There's an old saying that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, now parents are finding their village online. In the past, most people stayed in their home towns where they had a life-long community of people around them. When they had children, there were grandparents, aunts, uncles and old friends who could help out with the baby and provide a support system. Well, now, those days are gone and it's more typical for people to live far away from their families as adults, which can leave new parents feeling isolated and disconnected. Instead of wallowing, a growing number of people are creating a new sort of support system with online parenting groups and chat sites.
Since the 1990s thousands of parent support groups have popped up online. On Yahoo alone there are almost 80,000 different groups! Parents can chat about general topics, like what kind of stroller to buy. Or, they can find others who are dealing with more specific parenting issues, like having children with autism. It's also a way for young parents to get that on-the-ground knowledge that they used to get from their families, like when to start solid foods or get vaccinations. These groups are filling a gaping hole in the lives of many young parents. One member who lives in New York City says she felt completely alone in a city of eight-million people, but after finding online support groups she felt like she suddenly had a community around her. Another parent who's been part of an online group for 10 years says she feels so close to her group that she'd leave her daughter with any of them, and she's never even met them in person!
If you're a parent looking for support, find the “groups” section on any search engine like Google or Yahoo and type in “parents.” Or type “online parenting” into the search bar.