Getting Support as a Parent
One of the most important things to recognise as a parent, particularly a new parent, is that you will start to rely on your friends and family for support, and far from this being an imposition-people will probably be expecting it and will want to help you in any way they can.
You may find that you simply need someone to talk things through with-a problem shared is a problem halved after all.
Whatever the issue, you will find that someone has the knowledge, expertise or skill that you need to help you. Or you may just find that they make you laugh and see that things are really not that bad, after all - sometimes laughter really is the best medicine!
Friends And FamilyYour friends and family will probably want to help you, but they may demonstrate that worry by trying to organise you and tell you what to do, and it may be very difficult for you to cope with! Although they have the best of intentions, they may lose it in the delivery so be aware of this and try to be gracious-even if they are driving you to distraction - it’s generally speaking only because they care, honest!
Friends and family can be a fantastic ready made support network, but remember that they also know you very well and will feel that they can be very honest and that you won’t mind. Chances are, there will be days when you do so you need to make it clear to them that you value their support, but that you also know what’s best for you and your children.
If you are experiencing problems and your friends and family members are really proving to be a negative influence, then you need to surround yourself with positive people who will really help you and support you, not with those who will criticise you and make you feel like a failure.
If they don’t take your concerns on board then it might be wise to reduce the amount of contact you have with them for a while until the dust has settled. It’s important to have people around you who can help, support and advise you when necessary, try to eliminate anyone who is negative, critical or just needy - life as a parent is hard enough, you don’t need to make it any harder!
Don’t pretend that everything is fine when it clearly isn’t. If you can’t rely on your closest friends and family at a time when you really need support then who can you turn to?
Stay in control; sitting around all day with a bunch of people who just breed negativity is not productive. If people want to see you then ask them to ring before they call round. If you get on well with your family and your children have a good relationship with them, encourage them to have as much contact as possible.
The ProfessionalsA lot of professional help exists to support parents, and if you really feel you can’t talk to your friends or family, or you have moved to a new area and you really don’t know anyone yet, a good starting point is your local GP or health centre. They will be able to give you some advice and put you in touch with relevant people who can help you with different areas of your life.
Professional counsellors, coaches and advisors are all experienced, highly trained individuals who have a detailed understanding of the problems that you are facing.
Therapists, counsellors, life coaches and advisors all have your interests at heart. Lots of free help is available, and the best place to start is your local health centre or GP. If you do decide to seek professional help, do not expect miracles to happen overnight. Having counselling is a process that can take some time, but by taking this first step, you will begin to re build your life.
Talking to a complete stranger about your inner most thoughts and feelings is not easy for everyone. However, many people find it easier to talk to complete strangers than to their friends and family.
A good way to find out about help and support is to join a local group that supports parents. Most areas have groups that meet in village halls, sports centres or at other venues on a regular basis and they are a great source of support.
Talk to your GP or health visitor about help and advice, they will have information leaflets, contact numbers and names and you may even find that a regular drop in group meets at your local health centre.