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Accessing social support in your role as a parent – Step 1

Parents and families benefit from having a group of people around them who care for and support them. This support is often called social support. These people may include family members, friends, other parents of children with delays, or other community members. There is no set amount of ‘recommended social support’ but rather what is important is how satisfied you are with the social support you receive.

Social support includes (Dunst & Trivette, 1988):

  • Emotional (e.g. someone to talk to)
  • Child (e.g. someone who interacts with and accepts your child)
  • Financial (e.g. someone who lends you money)
  • Instrumental (e.g. someone who does household chores)
  • Agency (e.g. someone who obtains services for your child)

The quality of social support is a strong predictor of parent-related stress. So, if you don’t already have a group of people who support you and your child, developing these connections can be an important step to improving your parenting well-being.

Step 1. Identify your current situation

It can be helpful to think about whether you are satisfied with the amount and quality of social support you have available and if this is an area you might like to improve. Take this survey developed by Dunst and Trivette (1988) to help you understand the quality of your current social supports.

Please select the response that best describes your needs. Please answer all the questions.

To what extent do you have or feel a need for any of the following types of help or assistance? Never (1) Once in a while (2) Sometimes (3) Often (4) Quite often (5)

Welcome to your Accessing social support in your role as a parent

Someone to talk to about things that worry you

Someone to help take care of your child

Someone to talk to when you have questions about raising your child

Someone who loans you money when you need it

Someone to encourage or keep you going when things seem hard

Someone who accepts your child regardless of how he or she acts

Someone to help with household chores

Someone to relax or joke with

Someone to do things with your child

Someone to provide you or your child transportation

Someone to hassle with agencies or individuals you can’t

Someone who tells you about services for your child or family