You are not alone, Family Day 2024

You Are Not Alone Image

February 16, 2024

Family Day. A day to celebrate family. However, for some parents and other caregivers, it can be stressful.

You may feel isolated – despite your deep connections with your children. You are not alone. Over a third of parents experience chronic loneliness. Why is this? It may be that many of us no longer have the same support for raising children that we had in the past. We may have moved away from extended family and cultural connections. We may be living in new neighbourhoods, cities or countries.

Parenting can be difficult at the best of times. We all want the best for our children. Parenting when we are stressed about the cost of living, and worried about our children is hard. Feeling isolated makes those stresses and worries even more difficult.

Adding to that stress, research indicates that parental loneliness can negatively impact the mental and physical health of you and your children.

What can we do?

Dr. Kimberley Brownlee, Canada Research Chair in Ethics and Political & Social Philosophy, University of British Columbia, has written that we are “so deeply social that meeting our social needs – for decent human contact, acceptance within a community, companionship, loving relations, and interdependent care – is more important than meeting every other need we have.”

How do we make those social connections?

Reach out to other parents who may also be feeling lonely. Feeling needed by others (not just your children) can break down loneliness.

Connect with your child’s childcare or school community. Contact your local Community Centre, Neighbourhood House, Family Place. If English is not your first language, reach out to an organization like Mosaic, or SUCCESS that might help you connect with others who speak your language.

There are organizations such as Parent Support Services Society of BC which operate parenting support groups made up of folk like you. Groups for parents and grandparents. Groups that operate in various languages. Groups for those raising children with unique needs. These are spaces where you can talk about your stresses and challenges. Where you can share without being judged. Where you can learn parenting strategies. Spaces where you feel connected.

If this all seems too much – let’s try one little step. We can all take the time to just say, “hello” to our neighbours.

Jane Bouey

Executive Director – Parent Support Services Society of BC