One of the most profound things I’ve learned about interning with Guardian House is how important it is as a visitation supervisor to facilitate connection between parents and children. For some families, their only point of connection is through Guardian House. So how can I be a bridge between a parent and a child who may have spent years apart from each other? What can I do to help them meet each other on that bridge somewhere? Through experience, I’ve learned that sometimes it may need to be teaching certain skills to a parent or providing novel ideas for relationship building through activities or games.

In particular, there was one parent who often brought technology into the visit. I noticed that the children tended to focus on only the technology and often ignored the parent’s attempts at bonding. After making a suggestion about limiting technology use during the visit, the change I saw in the parent and children’s connection was astonishing! Both parent and children leaned in toward each other and made eye contact. They began asking each other questions about likes and dislikes. Their faces lit up a little differently than before. They laughed with each other. They were connecting!

At Guardian House, small moments like these are cherished for families. Small moments like these don’t feel so small to parents who’ve been away from their children for a long time. To see a child excited and happy to spend quality time with their parent is a huge goal for Guardian House. To be responsible for making even a tiny part of a child’s excitement possible, is quite the honor.

This reflection was shared by Bianca about her experience at Guardian House. Bianca is a graduate student working toward a master’s degree in counseling. She gains clinical experience and supervision at Guardian House.