Our staff is passionate and highly trained to provide a life changing experience for youth and families. Staff work day, evening and night shifts providing round the clock care and supervision for youth.
Reflective Care and Reflective Parenting at Yellowstone
An important part of caring for the children we work with is supporting our staff of caregivers. Yellowstone has worked in collaboration with the Center for Reflective Parenting (reflectiveparenting.org) to develop the Reflective Care Program.
Reflective Care focuses on developing and enhancing our staff’s capacity for reflective thinking. Reflective care is based on certain core assumptions:
Children’s behavior has underlying meaning.
- Children’s behavior is a form of communication motivated by something that they are feeling, needing, wanting, or believing. Parents or caregivers who are able to pause, even in the heat of the moment, to make sense of what is “really” going on are more likely to be effective in regulating the children’s behavior, helping them manage emotional distress, and keeping their relationship healthy.
It takes two to tango.
- The behavior and emotional states of the parent or caregiver affect the behavior and emotional states of the child, and vice versa. When parent-child conflicts can be turned into a moment of reflection and understanding, both parties learn respect for one another’s needs.
Conflict and negative emotions can be good for children’s growth.
- Not all conflict and negative emotion is a problem. Children who learn that their reactions of disappointment or frustration can be understood by their parents or caregiver will also learn to tolerate these reactions in themselves.
The ability to repair disruptions is an important skill.
- Parents and caregivers are not perfect; at times, they can be unavailable, too harsh or critical with children. Being able to recognize and “repair” the fear and anger that result will create greater trust and stability in the relationship.
Children need to feel understood and acknowledged.
- Parents and caregivers may be reluctant to validate and recognize their children’s perspective for fear that this will increase the negative behavior they are facing. Actually, the opposite is true. Children are more likely to be cooperative when they feel their parents or caregivers are trying to understand them and recognize that they have their own unique, independent perspective.
Repeating the same struggles over and over is a sign of confusion.
- Parents and caregivers easily become locked in repetitive patterns of interaction with children that result in feeling helpless, frustrated, and upset with themselves and their parenting. This can lead to parental guilt and subsequent difficulty maintaining a firm and loving stance. Children, in turn, learn that pushing parents to the limit can get them what they want. Reflective thinking can help parents and caregivers learn what to do in these situations.
Reflective thinking is a universal tool.
- Reflective thinking is not only applicable to parenting issues; it also creates understanding of the interconnectedness of behavior and emotion necessary to maintain healthy relationships.