There are a lot of different methods, when bringing up a child, which one can use as a preventive tool or as a help to solve problems. Many times communication between a child and their parent or other adults in their life can be problematic. I am a mother to a 5-year old myself, and often find myself needing assistance on how to raise a child, not having a natural network of close relatives. The advice can vary a lot, and sometimes it can be hard to choose which way to go. Through my studies I have also started to pay more attention to what kind of help is available in my situation. I have had some revelations for example through Raisa Cacciatore’s Kiukkukirja, which has helped me to understand child’s aggression better, and made me realize that anger and aggression are something a child needs to develop their identity. Another great innovation is the Fanni book-series by Julia Pöyhönen and Heidi Livingston. The books were created to practice emotional skills, and they are great for that purpose! The books deal with issues such as the child’s fears, restlessness, stress and ways to de-stress and regognize different emotions.
My child has attended the child health care clinic following the normal schedule. A year ago, during a yearly check-up I mentioned that he has started pulling out hair, a habit which he had recently developed as an addition to hair twirling, something he had done since birth. We were referred to a psychologist, and while the twirling and pulling didn’t completely end, some conditions were ruled out, our anxieties were addressed and my husband and I still see the psychologist regularly to improve our communication in order to be better equipped to raise a happy child. I am open to preventive measures that might help me and my child growing up. I hope that when he starts school in a few years, there will also be action taken if things are not going the way they are supposed to. One method I looked into is the Lapset puheeksi (LP)- method . The method (which loosely translates to “Let’s talk about children”) is used to build a mutual understanding between parents and other important people in the child’s life. It’s about finding ways to plan for the child’s everyday life. The aim of Lapset puheeksi work is to support the child’s well-being and favorable development, as well as to prevent problems. The aim of the work is to make the child’s everyday life run as smoothly as possible at home, in early childhood education, at school and in leisure environments, all the while taking into account the child’s special needs and life situations. In Lapset puheeksi method, so called logbooks are used to support the discussions. There are two “steps” to Lapset puheeksi-method. The discussion usually takes place in one or two meetings with the parents and depending on the situation, the child is also involved in the discussion, for example at school. The discussion identifies the child’s daily life in all developmental environments – at home, early childhood education/school and leisure environments, identifies strengths and vulnerabilities, and finally draws up an action plan to support the strengths and address the vulnerabilities. The consultation will be convened if the discussion identifies additional support needs. People from the family’s own network and, if necessary, actors from services, organizations, etc. are invited to the consultation. Together, actions are planned to support everyday life. There can be more counselling, in which case a functional network is built around the child. Lapset puheeksi is a service model for the whole province or municipality, in which all actors take the child’s functioning everyday life or the measures supporting the child’s everyday life as a common goal. The LP method plays a key role. The LP service model requires a shared leadership and a shared desire to solve the problems that arise. It is essential that basic actors, such as early childhood education, school and counselling, receive help from special services in one call.
As a Social Services student it is good to know that the use of Lapset puheeksi-method and logbooks requires participation in methodological training. The training delves into the theory and implementation of the method, teaches how to use a logbook to support discussion, and gives insight to the resource-based way of working typical of LP work. After completing the training, the employee is able to use the LP method in accordance with its objectives. (Mieli Ry, Lapset puheeksi menetelmä)
Here were just a few ideas or tools to help parents and childhood education professionals on how to get help with tricky situations, which may arise during any small human’s first years.