Posted on: August 14, 2020
Mentalization in the Family
A Guide for Professionals and Parents, 1st Edition
By Janne Oestergaard Hagelquist, Heino Rasmussen
Mentalization in the Family, A Guide for Professionals and Parents is not only for professionals working with families (social workers, pedagogues, teachers, foster carers) but also for parents and all who find themselves working with or interested in mentalization and child development in a family setting.
1) The purpose of this book is to provide inspiration for using mentalization when
working with families. It is designed to show how you, by using the latest knowledge about children development and upbringing and the Mentalization theory, support children development the best way possible.
2) Mentalization in the Family provides specific educational tools and pedagogical models that can be helpful in parenting or the daily work of a professional working with families or as foster parents.
3) Concepts and tools of Mentalization are presented in an easy to use way alongside tips and tricks for use in the daily practice of working with Mentalization in families.
As parents and authors of this book we have learned that we have extensive experience and knowledge, while we, at the same time, feel incredibly humble towards the demanding task of parenthood – partly because we know that interaction with children is fast-paced and takes place in complex situations and partly because, as parents, we have our own ideas and feelings which inform our behaviour, so that we are not always able to act in accordance with the suggestions we make in this book. In our own everyday life, we are often confronted with doubt, mistakes, and feelings of inadequacy. In this book, we wanted to pass on information that has been helpful to us – knowledge about parenting we would have wanted to have when we first had children and knowledge that has helped us in our professional work with parents, foster carers, and professional caregivers.
Mentalization and understanding of child development ensure that you do not rigidly fix upon a certain way of understanding your child. For instance, you might convince yourself that a 9-month-old child who does not want to be left in day care is bossy and difficult (if you are not familiar with separation anxiety, which manifests itself at this age). And when your teenager distances herself from her parents and puts all her energy into activities with friends, you might think that she is selfish, difficult, and misbehaved (if you are unfamiliar with the fact that breaking free from the family, bonding with friends, and experimenting with life are central developmental tasks for teenagers).
In this book, parents’ own ability to mentalize is the primary tool. Mentalizing is the ability to look beyond behaviour, thereby gaining an understanding of what is happening in your own mind as well as in the child’s mind. This requires an understanding of what your child is experiencing as well as of the child’s developmental stage. In order to do this, it is necessary to build a relationship with the child, and practice looking at what lies behind your own behaviour as well as the child’s, thereby gaining a better understanding of yourself and your child. When children interact with their parents, they develop the ability to mentalize on their own.
Mentalization in the Family, A Guide for Professionals and Parents is based on Mentalization-based training, professional projects and first hand experience as a parent.