Connections Matter: Social Support for Parents
Raising kids of any age is no easy task. You might have heard the expression, “it takes a village to raise a child”, and it is so true. And, not only do the people surrounding your family influence your child, they also influence you. What friends do you have that you can rely on when life gets stressful? Is there someone reliable that can watch the kids when you need some time to do work or have a date night out? Who can you turn to when you need extra support or advice?
Whether you need practical, emotional, or informational support, having a good group of close friends or family that is consistently there for you is very beneficial both for you--and for your kids as well.
Many studies have shown that having a good social support system builds resilience against stress and trauma-related issues. This means when life throws those curveballs, parents who are socially supported are better equipped to cope with the changes and navigate the challenges.
Social support is also linked to better physical health-- studies have shown that positive social connections can lower blood pressure and increase cardiovascular health. Individuals also tend to live healthier lifestyles. Furthermore, parents’ mental health benefits from positive social supports as well. Social support increases self-esteem and helps with any emotional duress-- when you can vent, get advice from, and find comfort in others, you don’t feel as alone or overwhelmed.
A good, consistent social support network can also help parents build better relationships with their children. When parents are less stressed, more relaxed, and have a better general well-being, it adds up to more patience and a calmer head when parenting.
Additionally, reaching out for support when you need help is not only helping you, it is also setting a positive example for your kids-- they’ll see, through your actions, that it is okay to ask for help and there is no need to handle life's challenges alone. This lesson is crucial to help them bear the load of any struggles or handle the bumps along the road of life.
And remember, support goes both ways-- when you have the capacity, be there for your friends, family and peers as well.
The take-away? Connections matter!
Build your village, and don’t be afraid to ask for help!