you are talking to your child. I can see that she is really looking at you and following your voice and movements.” Progressively she engaged the mothers in conversations beginning with positive questions: “What is something you remember from your childhood that was so much fun for you?”

After videotaping, Alice explained to the parents that she would be editing the tapes, highlighting positive interactions between mothers and their children and showing them at the next group parent meeting. She expressed her gratitude for the positive ways of interacting with infants the mothers had provided and indicated that all parents could learn from watching one another and talking among themselves.

A month passed. Notices went out for the next parent meeting reminding parents that they would view their videos. Guess what? Nearly all the mothers showed up. They were eager to see themselves in the video, glowed in the praise of others, became engaged in conversation, began developing relationships and learned valuable skills from one another. And they were eager for more visits and more parent meetings.

Alice trained the staff on the techniques of using positive questions, positive interaction and videotaping. The staff now reports continued success in parent meeting attendance and more importantly, in positive parent/child interactions.

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