Accessing social support in your role as a parent – Step 3
Step 3. Identify one small action you could take to help reach your goal
In this step you will be asked to plan to conduct one small action you could take to achieve this goal. To help decide what this action will involve, here are some tips to improve your access to social support in your role as a parent.
Connecting with other parents
One of the most helpful sources of information and support comes from other parents who have had similar experiences. Here, we list websites that may be helpful in connecting you with other parents and carers who have a child with a delay.
MyTime groups are for parents, carers or grandparents of children with disability or chronic medical conditions. The groups meet to socialise, discuss and learn more about the services and supports in their area. The groups are facilitated by professionals with disability and parenting expertise.
Peer Connect helps you join a network that’s close to where you live, one with people who live with similar disability, one with people who share a specific interest or identity, or a network that only meets on the internet.
Kindred Connect provides a session with a Peer Support Specialist (with lived experience) to help you connect with other parents, and connect with information and supports. Currently this service is only available in New South Wales.
A free app in the app store, Kindship is a social networking app for parents raising children with disabilities, delays, and neurodiversity to connect.
While the websites and apps above specialise in connecting parents of children with delays, it is important to remember that your child is a child first and your family and child will have a lot in common with children without delays. Many parenting experiences and questions are the same regardless of whether a child has a delay. Therefore, reach out to other parenting groups in the community such as playgroups https://playgroupaustralia.org.au/our-state-organisations/ ,or through your local community directory. Also visit: [John’s Link]
If you would like more information and support about building social connections, visit https://skills.carergateway.gov.au/ and check out Carer Skills 5: Social Connection
Building your confidence to connect with other parents
The idea of walking into a room full of new people can be daunting. This is especially the case for parents of young children who may have spent a lot of time in their caring role at home. So, it is very common to feel nervous or uncomfortable, or question if you have the right social skills or confidence to achieve this. It might be helpful to:
- Before you go, think about what you might say to greet and start conversation
- Before you go, think about how you can show other people you are listening
- Before you go, practise these interactions with someone you feel comfortable with
- When you are there you might want to start talking to one person individually
- Try an online group, as this can be less daunting than face to face
- Remember, it doesn’t have to be a perfect interaction. At times, you might feel uncomfortable but keep trying and this feeling will go away over time
- Remember, others will feel the same way
Accessing practical and financial support
Connecting with other parents can provide a great source of emotional support. Families also need practical and financial support. This might include having someone help to take care of children or funds to pay for services you need. Here, we list websites that may help you access these supports.
This Australian Government website has information about services and support for carers including respite care and government financial support.
Carers Australia represents people who look after someone with disability or chronic illness, or an elderly person. The website provides information about Disability and NDIS, financial support, and mainstream and community supports.
The Disability Gateway has information and services to help people with disability, their family, friends and carers, to find the support they need in Australia.
While it is helpful to reach out and find new supports, it is also helpful to think about the people you already have in your life and how they might be able to help you. Quite often, people are happy to help if they know what kind of help you need.
Make a list of the family, friends and other connections you already have. Think about their strengths and availability, and what tasks they might be able to help you with. For example, a grandparent who has a close relationship with your child, drives and lives nearby might be happy to transport your child to a weekly activity if you make this specific request. Your neighbour who currently mows their front lawn might be happy to also mow your front lawn if you were to ask.
Like most relationships, they are more positive and last longer when they are reciprocal. Families do well when they can help each other. For example, you might love to bake and your neighbour just loves your chocolate slice, so when you ask if they would mind mowing your front lawn you could offer a weekly chocolate slice in return.
Finally, if you are able to access government financial support as explained in the websites above, paid help such as transport and domestic help can make a big difference.
Building your confidence to communicate about your needs
It can be hard to reach out and ask for help. How you do this will be different depending on your relationship with the person, and how you are communicating, for example on the phone or in person. Many requests for assistance from organisations are now often processed through the internet. It might be helpful to:
- Write down the details of yourself and your child before the conversation. Sometimes if you are nervous talking to an organisation representative even these simple details can escape you
- Beforehand, write down what you want to say, and what you want to achieve in the conversation
- Actively listen to the person you are talking with so you can respond appropriately
- If meeting in person, think about your body language so you can communicate clearly and positively
- Write down the key points from the conversation such as decisions or next steps so you can refer to these later
If you would like more information and support about effective communication, visit https://skills.carergateway.gov.au/ and check out Carer Skills 2: Effective Communication Techniques
Now it is time to plan your first small action. Look at the example provided, and then write your own
|What is the action?
|What do you need to do?
|Who will help?
|When will you do it?
|How will you know you have been successful?
Join a playgroup
1) Find a playgroup to join
2) Work on my confidence to talk to new people
|My sister is good searching the internet and I can practise my conversation skills with my partner
|Over the next month
|When I have attended a playgroup and talked to new people