Training From Parents as Teachers National Center Focuses on Family Relationships, Professional Boundaries

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Research-based curriculum helps professionals foster strong relationships between parent, children.

What does the family unit look like in the 21st century? Many children today are raised in single-parent homes. Some children are raised by two parents, others by foster parents or grandparents. Understanding the nuances of family dynamics and roles is key for parent educators, social workers and other professionals who establish close relationships with families. It's also the first step in learning to set and maintain appropriate boundaries with the families they counsel.

Parents as Teachers National Center offers a wealth of resources and professional training for early childhood professionals, including one on understanding and respecting these fundamental family dynamics. "Building Relationships Within Family Systems" is a course designed to help professionals gain valuable insight on how to connect with families and strengthen the family unit in professional, ethical ways.

"Each family is distinct and has a unique set of personalities, challenges and circumstances," says Kerry Caverly, professional development director with Parents as Teachers National Center. "As parent educators and other professionals go into families' homes, they need to know how to build trust and avoid getting drawn into family dynamics. They need to be a professional resource to the family. This workshop provides tools that can build on a family's strengths."

In addition to identifying family situations and challenges, the "Building Relationships Within Family Systems" training covers ways to strengthen parenting behaviors, maintain professional interactions with families, refine home visiting skills and techniques, and work within families' different rules, goals, and values. According to one participant, the training "gave me a new outlook on how to work with different types of families."

Participants in the two-day course take part in hands-on activities and practice techniques that they can incorporate into their work with families. Held at Parents as Teachers National Center or in group locations across the country, "Building Relationships Within Family Systems" offers 13 hours of professional development credit and/or 1.3 CEU credits. Training fees range from $250 to $300 per person, depending on location and number of attendees.

Parents as Teachers National Center also offers professional training through Parents as Teachers University on a variety of other early childhood-related topics such as literacy, obesity and nutrition. For more information on these topics and for registration details, go to or call (314) 432-4330, ext. 251.

About Parents as Teachers National Center
Based in St. Louis, Parents as Teachers National Center is the resource base and backbone of Parents as Teachers, a parent education and early childhood development program serving parents throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten, usually age 5. The nonprofit National Center oversees approximately 3,000 programs offering Parents as Teachers services nationwide as well as in several other countries. For more information about Parents as Teachers, visit


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