The Importance of Developing a Support Network as a New Parent
4/15/2013 6:14:51 PM

Sarah Keith with the Parenting Center discusses the importance of parent to parent support for new moms and dads on the WWL-TV Eyewitness Morning News. 

CLICK HERE for video.

The transition into parenthood can be quite a culture shock. The changes new parents experience can be exhilarating, wonderful—and overwhelming! Finding other parents to connect with is crucial. But between sleep deprivation and mastering feeding and diapering, new parents have a hard time finding time to get out and socialize.

Why seek out parent to parent support? Spending time with other parents has lots of benefits. It can be reassuring to see other children going through the same phases your baby is negotiating. It can be instructive to see how other parents deal with issues like sleep disturbance, starting solids, and choosing child care. And it can be validating to have social support that understands the shock and joy of becoming a parent.

How do I reach out? Don’t be shy. The rules change when you have children. You may have never started a conversation with a stranger in the park before you gave birth, but the social norms among parents are more forgiving. They know what you are going through and are often generous with sharing their own experience and lending and ear. If you know just one other person with a young child, that’s all you need. Meet at the park, go for coffee, and pick up the phone.

Where do I find other parents? Seek out activities for parents and babies in your neighborhood. Library story times, mommy and baby yoga classes— these activities can be as much about finding a community of parents as they are about bonding time with your little one. Snuggles and Struggles is a group especially for new parents every Tuesday morning at The Parenting Center. It’s free and a great way to meet mommy friends!

For more information about this and other parenting issues, please call The Parenting Center at Children's Hospital 896-9591 or CLICK HERE.

Sarah Keith, LPC-S

Parent Educator

The Parenting Center At Children's Hospital

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