When you become a parent there is no shortage of advice. Health visitors, doctors, your own parents, grandparents and siblings all have a wide variety of advice that they want to share with you. Some helpful and some not so helpful! As a first time parent, it is really difficult to know who to listen to. Do you listen to your Granny when she tells you to give them solid food at 6 weeks or your health visitor who says you must wait until 6 months?
Here at WILD young parents, we offer advice and support in a range of ways. We have project workers, early years support workers, case workers, music workers, crèche workers and Dads’ workers. They can all offer really good solid advice and provide support in a range of ways. However, very few of our staff have recently been young parents themselves. So with this in mind we decided to recruit our first group of Peer Mentors.
Photo: Strips of fabric showing the benefits of group support, as discussed in training. These were then woven into a fabric mat.
"Training these young people has been a hugely rewarding experience. Their desire to help others and give something back has been inspiring."
We have recruited ten young parents, six Mums and four Dads who have recently been in receipt of support from Wild. They have recent experience of how it feels to be bombarded by advice and have navigated the first years and months of being a parent. They have faced a huge array of challenges and now feel ready to offer support to other young parents.
Training these young people has been a hugely rewarding experience. Their desire to help others and give something back has been inspiring. They are now supporting other young parents in our weekly groups. They are able to offer support and more importantly, understanding. They can offer something that we, as professionals, cannot. They can empathise and tell other parents- ‘I’ve been where you are and come out the other side.’