Real life parent group

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DammitJanet, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I posted on a recent thread that I wanted to be involved in a group for parents of kids with behavioral and emotional disorders in real life. Well, I think I am going to attempt to start one at the agency I get my therapy through.

    I talked to my therapist about it today and she is gung ho over the idea. Thinks I would be the perfect person for it. I have to convince the other powers that be though at the agency.

    They have been talking about groups for 3 years now and nothing has gotten off the sounding board and I am sick of waiting for them to take action. I am willing to step up to the plate and take this on full force. All I need from them is a meeting space and a room in between times that I can use to hall in the laptop to download stuff and print it out.

    I have no problem being the leader and talking to people. I want it to be a parent to parent support group.

    The place I go to is called Community Innovations and I thought it would be cute to call this group "Parents Supporting Parents in Community Innovations".

    I hope it would be ok if I copy some stuff from here such as the parent report, the outline of the Exceptional Child stuff from Easy Child, the form letters off the archives for Special Education.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Go for it, Janet! And when you get that one off the ground, feel free to come out west and start one here! :p
  3. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Sounds like a great idea! Just make sure you don't hold meetings in public places....we wouldn't want so scare wait staff again! LOL And if you want, I'm sure you could tap some of us as guest speakers!!!
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    LOL...on the scaring wait staff. Things like that never even enter my mind anymore! Some folks just dont live interesting lives...lmao.
  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Way To Go, Janet! The world needs more people like you!
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im going to work this weekend to throw a presentation together with a poster and sign up sheet, thumb drive with my basic materials that I would use and type of info that I would talk about. Basically it would be something like this board but in a real life setting where parents could get to know each other and have access to each other in real life so they would know they arent alone. If that makes them more agreeable to actual treatment of their kids, that is a big bonus.
  7. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member


    Having worked as a family advocate, may I offer a couple of suggestions for the group you are forming?
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

  9. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    Do what you can to get the word out about the group - see if there is any kind of budget to support the group to make flyers to put up, or send notices to clinics, schools, etc. Don't make it a one time push, try and make the community aware of your group from time to time and over time.

    Decide on a regular meeting schedule(monthly, weekly, every two weeks) time and place, give the families something they can rely upon. Carefully consider whether you will provide child care or if parents will be allowed to bring children with them. The groups I was involved with did not provide childcare, nor were children permitted to attend with a parent . . . . that has both positives and negatives.

    Think about offering a sign in sheet, so that you or a helper can make reminder invitation phone calls prior to each meeting. Parents may leave a meeting full of intent to come back the next time, but become distracted by life.

    Offer guest speakers, perhaps community resource type folks. One of our rules was that groups were not only to be a *^%#$ and whine session, because that gets old fast.

    It takes energy to keep a group going; don't expect too much of yourself :) Best of luck and enjoy the challenge!
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Janet, you are my HERO!!!!!!!

    I remember how desperately I longed for a parent group. I tried to start one through our school, using the school to meet in the evenings. The counselor refused to pass out notices to any parents. The school board didn't care one way or another, but she felt that it would isolate kids somehow. She always was a dingbat!

    I suggest you start with the schools. Throw together a flyer and ask for all the schools in your area to pass them out. The counseling center might be able to pay for the flyers. Otherwise use 1/2 sheet of paper to format them. Make sure you have a do-able time and place. I suggest cookies and coffee during the meeting. MAYBE you could find a group of teens to babysit. Look to church youth groups for the teens. This would be a good service project for them or for a sorority or fraternity. Maybe a group of psychology students (surely they have some sort of psychology club through the university? I know that the business colleges have honors groups, and I think most psychology depts do also.) would babysit for free?

    Or make it clear on the form that kids are welcome. Maybe Mandy (Cory's girlfriend if I remember names correctly) could come and babysit for the first few meetings? I know when I looked for support groups I could never go because we had no babysitter and usually it was while husband worked. At the very least have some toys they can play with. Maybe the counseling center has a kid room or toys in the waiting room?

    This is SO AWESOME! I bet you could do a web conference with some of us as guest speakers.

    in my opinion you truly are a HERO!!

    I am so proud I can claim you for my family!
  11. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    I think this is a great idea. Good luck with it.
  12. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Good for you Janet. I am lucky that after having a difficult child, I understand how to best work with them in the classroom----and it is so much easier dealing with someone else's child and someone else's issues. I haven't been able to save mine, but I have saved some, and I find great satisfaction in that.
  13. Lori4ever

    Lori4ever New Member

    That's so awesome! There needs to be more of this out there.
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Janet this is just a thought. You might want to keep the web address of this board to yourself. Not to be selfish, but to maintain some privacy for yourself. If the other members of your group come here you will no longer have a place to vent that is just for you.

    Of course we would welcome the members of your group, but if someone is in a bad place/bad state of mind they could take what you share here and use it to hurt you. Or maybe take info you share here about Cory to Keyana's mom or even tell Billie what you say about her.

    While I know you would tell others what you think of them with no problem - IF they asked or pushed you too far, I also know that you need a private safe space to vent and blow off steam.

    It is just something that occurred to me as I was thinking about my gfgbro. The one who took snippets of a few posts and told my mom about them, raising a HUGE fight with my mother.
  15. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    Wonderful idea Janet. Years ago I started a support group for women whose husbands had significant mental health issues. It was an amazing experience.

    I also do several groups @ work. If you ever need to pick my brain, let me know.
  16. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This sounds like a great idea! I'm sure you will do a great job!
  17. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I'd offer to come up and be a guest speaker and share my experiences with Dude- but I'm sure you'd like them to come BACK......

  18. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Great job, Janet!
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im not involving schools just yet. I will be doing good to just get the parents of this particular counseling agency right now. Baby I dont have a meeting area big enough to take on that large a crowd. Now if someone tells a friend and they want to come, that will be fine.

    We wont be providing child care, just isnt feasible. Joy and I talked about that. There isnt a place in the building and I dont have a budget for this. I am doing it basically on my own. I am hoping (praying) I can get the agency to do the printing for me. That shouldnt be too much for them. They have wanted to do some sort of group but simply havent been able to get the umph under them to actually take the ball and run with it. I am willing to do so.

    I think for the beginning, every two weeks would be a good time table. Im thinking the meeting time would be from 5 to 6. That way we could use the agency's meeting room with no problem. They have a large table with chairs and a white board. Definitaly will have a sign in sheet with area for names, phone numbers and email addresses. I plan on making a members list to pass out so everyone has a "friends list" that they can call or email if times get tough. I would have to think on Skyping in guest speakers. Could be done. I will have a laptop. I already know I am not going to use my families real names. I am going to refer to Cory as Or I could just use the generic...difficult child...lmao. Take the board lingo over.

    I dont know about giving out the board address. I would have to think about that and it would probably depend on how many really give me an email address so I see how many have a computer. I may actually ask them how many have researched things online.
  20. Star*

    Star* call 911

    HEY!!!!!!! you could make NAMETAGS........:tongue:

    (ducking cold, ugly stares)