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A peer supporter…

…PROVIDES INITIAL SUPPORT

Once you have agreed to offer support to a specific parent,  you will be provided with contact information for that person.

Typically, the initial contact will be made by the peer supporter, preferably within 24 hours after agreeing to support.

Occasionally, certain situations warrant the requesting parent to make the first call to the peer supporter. Parent to Parent protects confidentiality at all times. Your information will not be given out unless we have your permission to do so.
…PROVIDES A LISTENING EAR AND A SHOULDER TO LEAN ON

AnaListening is the most important thing that you can do. Listen carefully to what the parent is saying.
Allow the parent to express their thoughts, concerns and questions.

Remain open minded and maintain a non-judgemental attitude.
Offer encouragement and emotional support on an informal and personal basis.
Give information on local resources, literature and other relevant information.

…GUIDES A PARENT IN LEARNING HOW TO MAKE RESPONSIBLE DECISION

Offer guidance and direction as needed, but allow the parent to make his or her own decisions and mistakes.

…RESPECTS THE CONFIDENTIALITY OF THE RELATIONSHIP

Reassure the parent the what is discussed between you will remain between you.

 

A peer supporter…

…DOES NOT GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE

You are not a medical expert, nor should you be expected to be one.  No medical information should be offered to the parent.

You may help parents to clarify questions to ask healthcare providers, or refer parents to medical professionals, social workers or other community resources.

…IS NOT A PSYCHOLOGIST OR SOCIAL WORKER

If at all possible, do not get involved in a parent’s personal life. If you think a parent needs more help, refer him/her to a family counselor or contact a Regional Coordinator for assistance.

…IS NOT A “CURE-ALL”

Even though you may want to, restrain yourself from saying, “Everything will be all right.” A parent will want to hear this and may try to get you to say it. Instead, help the parent face reality in a gentle, positive way.

Make suggestions and give other resources. Offer several options whenever possible so the parent can make his/own choices.

Allowing parents to make their own phone calls, etc.,  gives them a feeling of strength and purpose as well as independence. You may have to repeat suggestions and occasionally urge a parent to action. However, if a parent chooses not to follow your suggestions, let them drop. Respect the parent’s need to do things in his/her own way and own time.

…IS NOT A “WORK HORSE”

You want to help and that is a generous act on your part. But, do not allow a parent to take advantage of you,  your time and your energies. Set your own limits and try to stick by them as you are not a Crisis Counselor.

If you suspect that a parent might be in a crisis state, remember it is not your responsibility to handle it. Keep the number of the local crisis intervention center near your phone and call them if you think a parent needs immediate help.

…IS NOT ALONE

Remember, a Parent to Parent Regional Coordinator is available to help you with any questions you  might have. Call your regional coordinator at 1-888-727-2706.

Megan