There are quite of few of us that just don’t feel the drive to join anything, including support groups. Usually, these groups are scheduled at specific times and days of the month. People who are long time members become close knit, while new members can feel a bit out of the loop. So, some people skip past the support group aisle in the warehouse of options for self-care. If this sounds like you, hopefully this article can help shine a new light on support groups or support networks.
Support networks can help improve your health and life when the relationships you develop offer real help or assistance during troubled times. In studies of participants in support networks, researchers found evidence of improvement in individuals’ attitudes, behaviors, and personal health maintenance, both physical and emotional.
There are several features of successful support networks:
1. Members recognize there are differences in how each of us form and benefit from social supports.
2. Participants feel free from judgement and be encouraged to take risks and voice their ideas and concerns.
3. It must be understood that members of the support network will find and value various levels of relationships with one another: intimate, limited, or occasional.
4. Social support is an open circuitry of exchange! Evidence points to the importance of each person having the opportunity to be both a giver and receiver of support. The support network must function in a way that facilitates an interpersonal exchange between people.
Social supports are an important feature of life. While the expressions of support may vary, the one constant is the feeling of belonging, acceptance, and value. The JFS Connecting Hearts Family Alliance strives to offer a support network for all foster, adoptive, and kinship families. The Family Alliance Support Network group on Facebook is a safe place for families to discuss issues and learn from one another. We hope that by facilitating this support network, we will build a place for families to share the highs and lows of foster, adoptive, and kinship parenting. Join us!