Community and support: Online parenting forums

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(Photo courtesy of Sean McGrath, Flickr Creative Commons)

Two facts I know to be true about parenting:

It’s hard.

It’s not meant to be done alone.

That’s why community is vital in our growth as parents.

Community can come from our extended family helping us as we transition to life with a new baby. Or, from being part of a church, or synagogue, or mosque, or a tight-knit neighborhood.

Community support can also be virtual, on-line.

And, while I know that many parents are skeptical of taking advice from strangers in a parenting Facebook group, and while I recognize that some on-line forums have a reputation of drama, chaos, and lack of focus, I’d like to share with you all a curated (very curated because I have indeed had to remove myself from some “high drama” groups!) list of Facebook groups and pages that I recommend you check out.

They are divided into two major categories, Facebook groups and pages. Within”groups,” there are three sections: respectful parenting, educational philosophies, and multilingual parenting.

The titles with * are my top favorites, ones I recommend with zero reservations, ones that I personally turn to and participate in for constructive advice on parenting with respect.)

Be encouraged, friends.

Facebook Groups:

I.   Respectful Parenting

* 1.) RIE/Mindful Parenting –

“This group is for parents, educators, and childcare givers oriented towards Magda Gerber’s Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE).”

This group has over 20,000 members (!!!!) and a very active and engaged admin team that protects the ethos of the group and the RIE philosophy.

*2.) Visible Child: Respectful/Mindful Parenting –

“Visible Child: Mindful & Proactive Parenting is a group discussion site that complements the Visible Child site….This is intended to be a vigorous community, a place where parents and caregivers can ask questions, discuss options, and brainstorm and problem solve together….

So, what is Visible Child? It is an approach that focuses on caring for children (of all ages) thoughtfully and in a way that reflects respect, conscious decision-making, positive “discipline”, and a deep and abiding belief that children are full people from birth, with their own views, preferences, and ways of being and relating in the world, and that they deserve the respect that we would give to any other person.

This is a place to ask, reflect, read, discuss, question, and wonder. It is not affiliated exclusively with any particular philosophy, author, or “expert”, though we are strongly informed by the life and work of Magda Gerber, the (founder of RIE), the theories of Piaget, Erikson, and Vygotsky, the classroom practice of Reggio Emilia, the writing of Alfie Kohn, the gifts of attachment theory, and all those who advocate for respectful, peaceful, playful, respectful parenting.”

*3.) Respectful  Sleep Training/Learning – 

“This group is for support with sleep training. “Sleep training” is getting your child into the habit of falling asleep independently; that is, without any kind of help from you.

This group is a safe haven from shaming and fear-mongering surrounding sleep training. We support each other in listening to our children, respecting their needs and ours, allowing and hearing their emotions, and trusting their capabilities.”

II.   Educational Philosophies

1.) Montessori 101

2.) Montessori Homeschooling

3.) Waldorf Life

4.) The Reggio Emilia Approach

5.) Interested in RIE and unschooling

III.   Multilingual & Multicultural Parenting

1.) Multicultural Kid Blogs – “For bloggers dedicated to raising world citizens. A space to share questions, ideas, projects, and resources.”

2.) Multilingual Parenting – “This group is for anyone who is/was part of a family where more than language is/was spoken or has a general interest in the topic. You may or may not speak all of your family’s languages. You may or may not have children of your own – maybe you are a grandparent, teacher, child minder or linguist.”

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(Photo courtesy of Kamaljith K V, Flickr Creative Commons)

Facebook Pages:

While there are many Facebook pages I follow, the following five are my top favorites (links to each blog/website included). Quoted descriptions come from each Facebook page.

*1.) Teacher Tom – 

“A blog about teaching and learning from preschoolers. I am a preschool teacher, writer, artist and the author of “A Parent’s Guide To Seattle.” For the past 10 years, I’ve been the only employee of the Woodland Park Cooperative preschools. The children come to me as 2-year-olds in diapers and leave as “sophisticated” 5-year-olds ready for kindergarten.””

*2.) Science of Mom –

“I am a former research scientist, now an author, blogger, and a college instructor. I’m mother to Cee (born in 2010) and BabyM (born in 2014). I started my blog in the fall of 2010 as I was adjusting to life as a new mom and off the academic track. See, after the birth of my daughter in 2010 (she goes by Cee on the blog), I decided to leave the world of academic science for the time being….Without a lab bench and experiments to run, I found myself satisfying my curiosity by diving into the scientific literature on parenting topics, sorting through good and bad science and trying to write coherent stories about how science informs parenthood. That’s what I do on my blog – and on this page.

The same mission inspired my first book, The Science of Mom: A Research-Based Guide to Your Baby’s First Year. I am not selling anything, and I have no agenda or particular parenting philosophy to promote. I’m just curious, and my scientific training gives me the skill set to evaluate the science, to see its strengths and flaws, and to give my honest interpretation of how it applies to our parenting questions.”

*3.) Dan Siegel –

NY Times Bestselling Author (among other books, The Whole-Brain Child), Neuropsychiatrist, Mindsight Educator, Interpersonal Neurobiologist.

*4.) Lisa Sunbury, RIE associate from Regarding Baby –

“I provide information, resources, and support for parents and others who care for young children. I hope to inspire others to recognize the transformative power and importance of caring for babies and toddlers with respect.”

*5.) Janet Lansbury, RIE associate/author/blogger – 

“Children are born competent whole people. Let trust and belief in your babies guide your parenting.”

What on-line parenting and child development websites, groups, and forums do you turn to for community building and advice? I’d love to hear from you!

2 thoughts on “Community and support: Online parenting forums

  1. We don’t have children yet (maybe next year), but I really enjoy reading http://multilingualparenting.com/ My husband wants us to raise our children trilingual, but with him being monolingual and myself being bilingual (and having his language in common 😀 ), I have a lot of question–some which I can’t even put into words yet–about the hows of that. So, I really like that blog for that.

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    • Hello! So very sorry for such a late reply. Thanks for stopping by the blog!! Yes, multilingual parenting is great! Also, check out Francois Grosjean’s blog; he’s a leading researcher in bilingualism. His recent book, Bilinguals: Life and reality is great. Keep on reading and asking all kinds of questions! We can’t parent alone (And, although you don’t have children yet, it’s never too early to start reading and learning about children.) Best of luck to you! Audrey

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