We know that parenting at any stage is a juggling act. Between work, school, sport and social commitments, it can feel like there isn’t a spare minute in the day.
Online communities are a great way to access guidance, advice and encouragement from the comfort of your home. Anonymous, private and readily available communities like the ReachOut Parents Forums foster supportive relationships.
We’ve put together this guide to give you an idea of what to expect, and info on how you can get involved with online peer support for mental health.
A place to connect with other parents
The ReachOut Parents Forum is a place to connect online with other parents of 12-18 year olds who know all about life with a teenager.
You can seek advice on any challenges you’re facing with your teen; and you can share your experiences as a parent with other people who might be going through a tough time. If you’re tackling a particular issue or challenge with your teen, no one understands that quite like another parent. The other members of the forum are a treasure trove of experience and advice that you can draw on.
Our forums are completely anonymous and private. You will only be known to other users by the unique username you create when you sign up. It will be impossible for other users to identify you in the real world and there is no way for other users to contact you outside the forum. We understand that anonymity and privacy are important when discussing matters sensitive to your family and we take our commitment to this very seriously.
The many benefits of online support
“...I miss talking with other parents of teens in person and am findings this [ReachOut Parents Forum] a good alternative.”
Sylvie, mother of Matthew, aged 13.
"...it’s great to have a ‘sounding board’ to share parental frustrations and coping strategies."
Clive, father of Ruby and Alice, both aged 14.
"It is so comforting to know, that I am not the only one."
Caroline, mother of Carli, aged 17.
There are many benefits of being part of an online support community, including:
- It can really help to hear from other parents who have gone through similar situations. This reduces parenting isolation and provides hope; the flow-on effect of this is that you feel more confident, empowered and positive, and ready to tackle whatever comes your way.
- You’ll find advice and strategies that have been tried and tested by other parents and experts.
- Groups like our parents’ forum are accessible from your phone or laptop, whether you’re at home, at work or on the go, whenever you need them.
- You can remain anonymous, protecting your privacy while receiving support and advice related to your specific situation.
No issue is too big or too small
You might be surprised by the range of topics covered in our parents' forum – there really is no issue too big or too small. These are some of the issues parents are talking about:
- Family conflict
Share your journey to support others in need
The beauty of online groups like our parents' forum is that it’s never just a one-sided relationship – you can also give support to other members. It’s not about being an expert; it’s about sharing experiences you’ve had as a parent, how you felt and what worked for you. Simply hearing from people who’ve had similar experiences helps other parents and carers to feel supported and understood, and less alone.
According to My Peer, helping others in this way has benefits for those offering guidance as well. You can expect to feel more confident in your ability to cope with your own parenting issues, which increases your self-esteem. Knowing that you’ve helped to alleviate someone else’s concerns will also make you feel more positive about your impact on the world.
Share concerns, ask for help and hear from other parents
Concerned about your teen? This is the place to go to share what’s happening for you, and hear from other parents who’ve been through it too.
Ask a Family Professional and join in on discussions
Would you like to hear from an expert? Ask your questions here, and read through our archives on school refusal, family dynamics, mental health, and much more.
Are you after some help coping with the COVID-19 pandemic? Click here.