Assistants' Work with Children

   "Here is the crux of the parenting experience : being there when you are needed, out of the way when you are not, and able to recognize the difference" Penny Coleman.

Dealing with feelings :  The work with the children is always and first of all dealing with feelings. Ideally each assistant chooses a particular child by whom the assistant feels personally interested, and by mutual choice when the child too feels attracted by the assistant a therapeutic relationship is engaged. But flexibility is always needed, especially when the preferred assistant needs a rest or needs to be away, then the relevant child will have to be cared for by an other attendant.

Family setting :   The current life and process at the therapeutic milieu should happen in a family-like manner, whether it is having meals, hiking, playing, working one with one on basic skills, or in therapy sessions. The place and the team have to be casual so that each child feels secure enough to express whatever ce experiences.

Small number of children :   Flexibility is designed to meet the particular needs of the different people involved, little and big. Thus planning can be rather loose but always with the reference that therapy is first of all a matter of person to person, and for this to work assistants must have a very small number of children to care for so that their attention is undivided : ideally, the one for one situation is the best. 

Personal assets :   For the benefit of children, each assistant is most welcome to develop ces personal talents, whatever they may be : story telling, artistic works, sports, handy works, music, the wider the diversity the better.

Our limits :   Living with and trying to help a severely emotionally disturbed child proves all we can do emotionally : each one of us we find our abilities, our limits, our failures, our successes, and we learn from every day experiences how far we can go, how good we are, each one with one's own particular ways made of a set of weaknesses and strengths. So we have to live day by day and rely on each other to be complementary.

   When assisting a child an assistant might reach the limit of ces abilities : the person then must feel quite entitled to take a break and let someone else take over. The small number of children is designed to allow assistants to pay extra-good attention to each child and offer follow-up support round the clock without being exhausted.

Analysis of problems :  All the assistants must try to analyze any problem that can occur : whether coming from themselves, or from a child, or from an other assistant, or between children, but this has to be done in a considerate way that always allows respect and privacy. This necessity of analyzing is important for the assistants' personal progress as well.

Starting with a new child :

   Once a relationship with a new child is established, you find yourself loaded with the responsibility for the progress of that young person : the child needs you, that leads to definite consequences. If you behave well the child will improve, you bring hope in ces life. If you go wrong, this will tie further the child into endless sufferings.

   Also, an assistant must not consider taking care of a new child as long as the current child ce is in a preferred relationship with is still in the process of needing sustained attention. When progress has been good and independence seems more and more wanted by the child, only at this point the assistant may ask the child if ce is ready to let ces preferred assistant take care of a new child, knowing that this is not the end of their relationship but just an assessment that the current child is not anymore in need of intensive care by ces preferred assistant so to make an opening for helping a new child.

Finishing with a child :  Assistants must be prepared for the sorrow of losing their little patient when ce feels better enough to want to follow ces own line of life : it is always painful to loose a rich relationship, but having completed one's duty and seeing the child being well and enterprising is mostly the best reward. Assistants must then let their sorrow out in a controlled manner so to not trouble the child who is experiencing mourning too and strives to start ces own independent life.
   Assistants must be attentive to do nothing to try to keep their preferred child in the home while ce feels ready to leave (for more see the Dependency vs. Love page). The good parent does not try to retain ces older child home. The child must feel that leaving for living one's own life is quite right and ce must be convinced that ce owes nothing to nobody, as it is the pleasure and the responsibility  of the older generations to take care of the younger ones, the younger persons are not indebted to the people who helped them.
   But on the other hand the child on the leave must feel that we will be always there in case of need in the future and we will be very interested to hear from the child to know how ce fares in life and to learn about the outcome of our work with the long term results.

Ongoing personal progress :   Assistants are encouraged to continually improve their knowledge and skills thru any readings, trainings and talks available on and off site.

rev. 2015