Being a parent is hard. Almost everyday, parents are going to go through some type of struggle with their kids. Regardless of the age of their child, what stage in life they’re in, or their personality, it’s very rare for there to be a day or days where parents and children get along great all day long. Because of this, many parents feel stressed, stretched too thin, overwhelmed, and just run down. If you are or know of a parent like this, there are things you can do to help find support and be supportive to others. To show you how, here are three things you can do to be supportive of other parents.
Back Them Up
Because all people all different, all people are going to parent different as well. Not only are you and the mother or father of your children going to think differently about raising your own kids, but all others in your community will have slightly different takes on parenting as well. Now, most kids know this, and may try to exploit this at one point or another. If this appears to be the situation, one of the best things you can do to support that parent, according to Debbie Pincus, a contributor to Empowering Parents, is to back them up in their decision. Unless the parent’s decision is putting the child in danger, do your best to support their actions when it comes to the choices they make about their children.
Be Wary When Giving “Advice”
As was mentioned above, it’s likely that you’re going to see a lot of different types of parenting in the lives of those around you. And with all these different perspectives and ideas, you might see parents who appear to be struggling in an area that you either feel like you’ve mastered or have struggled in before yourself. At moments like this, you might be tempted to give some well-intentioned advice. But to truly support other parents, Kymberly Grosso, a contributor to Psychology Today, suggests that you only give advice when it’s expressly solicited. Otherwise, you will likely just come off as judgemental, which is the opposite of being supportive.
Join Or Start A Support Group
If you’re interested in giving more direct support to other parents, you may want to consider joining or starting a support group. There are support groups out there for almost everything, from parents struggling with infertility to parents of all girls, single parents and more. If you can’t find a group that fills your exact needs or lifestyle, ParentCompanion.org recommends starting your own group, either one that meets in person or one that takes place online. To help you learn how you can be more supportive of other parents, consider implementing some of the tips mentioned above.