When was the last time someone listened to you? Truly listened? For some of us, we wouldn’t have had to reach far back in our minds to remember that moment, but for others of us being properly listened to may feel like a distant memory. For many parents they are the ones listening to, supporting and caring for their families, and as a result their difficulties and struggles can sometimes feel like they’ve fallen by the wayside. Having someone who takes the time to listen and support us is essential for our wellbeing, and at Parent Buddies we are passionate about providing this for parents.
Commitment to supporting parents is especially important - now more than ever, as we move out of a few turbulent years. Covid-19 and the lockdowns have been challenging times for all of us, but particularly for parents who suddenly had to juggle day-to-day family life, home schooling, and their own jobs. Save the Children note this in their Life Under Lockdown Report, saying ‘huge pressure has been placed on parents during lockdown and, in the next phase of the pandemic, the resilience and creativity that parents have shown must be matched with much greater support.’ The extra stress that the past 2 years have brought means that many parents may benefit from additional support as they begin to process and deal with this. It is not only the parent who benefits, but the wellbeing of the whole family is also enhanced through the parent being listened to when they experience challenges and high levels of stress. The positive effects of an act as simple as listening extend far and wide.
At Parent Buddies, our mission is to envision and equip local churches and organisations to provide this listening support to parents, through training volunteers to be a Parent Buddy. These Buddies provide a one to one listening and support service to any parent in need, as an early intervention. We believe that when parents have someone who takes the time to listen specifically to them, they are empowered in their parenting and more confident in themselves, enabling them to provide their children with the best start in life. This in turn strengthens the whole family unit, and when strong families come together, the community is transformed. And this sums up our vision: to empower parents, strengthen families, and transform communities.