Article type: Original Research

PUBLISHED 1 January 1982

Volume 7 Issue 1

Self Help Parents Anonymous

Jeanette Uren

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Jeanette Uren

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In 1972 a group of women met to discuss the growing problem of parents under stress, especially the problem of child abuse. With the increase in single parent families, the escalating number of broken marriages and the disappearance of extended families, the pressure of parents was becoming greater. These women decided to form a group, a self-help group, non denominational and non profit making. Parents Anonymous was born.

A common complaint from people who seek help from Parents Anonymous is that many doctors, infant welfare sisters, or other professional workers do not have the understanding or experience to skilfully guide or refer parents who have trouble coping with their children, especially in times of stress. In most cases, particularly with doctors, it is the general practice to either underrate the problem or to hand out a prescription to “calm poor mum down”. Also, to some parents, doctors and other professional workers represent an “authority” and this inhibits their ability to express themselves. They also fear that by admitting their parenting problems they are “failures” and fear that they may have their children taken from them. As parents are particularly vulnerable at such times, it would be helpful if professionals could be more perceptive of stress situations and their underlying causes, and be able to make parents more comfortable about talking out their problems and needs.

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