Parent-to-Parent by Allison Becker


We’ve all heard it said a million different ways: relationships are a vital part of life. According to one of the longest-ever studies of human behavior (it started at Harvard in 1938 and still continues to this day!), relationships that bring us joy help us to be healthier, live longer, and find more success. Neglecting human connection is detrimental, plain and simple.

For parents, this may ring especially true. Sometimes parenting can feel very isolating. Think of a stay-at-home parent who speaks to no one but their toddlers all day. Or maybe a young parent whose coworkers are all single and childless and don’t want to hear “kid stories” every day.

This often becomes even more real when parents are facing issues. Whether it’s an unexpected diagnosis of a disability or learning disorder, or a child’s refusal to potty train or let you help them tie their shoes, it can be easy to feel alone when troubles strike. But this neglects a very obvious, if sometimes uncertain, truth: you are not alone.

Coming together with other parents to discuss the highs and lows of life as a parent is important. While it may feel selfish, taking the best possible care of themselves actually helps people be the best possible parents they can. The chance to share experiences with others who have been through similar things can be comforting, affirming, and calming.

Support among parents can also be a source of new and valuable advice. Sometimes it can feel like you’ve tried every tactic in the world to solve an issue or improve your relationship with your child. But often, other parents can offer new perspectives. The chance to hear, “This is what worked for me,” can be eye-opening and give many new avenues to explore.

The chance to talk and share with other parents can also be a huge confidence builder. Many parents at one point or another experience the sense of, “I’m not equipped to handle this.” Often this is magnified if a child is disabled, ill, or having difficulties. But it’s common to most parents, regardless. Being surrounded by other parents provides the reminder that parenting isn’t easy, but we’ve been doing it for forever. It encourages the thinking of, "If they can do it, so can I."

Relationships between parents can be crucial in making parents better people and thus, better parents! They can provide encouragement during struggles or celebration during successes. No one is alone, and a supportive parent community reminds us of that.