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Kids and their parents at the library Parents playing peek-a-boo A parent reading a book with a child Kid playing at the library

Parents

"WHEN WE STRENGTHEN FAMILIES, WE ULTIMATELY STRENGTHEN THE COMMUNITY. OUR GOAL IS THAT PARENTS EVERYWHERE WORK WITH SUPPORTIVE PROVIDERS, FEEL CONFIDENT IN THEIR PARENTING ROLE, AND FORM STRONG, RESILIENT ATTACHMENTS WITH THEIR CHILDREN. TO HELP ACHIEVE THIS, PROVIDERS MUST BE RESPONSIVE TO PARENTS, KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT CHILD DEVELOPMENT, AND EAGER TO SEE EVERY PARENT SUCCEED."

— T Berry Brazelton, MD


Parents and primary caregivers are the most powerful influence in a child's life – they know their child best. If we’re working with children and not engaging their parents, our impact is limited.

Recognizing parents and caregivers as essential and welcomed partners in our library services for young children is at the very heart of the ELF initiative, shifting our thinking from asking children and their parents to join our system of service to finding ways in which we can join with families to support them. By forming supportive partnerships with parents that focus on their parental strengths, we can more effectively provide meaningful services for their children – ensuring that our impact extends well beyond our library walls. Several guiding assumptions about parents form the core of this approach and are informed by the work of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center.

A parent playing with the child

PARENTAL ASSUMPTIONS:

  • The parent is the expert on his or her child.
  • All parents have strengths.
  • All parents want to do well by their child.
  • All parents have something critical to share at each developmental stage.
  • All parents have ambivalent feelings.
  • Parenting is a process built on trial and error.