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Parenting and the Benefits of Peer Support

Posted February 24th 2017 by Ciara

We’ve been meeting with a group of parents from East Kilbride who meet up every week to talk, share experiences and provide support to one another. We talked about peer support, what it is how it can be used to encourage and support parents and people. Here are some of the main points the group discussed and what they feel are the main benefits of peer support.

Shared experiences  

Peer support is about

  • A safe place and safe people
  • Trust and not judgement.
  • Sharing thought processes and experiences to help and support others

“You can feel embarrassed talking to people who haven’t been through what you have.”

“Having people to speak to who have been through it before and can tell you what to expect during things like benefit assessments and doctors’ appointments.”

Friendship

Peer support is about

  • Making friends who understand
  • Having someone say ‘I missed you’ if you don’t go makes you feel valued and part of the group

Information

Peer support is a way to

  • Gain information, skills and experiences from friends and peers
  • Share your skills, knowledge and experiences with friends and peers

“It’s hard to get information and to work out how things are done.  Peer support is a good way to find out about things like benefits and activities for kids – we just share what we all know.”

Support

Peer Support is a way to have

  • Informal support from people who have ‘lived experience’
  • Support that is easily accessible and available nearly all the time through digital technology, social media, group chats and phone calls

“You’d be isolated without it.”

“We look for positive things and support each by build each other up”

Structure and plans

Peer support give us

  • A structure and routine for the week
  • People to make plans and have activities to go with
  • Something to look forward to

“I focus my week round seeing everyone and having a good chat.  I think about the things I want to check up on with others about my son and school or his behaviour.  It helps to know I have people I can just ask without it being official or a big deal.   It’s just chatting but I didn’t have anyone to talk to before.”   

Positive Future

Peer Support can help you do things differently. It is about support and encouraging each other to seek and develop a positive future. It works by

  • Talking to people who are further along on their journey helps- you can see the changes they have made
  • Learning new techniques and information for dealing with stuff
  • Changing your mind-set and how you express yourself

“You can fall back into a bad place, but now there are people to pull you out and you don’t stay there.”

“Services sometimes expect you to jump to the next stage easily, but it can take more time than that. Peer support bridges the gap and helps with the next stage because someone will have already have been there and can help you through.”

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on peer support and parenting- is there anything you think should be included in this list? What are your own experiences? Get in touch by leaving a comment on this post or emailing ciara@otbds.org

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