Do You Have A Parenting Community? [Advice Column]

Hi Vanessa

You often talk about speaking to parent groups.   I do not have one of these groups, do you think I should? How do you recommend starting a solid parenting community?

-Maryellen of Austin TX! 

Even though, I recommend lots of activities to do with your teen, more family time and staying informed about issues with drugs, sex and the Internet.  Knowing what is going on in your individual communities is even more important, because this is what your kids are experiencing.

Here are a few ideas to making your own group!

Step 1: Find Other Groups

Many schools, temples, churches and neighborhoods have parenting groups, book clubs and monthly, weekly or annual meetings. Before you start your own group, join the larger organizations and see if you connect with other parents.

Step 2: Stay In Your Community

Some parents make the mistake of forming groups with parents who are not in their immediate community. Begin compiling a list of parents who not only go to your child’s school, but are in their grade and class so you can talk about homework problems, teacher issues and class parties.

Step 3: Your Kid’s Friend’s Parents

That’s a mouthful. It is so important to know your kids friends and their parents. When I talk about getting together with other parents to plan safe weekend activities, this will be useless if your kids are not friends! Also, being friends with these parents will help you get to know your own kid. Often times, teens will open up or let loose in front of friend’s parents but not you.

Step 4: Approach and Form

Start to make calls, send out emails, talk in the carpool line about forming an ‘official’ group. I say official because I mean that you form a group of 3-10 (any more or less than this and it gets out of hand or is useless) and find a regular meeting time or discussion session about parenting issues in the community.

Step 5: Inform and Share

Once you have formed your group, split up who gets to host (or do it at coffee shops) and assign everyone a meeting to lead with issue and news that week. The host will do some research and send out relevant reading through email the few days before the meeting.

Parent Group Meeting Schedule: This is a printable PDF sign-up sheet I already made for your first meeting!

Step 6: Find Resources

I humbly ask you, my readers, for a small favor. I hope that you can use my posts as a jumping point/spring board for your group’s week’s topics. I can start to mention springboard questions in my posts to encourage you to meet with other parents and hep your meetings flow.
Please, please, please, if you already have a parenting group or some parent friends, if you could take a moment, and maybe look through your email address book and send them an email about my site and the articles I offer. I want parents to be able to work with each other and stay informed about current issues and I thank you for spreading the word about my website.

Find your parent community…or create it!
Dream big, work hard and you will get there,
Vanessa

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