How to Use Local Parent-to-parent Networks


Benefits of Local Parent-to-parent Networks

As a parent, you may have many unanswered questions pertaining to your role as a mom or a dad. You can seek advice from friends and family, but if you are having a specific problem, you may need advice tailored to your current circumstances. This is where a parent-to-parent network can be very helpful, as it can provide information, classes and support.

One of the most significant roles a parent-to-parent network can play is that of an educator. The networks are there to answer your questions and address your concerns, and they are typically designed as spaces where you can find the answers that are difficult to find. Through Web sites, online discussion boards, newsletters, articles and videos, these networks attempt to help concerned parents.

In addition to providing important information, many parent-to-parent networks provide links to organizations and programs that can help a family with a specific need. This may mean connecting a parent to volunteer organizations that have "buddy" programs, or it may mean connecting parents to valuable medical resources in the area. A parent-to-parent network can serve as a liaison between parents and the available support in their community, which may be especially helpful for parents who are new to handling a certain family situation [source: P2PN].

Parent-to-parent matches are perhaps the most personal aspect of many of these networks, as these directly connect parents who share a particular situation. This may be as casual as an Internet chat where parents can discuss concerns, or it may be as personal as pairing a new parent with a trained parent volunteer who is familiar with dealing with a particular concern. These matches can serve as mentors, answering questions and providing guidance [source: P2P USA]. Many local networks also host or provide connections to in-person support groups. Each of these services intends to create a community of support that specifically deals with the situations a parent faces daily.

Local parent-to-parent networks can be an incredible resource for learning, and they can also help to provide an empathetic community that understands what you are going through. For more information on parent-to-parent networks, follow the links on the next page.