Bernstein's clinical work shows that videos taken of teen mothers interacting with their children are an effective part of the home visiting program. "A central component of the home visitor's role is to help the parent interpret the meaning of the child's behavior," said Bernstein. His teaching and training, along with Hans' research, have been supported by the Irving B. Harris Foundation in Chicago.
"Making and viewing the video is fun for parents and provides a concrete and lasting means of showing parents how they and their babies grow together," Bernstein points out in "Strengthening Families through Strengthening Relationships: Supporting the Parent-child Relationship through Home Visiting," published by the Infant Mental Health Promotion Project.
Video also functions as a sort of instant replay to help parents understand their children better. "If a parent observes a child becoming upset when watching the tape, most often the parent identifies what the problem is and what she might try instead without the home visitor needing to make any type of suggestion," he said.
Teen mothers often face problems that prevent them from developing their natural talents for mothering, Bernstein and Hans said. Some mothers' pregnancies may have concerned their families, and yet they need family support to handle the challenge, researchers pointed out. In many cases, the father is also absent.
"But my own research has shown that for many young women, becoming a mother is a positive life experience. They realize they have accepted an important responsibility and take steps to ensure that they will be able to support themselves and their children in the future," Hans said.
Hans has studied the effectiveness of doulas as an intervention for young mothers and has found that having support during pregnancy and in the fi
|Contact: William Harms|
University of Chicago