When did your group form?
When a parent comes to your group, what can he/she expect? What meeting format do you have?
When parents come to our group, they can expect open arms and smiles. There are parents with newborns, toddlers, preschoolers, and older children. Even parents who are pregnant with their first will come for support and information. The group is very casual and relaxed.
The meetings are usually started with an introduction by one of the leaders, an explanation about Attachment Parenting, a brief round-robin introduction by the parents (i.e. name, ages of children, what city do you live in, etc.), and then discussion of that month’s topic. There is always time left for open discussion, so families can talk about any questions or concerns they may have.
Of course, no one is obliged to speak. If you’re the silent type who prefers to absorb the information and just be in the environment, please feel free to enjoy the meetings that way. We want everyone to feel comfortable, supported, and at ease. We also have a lending library with books and DVDs available for check-out.
What kind of discussions does your group have? What are some common questions that parents answer?
Some examples of our discussion topics include:
- Staying Attached at Mealtime
- A Fresh Look at Discipline
- Maintaining Balance in Family Life
- I Love You Rituals
- Self-Care and Nurturing Yourself
- Nighttime Parenting
- AP Beyond Babyhood.
Our open forum is also a popular time. Parents are welcome to discuss any concerns or issues they’re experiencing at that moment in their parenting journey. For example, families want to know how others handle toddler biting and how they make bedtime a smooth transition. If it’s a concern for you, odds are that others are going through or have gone through the same thing!
Are kids welcome?
Children are always welcome to our meetings. There are some toys available for play, and the parents all try to help each other watch and entertain the kids.
There is a stigma associated to support groups as well as support in general. What would you say to a parent who said that they didn’t need a support group because those were for “people with problems”?
A social support system is important for every person. Not all people who attend the meetings have “problems.” Some simply enjoy the fellowship, sharing of experiences, and talking about their parenting journey. When people do have concerns or questions, an API group is a supportive place to work through some of the issues your family might be dealing with. Learning new things, seeing what might work for your family, and talking with others sometimes requires more strength than staying stuck. We support families who reach out and encourage that connection with others. On a simpler side, most everyone enjoys having this time to meet new friends, chat with old ones, and just connect.
Anything else you’d like to share about the importance of parents attending API Support Groups?
All of us benefit from connection. An API Support Group is a place for people to give and receive emotional and practical support. It is a source of information, understanding, and comfort. You are welcome to vent your frustrations and voice your concerns without fear of being criticized. The support group is a respectful and warm environment full of people who are all on this parenting journey. It’s a valuable resource and one we encourage all families to be a part of.