API cofounder Lysa Parker on Are Parent Support Groups Revelant Anymore?

Human beings and all living things are a coalescence of energy in a field of energy connected to every other thing in the world. This pulsating energy field is the central engine of our being and our consciousness, the alpha and omega of our existence.

~Lynn McTaggart, author of The Field

As the world continues its love affair with technology, we human beings seem to become more disconnected and isolated from each other. Yet, as the quote below describes, we are connected in unseen ways–part of a larger design and consciousness. McTaggart’s book makes a strong scientific case for our interconnectedness as human beings, how we are positively or negatively affected by the energy fields within and around us. Most of us have likely experienced being around people or in an environment that gave us good or bad feelings or “vibes.” At the same time, being around others who are positive and calm when we are feeling overwhelmed or out of control can influence us to become more positive and calm, described in scientific terms, we become more “coherent.”

We’ve always known our API parent support groups had value, and the value of face-to-face support groups continues to be scientifically supported. Only recently are we beginning to understand these effects from the underlying chemical and electrical mechanisms within the human body. Just like our children, we need face-to-face human interaction, the benefits of which are palpable but immeasurable. In our support groups, we emphasize the importance of a healthy parent-child relationship. The same holds true for us as adults…it’s about relationships!

There are all kinds of studies that show the benefits of social support to our physical and mental health. Nevertheless, innovative technology has presented its challenges and has come with a price of faster communication with more isolation. We’ve either seen it or done it ourselves: adults having dinner together and never looking up from their phones; parents with their children but never really engaging them because they are either on the phone or texting.

Over the years, it’s been a real challenge for us at API as more and more parents have come to rely on the Internet for support and information. We’ve asked ourselves, how can we keep our support groups relevant and continue to attract parents when they can easily access information instantaneously through their iPads, Smart Phones, or computers? Many of our API leaders have had to deal with the ups and downs of attendance at their meetings, but it seems the pendulum is swinging back the other way as people realize that they are not feeling fulfilled or they feel emotionally isolated from their families or their friends.

It seems we are entering a new phase of awareness or consciousness, where parents are refusing to “drink the kool-aid,” to become more active and informed in their decision-making and conscious about what their children are exposed to in our culture. They are feeling the benefits of attending support groups where they have an alliance of like-minded people who share similar values for life and living. They feel safe and supported in their decisions and feel a part of a larger movement for changing the old paradigm.

We envision a time when the Principles of attachment parenting are so integrated into our culture that there’s no question that this is the accepted and optimal way to raise our children, but we will always need support because we were never meant to raise children in isolation–and we shouldn’t. We are indeed all connected and what happens to one of us happens to all of us.

Author: Rita Brhel

Rita Brhel, BS, CLC, API Leader, lives with her family near Hastings, NE, USA, where she works as a WIC Breastfeeding Counselor. She also writes for Mothering and La Leche League's New Beginnings.

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