‘It’s astounding’: With a shift in thinking, she helps improve parent-child relationships
Brandi Hawk is co-developer and supervisor of the PC-Care program at the UC Davis CAARE Center. The seven-week intervention for children with behavior difficulties and their parents has proven to be a life-changer for families.
“I really can’t think of anything more wonderful than seeing a parent and child relationship improve over the course of seven weeks,” Brandi Hawk said. “Families coming in with smiles on their faces, telling you how all these things improved through the week.”
This is Brandi Hawk’s why: She helps cultivate positive parent-child interactions that proved successful for many families in the Sacramento region.
Hawk is a co-developer and supervisor of the PC-Care program at the UC Davis CAARE Center. It’s a seven-week intervention for children with behavior difficulties and their parents or caretakers. Many of the groups who come through the program are Sacramento County foster children recently placed in a new home.
The seven-week program aims to improve the relationship between children and parents and positively change how they engage with each other.
Hawk explained that the program is designed to not only improve the child’s behavior, but also to shift the parent’s thinking and responses to be more positive.
The program invites parents and children together for one hour a week for seven weeks. At the beginning of the first session, there is a 12-minute observation time with 4 minutes of child-led play, 4 minutes where parents make the rules and 4 minutes of a joint clean-up task.
This allows therapists to see how parents and their youngsters interact and where there’s room for improvement. At each of the following sessions, there is a 4-minute observation period. Hawk said the changes she sees in families over the seven weeks is incredible.
It’s pretty astounding as we see parents start to speak differently to the child. They follow the child’s lead and let the child know that they are loved and appreciated.
“It’s pretty astounding as we see parents start to speak differently to the child,” Hawk said. “They follow the child’s lead and let the child know that they are loved and appreciated. Children start smiling and engaging a lot more. I think it’s really powerful that we can see a large change in only seven weeks.”
Hawk emphasized that positive parent relationships are vital to young child development. The ability to create a strong positive relationship between the child and their caretaker sets them up for success with their own mental health, peer interaction and academic performance.
All of this can be accomplished by making slight adjustments in the caregiver/child interaction.
“We have one family I worked with over the summer who called for their six-month check in, and they said the program has changed their life,” Hawk said. “Hearing that makes it all worth it for me.”