Having people around you to help and support you is really important. The saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ is very true. Don’t stay silent when you’re struggling. Ask for help. It’s not a weakness to need help and support. It’s a strength to know you need it.
You can parent without support, and many do, but why not ask for help when you need it and make it a bit easier? Supporters can be used in lots of different ways, think about whether or not you have a support network – it might be 1 person or 10. The number is not important. It’s better to have small but good network rather than a big, not so helpful one. Also, what would you like supporters to do? It can be anything from clearing the house to babysitting or coming over during a meltdown.
Who can help?
Who could you ask? Anyone! That’s the short answer. Be inventive about who you can ask, they might be in your immediate or more extended network.
Having the right type of supporters is important. You need people who will genuinely support you, who understand what you are trying to achieve and will back you up when needed. It can be hard when people want to help but actually make it worse. It’s important to explain to supporters what you need them to do and why, as well as what not to do/say. Some people will get it, others won’t. It’s then a decision about how involved you want them to be.
Here are some ideas about who to ask:
- Your partner
- Club leaders
Once you have decided on a person and the role you would like them to have, it’s time to ask them for help. If you are the sort of person who never asks for help, this part may not come easy. Remember that most people are only too glad to help when needed – provided they know what is being asked of them and it is not too overwhelming. If you’re worried about asking the same people too much, have a larger pool of supporters then rotate asking them. It’s a great way of not feeling like you’re asking too much of one person.
Each person can have a different role and one that you feel they will be able to do. For example, a friend may be a great listening ear when you need to let off a bit of steam; a neighbour may make a great witness and be able to pop in quickly if needed, a TA from school might be able to help with a bit of babysitting.
To help supporters understand share resources with them. My Facebook page or book can help them understand your style of parenting and I’m sure you’ll have other resources you like. It can take time for people to get their head around it, and sometimes they’ll need to see it working before they believe it. You can’t force someone to understand but you can show them and explain.
Children can benefit
Supporters can also help your children. Whether they are struggling with the behaviour of a sibling or struggling with their own behaviour, having someone they can talk to can really help them. Obviously, it needs to be someone you trust. It’s important that your child feels comfortable talking to them. They may tell them things they are worried about telling you and the supporter can act as a type of ‘go between’ helping your child to talk to you. We all have things we are worried about telling our parents, it’s normal, so a little help is good. Think about who you could ask and you can talk to your child to see if there is someone they would like. It can really benefit the whole family.
I know this isn’t always an easy one, so don’t stress yourself out if it’s not happening at the moment or you don’t have anyone. It’s not the end of the world, but it does help.
We can support you too
You can ask for help in my free Facebook group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/connectiveparentingusingNVR/
You could also join us in the Connective Parenting Hub where you get unlimited access to me, a library of online resources, the opportunity to hear from other experts and to be part of a supportive community of parents. www.sarahpfisher.com/connectiveparentinghub
For more support there’s still time to join us at The Connective Parenting Conference, taking place on 29th February in Leicester. Spend the day with a group of like-minded parents and a collection of experts who can empower you to make positive changes for yourself and your children. Visit our website to find out everything you need to know about the conference and to book your tickets. https://theconnectiveparentingconference.co.uk/leicester-conference/