Parent Groups

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Parents want their kids to experience lots of different things.  Their children play soccer, basketball, baseball, and lacrosse; they sign up for ballet, gymnastics, and karate lessons; they attend art, violin, and piano lessons; they go to reading groups at the library on Monday; yoga on Tuesday, and Spanish class on Thursday.  Not to mention that they also attend school and have weekly scheduled playdates with friends.  And yes, they turn 5 next Saturday and will have their birthday party at the local indoor pool with 25 of their closest friends.

Sure this is a bit of an exaggeration and a compilation of the activities of all of the kids I know, but as crazy as it sounds it’s not all that extreme.  Parents like to make sure their kids get an opportunity to play sports, learn about music, and socialize with other kids.  But when your child is running around to 2 or more activities a day, when does Mom (or Dad) get any stimulation or experience with new things?

Whether your child is 2 weeks or 20 years old, parent groups are a great way to get yourself involved and active and around other people who likely are experiencing the same things you are.  A good friend of mine recently had a baby and joined a mother’s group at a local hospital.  She came with a list of questions she had about everything from how to tell when the baby was really done eating to exactly how much of her hair she would lose!

Parents need activities and support just the way kids do.  Sure, maybe you have already done your time on a lacrosse field or sitting practicing the piano but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other activities that you might like to still do.  And finding other moms (or dads) to partake in activities is good for you and your child!  Staying at home with your child and doing the same things everyday with your daughter isn’t good for anyone.  In mom’s groups you can get ideas for new games to play with your child, new foods to try, new songs to sing, and simply comfort that other people are feeling the same way you do.  There are multiple studies that demonstrate the positive effect social support has on alleviating parenting stress[1], attitudes toward parenting[2], and maternal adjustment[3].

BabyCenter.com had a great article about finding mother’s groups.  Local Hospitals, Universities, recreation centers, child-care centers, libraries, and even craigslist are ways to find other moms (or dads) that you can connect with on a regular basis. Here is a video of a mom talking about her experience with a mom’s group at ISIS.  Here are other resources for starting a parenting group from Family Empowerment Network.

[1] Quittner, A. L., Glueckauf, R. L., & Jacskon, D. N. (1990).  Chronic parenting stress: Moderating versus mediating effects of social support.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 1266-1278.

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