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I 8 Introduction Parent Care Is Hard Work The steps above are simple in theory but are often difficult in practice. With some parents, you will feel the love right away. Others you grow to love, and with some parents, you may not feel that your efforts are even making a dif- ference. You may be asking, “Doesn’t a partnership mean two groups of peo- ple working together? Doesn’t a partnership take two?” And while that state- ment is essentially true, your job is to help care for and educate parents even if they don’t do their fair share in building the relationship. Now, this partner- ship doesn’t sound so simple or fair. You know what your mom told you about life being fair? Seriously, though, parent care doesn’t mean that we are going to condone or allow behavior that is inappropriate or hurtful to us or the chil- dren. What parent care does mean is that as an early childhood professional, you are going to help parents, even if you don’t think that the parents are doing their part by helping you or helping their children in the way you think is best. Why? Because those parents, surprisingly, need your help the most. Why should you care for all parents? Caring for parents is good for children i helpful in making partner-resistant or avoiding parents become better parents i part of our job i necessary in today’s world, where parents have fewer supportive relationships i winning ways i the right thing to do I Self-Assessment How Are You Doing in Caring for Parents? Take a quick self-assessment to see how you are doing in caring for parents. As you read each of the statements below and circle the frequency that best describes your actions, try to focus on what you can do in creating a real part- nership with parents, not what the parents should be doing for you or their children. Be honest with yourself. Understanding your current attitudes and actions toward parents is the starting point for improving your parent care and creating real partnerships.