Direct challenge, Context: Home Visit
You are making your first visit to a family’s home where two children have been referred to children’s services. As you approach the house, the mother and father appear in the front garden and stop you from coming to their door. They do not look happy, both have an aggressive tone and demand to know who you are. When you tell them you’re a social worker the father starts shouting at you, “What’s your name? How old are you? Have you got kids?” The mother states, “You don’t look old enough to be a social worker, what do you know about children? Who do you think you are coming to my house to try and take my kids away?”
- Feel nervous about how you’re going to answer their questions without upsetting them even more. You consider coming back another time.
- Feel that this is ‘part of the job’ and don’t let it worry you.
- Feel that the parents are obviously very anxious about your visit and want to calm them down by explaining your role to them.
- Feel a sense of injustice at their rudeness and over reaction as you are just doing your job.
This is a very typical situation for social workers. As a social worker you will need to show understanding of how the parents may feel and respond with perseverance, respect and professionalism, keeping focused on the needs of the child.