There was a time when most of us aimed to be Supermum and Superdad but lately, just getting up, getting the kids dressed, making it to work on time and surviving a working day that can often stretch on endlessly, can seem like an almost impossible hurdle to overcome. Parenting is a pursuit that is paved with good intentions but often, the demands of daily life can leave us disappointed and guilty about not meeting our children’s needs and desires to the extent we would like. These resources will hopefully help you realise that you definitely are not alone and that often, a few small changes can go a long way towards making family life as fulfilling as you once dreamed it would be.
Families Need Fathers: If you are a busy mum or dad in the process of separating or getting a divorce and you’re worried about how your relationship with your children could change, this shared parenting charity is a fantastic place to start. It provides mums, dads and even grandparents, new partners and extended families with information and support through a helpline, local branch meetings and individual, telephone or group counselling. A plethora of online resources are also available.
Gingerbread: This organisation offers advice and support to single parents, sending email advice packages on areas such as benefits for single parents, advice for parents who are single and pregnant or looking for work, and available help for single parents who are studying. It also provides information on childcare providers, financial support for the costs of childcare and benefit caps. There is also a handy helpline where parents can find expert advice on a myriad of issues including child maintenance, housing, debt and other parenting challenges. Online advice sessions are also available.
Home-Start: This national charity offers support to families with children aged five and under. Home-Start volunteers visit you in your own home to help you with practical tasks such as getting to appointments, establishing routines, applying positive parenting skills and using local services. They also provide friendship and a shoulder to cry on, listening to your worries and hopes for your family. Some local Home-Starts also run family groups offering parents and extended families the chance to network, pick up handy tips and encourage children to socialise.
Family Lives: This charity boasts over 30 years’ experience in helping parents deal with the stress that is part and parcel of daily family life. They provide a 24-hour helpline, a practical website that is full of easily accessible resources, message boards, live chats, email support, e-learning modules and parenting/relationship support groups. All services are free and available 365 days a year! They also provide advice on raising teenagers and difficult issues like bullying. Additionally, there are group classes on everything from anger management to temper tantrums, setting limits and stress busting for positive parenting.
4Children: This organisation offers childcare, family support and youth services in more than 100 different settings, including children’s centres, nurseries and schools. They also have an information helpline, informative publications, conferences and events. The site is very easy to use; just click on your area in their interactive map and find local nurseries, interesting activities and support crèches.
Kidscape: If your child has been frightened to go to school lately or they feel ill in the mornings, and you suspect bullying might be an issue, Kidscape should be your first stop. It is the first charity in the UK established specifically to address the issues of bullying and child abuse and provides parents, young people and organisations with practical skills and information to address this difficult subject.