There's a new episode of Social Work Sorted: The Podcast and in it myself and psychotherapist Kitty Hagenbach dive deep into Kitty's eye-opening new podcast, "How Not to F*** Up Your Kids." In this special episode, I'm excited to share with you the valuable insights we gained from our conversation.
Understanding the Complexity of Child Protection
Child protection is undoubtedly one of the most challenging aspects of social work. As we delved into the topic, I couldn't help but reflect on the immense fear that permeates this system. The fear that we might miss something crucial, the fear of making the wrong decisions, and the fear of failing the children we're here to protect. Kitty offered a fresh perspective on this by suggesting a more balanced approach. She encouraged us to look for the positives within the family system, shifting the focus from judgment to support. This approach, she believes, can help transform the often adversarial relationships between social workers and families. It's a perspective that challenges the status quo and invites us to reevaluate our methods.
The Purpose of "How Not to F* Up Your Kids" Podcast
Kitty's motivation for launching her podcast is clear - education. She's passionate about providing a valuable resource for parents, caregivers, and anyone working with children. What struck me most is her belief that understanding child development has come a long way since the days of Freud.
Kitty reminded us that early memories and experiences hold profound power in shaping our lives. She highlighted the importance of self-awareness for social workers, emphasizing how it can help us navigate the often turbulent waters of our profession.
Child Development Insights
Kitty's in-depth knowledge of child development expanded our horizons. She shared how our understanding of this field has evolved, emphasizing that children do indeed have memories and experiences from a very young age. These early memories, though unconscious, influence our lives more than we might realize. As social workers, we often find ourselves triggered by our own experiences when dealing with stress. Kitty's wisdom reminded me that acknowledging these triggers and understanding ourselves better can help us stay grounded in our challenging roles.
The Art of Listening
One of the most valuable takeaways from Kitty's insights is the art of listening. She reminded me of the immense power of active listening, without judgment or defensiveness. It's a skill that can make a world of difference, especially when working with children. Kitty's personal childhood experience demonstrated the importance of acknowledging a child's feelings rather than dismissing them—a reminder that compassionate communication can create a strong foundation for trust and healing.
Working with Young People
Kitty's expertise extends to working with young people, especially during the tumultuous teenage years. She emphasized the importance of understanding brain development during puberty, affecting decision-making and emotions. Building compassionate relationships and approaching young people with positive intentions can lay the groundwork for effective support and guidance during these challenging times.
Kitty's podcast "How Not to F*** Up Your Kids," is a must-listen for anyone interested in these topics. It's a reminder that, through compassion, understanding, and the art of listening, we can make a profound difference in the lives of children and families.
Listen to the full episode on Apple here
Listen to the full episode on Spotify here
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