For Whānau Members
E hara taku toa,
I te toa takitahi
He toa takitini
My strength is not
as an individual,
but as a part of the collective
“Families are the foundation for us all, they have more power than any other relationships to hurt or heal, to stress or strengthen individuals” (Henderson, 1997)
There is an old saying that can be helpful when dealing with challenging behaviour of children and young people and that is to put your own oxygen mask on first!
Working with whānau is important, as the health and well-being of children and young people interconnected to the health and well-being of their whānau. It is common when caring for children that are presenting with difficulties, for whānau members to feel confused, worried, stressed, frustrated, ashamed, exhausted and sometimes overwhelmed. The parent or care-giver and child relationship is fundamental, as are the sibling relationships and those with extended whānau.
All staff are trained and supported to help bring understanding and solutions to the problems that are experienced by children and young people. This includes understanding the young person in the context of their relationships with whānau and their wider social and cultural lives. The focus of counselling interventions are mostly orientated to the child or young person, but sometimes it is important to focus on the care-taking adults in a child’s life as well, or it can be a combination of both.
Whānau are engaged in the process whenever it is appropriate. Generally but not exclusively this usually occurs in the beginning of first contact. Some older younger people are very clear about wanting their own space for counselling and choose not to involve their whānau at all, where some younger children attend with their families in sessions. Young people sixteen years and over do not need their parents’ or caregivers’ consent to engage in counselling, however decisions like these are well considered. Therapeutic decisions about family involvement or not, will be explained by your child’s or young person’s staff member.
Staff are trained and qualified in various models of practice, but we take an organisational view that supports a holistic approach to working with children and young people. That approach is whānau inclusive where possible and as appropriate & one that will also use family interventions as needed.