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Working With Young Families:


Working With Young Families: A Framework for Practice Jody Scanlon, LCSW Overview: From Theory to Practice Review of Adolescent/Infant/Toddler Development ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Working With Young Families:

Working With Young Families
  • A Framework for Practice
  • Jody Scanlon, LCSW

Overview From Theory to Practice
  • Review of Adolescent/Infant/Toddler Development
  • Understanding the Dual Developmental Crisis
  • Preventing Subsequent Pregnancies
  • Utilizing parallel process in our work
  • Pulling it all together

Stranger in a Strange Land
  • Our work asks us to visit a foreign culture
  • Customs, language, world views are unique
  • Enter with respect
  • Learn to speak the language
  • Maintain sense of self

Heres the Problem
  • Teen years are no longer a convergence of puberty
    (physical maturation) and what we have termed
    adolescence (psychological maturity)
  • Teens now have physical capacity for reproduction
    long before they have emotional maturity for

A Nod To Neuroscience
  • Adult decision-making and reaction utilize
    frontal lobes primarily
  • Adolescents often are accessing the amygdala
    (temporal lobe)
  • This explains a lot!

Adolescence A Conceptual Framework
  • Erickson divides human development into discrete
    tasks to be accomplished during each stage
  • Task of adolescence is identity
    formationcritical in understanding teen

Stage 1 (10) 12-14
  • Movement toward independence
  • Peers replace parents as primary relationship and
    source of information
  • Actions take precedence over thought
  • Over-riding need for immediate gratification
  • Minor rule-breaking and experimentation while
    still tied into rules and expectations of parents

Stage II 14-17
  • Increased intensity of individuation
  • Increased conflict with parents
  • Heightened narcissism/grandiosity/sense of
  • Increased risk-taking/impulsivity
  • More abstract thinking

Stage III 17-19 (25)
  • Firmer sense of identity
  • Interest in career development (crucial to
    support this)
  • Independent decision-making
  • Increased regulation in emotional states and

Lets Add Teen Parenting to the Mix
  • Statistics tell us that the preponderance of teen
    pregnancies are unintended (80) however, there
    is a significant amount of ambivalence if it
    happens, it happens
  • From a teens perspective, some legitimate
  • Attention and care from pregnancy

Adolescence Teen Parenting
  • Erroneous belief that FOB will stay (less than
    20 result in marriage)
  • Psychologicallyopportunity to provide the
    parenting she never had
  • Identity formation

Now on to Infant Development
  • Infants need to develop a sense of trust first
    and foremost
  • Require dependability from a primary caretaker
  • Require that their needs are seen as primary
  • Require stability and predictability

And Toddler Development.
  • Sense of safety so that they can explore the
  • Emotionally labile (temper tantrums)
  • Conflict between dependence/independence
  • Narcissism
  • Invulnerability and risk-taking through

The Dual Developmental Crisis
  • With infants adolescents needs are in direct
    opposition to the infants needs
  • With toddlers both the adolescent and the
    toddler are experiencing similar developmental
    stages simultaneously
  • Adolescence is in many ways a recapitulation of
    toddler years push/pull, approach/withdraw
  • Desire for independence and need for security and
    parental guidance

So, A Teen By Any Other Name.
  • Is still a teen
  • And a mom
  • Important for providers to work on both levels
  • Interventions are usually most successful when we
    put the teen before the mom

Preventing Subsequent Pregnancies
  • 25 of teen moms will experience a subsequent
    pregnancy prior to age 20
  • From an adult perspective this defies logic!
  • Teen moms know first hand the hardships

Why, Why, Why?
  • Common Reasons given
  • Spacing of children
  • New boyfriend
  • Desire of FOC
  • Complaints about contraception
  • Nostalgia for infant phase
  • Whoops!

Reasons Behind the Reasons
  • Competency I can do this!
  • Lack of future orientation
  • Pregnancy was a time of care and support
  • Lack of efficacy re family planning

Characteristics of Effective Interventions
  • Long-acting, low maintenance method
  • Involvement during first pregnancy
  • Sustained relationship with client
  • Close, high-quality relationship with client

IUDs and Adolescents
  • American College of Obstetricians and
    Gynecologists (2007)
  • Because adolescents contribute disproportionately
    to the epidemic of unintended pregnancy in this
    country, top tier methods of contraception
    including IUDs ..., should be considered as
    first-line choices" for them. "After thorough
    counseling regarding contraceptive options,
    health care providers should strongly encourage
    young women who are appropriate candidates to use
    this method."

Home Based Contraception
  • Partnership with Boulder Valley Womens Health
  • Provides Depo Provera shots to GENESIS teen
    clients in convenience of their homes
  • Eliminates barriers
  • Increases opportunities for case management

Parallel Process
Working With Parallel Process
  • Parallel Process can teach us a lot about what is
    going on in the mother/infant dyad
  • Be aware of what you are feeling when with a
  • This might be a reflection of what she is feeling
    with her infant
  • And, ultimately, what the infant is feeling

  • Use this information to guide interventions
  • Anxiety, dependency, ambivalence, avoidance
  • These clues also appear in the course of
  • Awareness of parallel process enriches
    therapeutic and supervisory relationships and can
    result in more effective interventions

Some Techniques
  • Speak to the ambivalence
  • Be curious!
  • Work to understand the teens motivations
  • Empower the teenthey know better than you how
    they can change and what will work in their lives

Remember Developmental Issues
  • Work with not against their narcissismit is
    developmentally appropriate and not a character
  • Becoming moms does not make them adultsthey
    dont necessarily think like we do
  • Their brains are not fully developedhelp them to
    see beyond the immediate and to recognize
    consequences of actions

Create Safety
  • Be genuine
  • Avoid the very real temptation to be parental
  • Always explain the rules up front
  • Change is scary and it is hard
  • Teens will respect you for setting limitsit
    might be the first time that anyone has done this
    for them

Use Supervision
  • This is where the parallel process is likely to
    play outpay attentionand use these clues
  • Watch for burn-out and secondary trauma
  • Plant seeds and have faith they will grow
  • Celebrate successesno matter how small
  • Remember your limits
  • Find ways to transition back home

Build a Future
  • Be a cheerleaderyou might be the only one who
    has ever believed in them
  • Be a role model
  • Be calm
  • Cool,
  • And collected when they are acting out (remember
    the parallel processits what you might do with
    a toddler and a temper tantrum)

When You Feel Stuck.
  • Listen to the music, not the words
  • Avoid the temptation to fix
  • Always start with the assumption that EVERY
    parent wants to be the best parent they can
    beour job is to reinforce this natural
  • Challenging clientswhat are they teaching you?

Remember Systems Theory
  • Ripple effect of our actions
  • Teen is part of a system larger than herself
  • Respect the power and significance of family,
    friends, environment
  • Work organically within the system

Its All About the Relationship
  • Relationship is key to facilitating change
  • Read cues and pace accordingly
  • Respect boundariesteens put them there for a
  • Patience
  • Dont give upthey may be testing you because
    they expect you will not stay with them
  • You may be the first and only person in their
    life to model a healthy relationship

  • We make a living by what we get we make a life
    by what we give.
  • --Dr. Albert
  • Life Enrichment
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