ABC by Paley – SUPPORT GROUP
As a result, parent burnout is common. One study compared a control group of parents of healthy children with a group of parents of chronically ill children. They found that 36% of the parents of the sick children showed clinical signs of burnout. However, 20% of the control group also suffered from burnout. However, these results should come as no surprise given the burden of responsibilities and social pressure to parents.
A burned out parent has less energy and less patience. It can be practically impossible to regain balance without outside support and understanding. In such moments, a helping hand can be found in support groups for parents – not only professional but also informal ones, created by the guardians themselves.
Research shows that support groups help to develop and nurture parenting competences, a sense of strength, a sense of belonging to a group, and even self-esteem. As they say – strength in a group. It is worth looking for and joining those in which we will feel good and we will be able to share our difficulties, fears, but also joys without fear.
Parents sometimes think they are bad parents if their child is having problems. As a result, their shame and embarrassment can prevent them from talking to other parents about their experiences. In addition, caregivers may get the impression that only they are facing difficulties, and that other families live easier and more peacefully. The feeling that other parents have excellent relationships with their children and know what to do when their child is suffering, and only we are lost in the meanders of parenthood can effectively weaken our well-being. Therefore, a safe support group is an invaluable experience worth being a part of.
Contact with other imperfect parents reminds caregivers that they are not alone and that other parents experience similar situations and challenges on a daily basis. In a trusted place you can talk to other people who will understand our emotions and needs. Being able to talk and “let off steam” in safe conditions, surrounded by people who refrain from judgment and criticism is an important part of parenting. Thanks to the feedback, tips and suggestions we have received, we can take a sideline view of the situations we are experiencing, and then approach ourselves and the child more softly and modify what is not working step by step.
Being part of a group is a reminder that there are no perfect parents or perfect children.
Contacting other people in a similar situation gives us access to information and resources. For example, parents can get leads on reliable and knowledgeable professionals, services, books, and helpful websites.
Under the present conditions, finding a group that meets regularly can be very difficult. Therefore, it is worth taking a look at places on the Internet. There are many groups for parents, but not all of them can offer us what we need. In some of them, instead of support and understanding, you can encounter a wave of criticism and insults. Therefore, before we open ourselves to strangers on the Internet, let’s make a selection and check carefully whether this particular group is worth our trust and attention.
Often, the first time parents look for a supportive group when they find themselves in the middle of a crisis. They may then have difficulty imagining that it will ever get better. Moreover, they may be terrified not only about their health but also about their future and their children’s future.
As a result, spending time with other parents can bring them relief. The stories of people who have received treatment and are making constant progress are especially helpful. Stories like this give you strength and hope.
Parent support groups have many benefits for caregivers. In an environment of understanding people, it is easier to take up the challenges of parenting. Inspirational stories, sharing tips, and building your database of supportive contacts make parents feel better prepared to help their children. And in addition to the benefits of supporting your own child, you may find that they will find a soul mate with whom they will be friends for life.
Every parent doubts himself at times. Each of us makes mistakes along the way. The key to accepting such a state of affairs is to find people in the company of whom we will feel good and we will have the opportunity to share difficulties, but also to grow.
Law M., King S., Stewart D., King G. (2001) The Perceived Effects of Parent-Led Support Groups for Parents of Children with Disabilities, Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics
Alfredsson E.K., Broberg A.G. (2016) Universal parent support groups for parents of adolescents: Which parents participate and why? , Scandinavian Journal of Psychology
Lindström C., Aman J., Norberg A.L. (2010) Increased prevalence of burnout symptoms in parents of chronically ill children, Acta Paediatrica