Parents Groups Provide Needed Support
At Mercy Home, we believe it is important that our parents have the support they need to strengthen their families. That’s why, in addition to the support we provide our kids, we also provide assistance to their parents through support groups.
These virtual groups give our parents a chance to learn new parenting skills, share specific challenges they are facing, and know they aren’t alone in the experience of having a child in residential treatment.
Nancy is one of the parents who has been attending these weekly groups. Her daughter was struggling before coming to Mercy Home, and they had difficulty communicating.
Upon joining the group, Nancy was happy to find other parents who were willing to give advice and share parenting strategies that worked in their homes.
“Meeting with the parents was a good support for me,” Nancy said. “Sometimes it was hard to handle things with [my daughter]. But one of the older ladies gave me a lot of tips about how I can talk with my daughter, how to handle every problem, and gave me a lot of support.”
Nancy explained that before she began attending the parents group, she tended to compare herself and her family to what she saw others post on social media. She felt like nobody faced the problems she was facing, and it made her feel alone. But meeting parents who have experienced similar challenges has brought her a lot of comfort.
“We feel comfortable [sharing things with each other] and I don’t feel that others are judging me,” she said. “[When I’ve told others about my problems], they might say, ‘Oh, you’re a bad parent,’ and that feels horrible. But [in these groups], you can talk about everything and everyone’s listening to you. … I can ask for help.”
One helpful tip that Nancy has picked up is the importance of staying calm when dealing with her kids. Before, they would start screaming at each other when they tried to talk. Now, Nancy knows that she can take a break and come back when both have calmed down.
She also said that her daughter has responded well to a reward and consequences system. When her daughter does something good, like helping out with chores or getting good grades, she is rewarded. But when she gets into trouble, she will face a consequence, like losing her phone.
“She knows that she needs to keep up with cleaning her room so that she can use her cell phone or hang out with her friends,” Nancy explained.
After being part of the group for several months, Nancy has become one of the veteran parents and is happy to offer help and support to other parents who are still struggling. Juan Medina, one of the group’s facilitators, expressed his gratitude to Nancy for her contributions to the group.
“She is a leader and provides a lot of support,” he said. “We’re very fortunate she’s there to provide guidance for the other women.”
Today, Nancy’s home is much more peaceful than it used to be.
“I see the change in my home with all the members of my family, like my husband and my other daughter, too,” she said. “Everything is better now that I can listen to them, and I can talk with them more calmly.”
When Nancy was asked to talk about the difference that the support her parents group has provided her, she struggled to hold back tears.
“I’m so happy [to be part of the group],” she said. “I feel really thankful to Juan for including me in the meetings. Thank you for the help.”
Nancy is just one of many parents whose homes and families have been transformed because of the support they received from Mercy Home. When our kids’ homes are a safe place to be, we can meet our ultimate goal—to allow our children to return home to be with their families.