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OTHER ITA SITES:
A Review of Parenting Groups
Just about any parent knows the joys and challenges raising kid. Many times that parents can use some help from those who have been there. That's where parenting groups come in. They are exactly what they sound like: a group of parents (or grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings, caretakers, etc) who are raising a child and that assemble together along with others who are involved in the process of parenting such as educators, social services people, and policymakers for the benefit of the community.
Many of these groups and are specifically organized to cater to the parents of children with disabilities such as autism, or Down's syndrome. Some parenting groups are organized for gay or lesbian parents, while others still have no particular interest other than to support each other. Parenting groups are usually formed of people who live in close proximity of each other, though with the advance of Internet technology now many more support groups are starting to be formed worldwide. Distance is no longer an issue. The size of the parenting groups can vary greatly but it is usually better to not make them so they that they become impersonal.
One of the benefits about them is that they provide parents with training and understanding in meeting the challenges of parenthood. A great many people respond quite well when they receive promotional support and the role of parent is certainly no exception. You could argue that it is the most important job in the world, and in my opinion you would win that argument hands down.
Typical activities in a group might include talking and listening to each otherís problems and solutions, making new friendships, distributing helpful information, arranging for speakers on various topics, or even setting up respite care or babysitting arrangements. Many times parenting groups are the voices of those individuals will have no other forum in which to speak.
The way it is set up is that parents are allowed to express themselves and tell the rest of the group whatís on their mind. This can be particularly helpful in special parenting groups (such as groups helping disabled children) and it shows each member that many people deal with similar situations. Sometimes in situations where parents are raising disabled children or raising children in a gay household, the proper degree of support is usually not be reached because many don't understand the challenges involved unless they actually experience them for themselves. Rather than cutting oneself off, it is certainly easier to seek out those individuals who share your same experiences and can be helpful. Parenting groups can be extremely effective in accomplishing this.
Another one of the advantages of forming and participating is that when a group of people approach a community about a concern, it tends to be noticed. Often times schools are lacking funding, or a playground is in need or repair, if parenting groups take the matter seriously and demand change, chances are things will happen quickly.
Becoming a member of a parent group can be a wonderful way to help people out. You can literally affect people's lives for the better by offering your experience, wisdom, support and sometimes just by lending an ear.
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