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New and Improved:
A Preview of Mothers' Questions/Problems
and Group Dynamics/Management

Deb Roberts
Minneapolis MN USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 38 No. 2, April-May 2002, p. 41.

When did you last think about the Preview? Was it as you helped an Applicant with hers? As you completed your own? Perhaps you thought, “What a great tool! I wonder whether there might be more creative and effective ways to use it.” Perhaps you considered (and discussed!) additional situations which weren’t on the Preview. Perhaps you realized that there are important Leader responsibilities that the Preview didn’t cover. If so, you weren’t alone!

Several months ago a committee of Leader Accreditation Department (LAD) representatives and LLL administrators began to look at ways to improve and revise the 10-year-old Preview. In the course of their work they reached out to Group Leaders, LLLI Board members, and others in LLL for input and ideas. Working together, they produced revised documents: A Preview of Mothers’ Questions/Problems and Group Dynamics/Management and the Leader’s Guide to the Preview.

The Preview now offers opportunity for practice and assessment of skills related to all basic Leader responsibilities. Besides one-on-one helping and meeting situations and opportunities to research current breastfeeding information, the new Preview includes situations related to Group management and helping mothers prepare to become LLL Leaders. You can now use it in more flexible and adaptable ways.

In keeping with recommendations in the Leader’s Handbook that Leaders and Applicants practice and discuss common situations throughout the application, the Preview can now be sent to an Applicant at any time during the application. You and the Applicant can work on it:

  • Throughout the application time, as part of your regular meetings to discuss and practice skills;

  • At the end of the application, as a review and formal practice session; or

  • In combination, with some during the application and some at the end.

You, the LAD representative, and the Applicant can consider the Applicant’s needs, knowledge, skills, confidence, and preferences to decide which option would be best. It’s a good idea to reassess at several points during the application to see if you want to continue the original plan or respond to changing needs.

Using the Preview early in the application can give you and the Applicant a wealth of ideas to explore and the opportunity to build skills over a period of months, so the Applicant can approach the last practice sessions with confidence and competence. It can also help you and the Applicant identify the knowledge and skills she wants and needs to work on, as well as assess the progress she is making toward her goals.

Both sections of the Preview (Mothers’ Questions/Problems and Group Dynamics/Management) have been expanded. Additional situations reflect the most common questions and problems in different parts of the world as well as a greater variety of Group challenges. The LAD representative can write in a common situation for either or both sections. The Leader Applicant will now complete at least three situations in the expanded Group Dynamics/Man- agement section as well as five in the Mothers’ Questions/Problems section. Some Applicants may want to practice with more situations, or even all of them.

The Leader’s Guide has been enlarged, giving you a number of new statements to help you expand and broaden the discussions. If you use the Preview material throughout the application, you may find responding to the questions at the bottom of the first page of the Leader’s Guide a good way to keep the LAD representative regularly updated on your work with the Applicant. Your updates can help her as she provides information and suggests additional reading, exercises, or discussion topics to the Applicant.

What are some ways to use the Preview? Mothers’ Questions/Problems work well as one-on-one role-plays, either in person or over the phone. The Applicant might want to role-play with you playing the mother and she the Leader. If you choose to meet in person, you might want to sit with your backs to each other, to eliminate visual clues and distractions. The Group Dynamics/Man-agement situations can provide great discussion/role-play material at Chapter Meetings, Group Enrichment Meetings, or Applicant gatherings with other Applicants and/or Leaders.

Since many of the situations on the Preview relate to topics on the Breastfeeding Resource Guide (BRG), the Applicant might want to combine some of her work on those exercises. For example, the Applicant might like to research the “Nipples” section of the BRG and then work on the “Sore Nipples” section of the Preview. Or if she wants to use the Preview as a review at the end of her application, the Applicant could note as she works on the BRG the references she finds helpful.

The Leader Accreditation Department looks forward to hearing from you about how the new Preview is working for you and the Applicants you are helping. Please send your insights, observations, and experiences to your local LAD representative or to Nancy Spahr, Director of Leader Accreditation Department, so we can all benefit.

The Preview is available for both Leaders and Applicants from their CLA. Leaders can also order a copy from LLLI. See page 48 for details.

Deb Roberts has been a Leader for nine years, all with the Northeast Minneapolis and Suburbs Group in Minnesota, USA. She and her husband, Mike Kruger, have four boys. In February 2002, Deb completed her term as Regional Administrator of Leader Accreditation (RALA) for the North Central Plains Region of the US Western Division. She is now an ACLA-at-large for the USWD, and will continue as Contributing Editor for this column. Articles may be submitted to Deb at 2327 Benjamin St. NE, Mpls. MN, USA or robertsd at tcfreenet.org (email). This article was adapted from an article for LAD Lifeline 2001 #4 by Nancy Spahr, DLAD, LLLI Director, Leader Accreditation Department. Nancy has been a Leader for 24 years and is the mother of four. She currently serves as LLLI LAD Director.

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