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peer parenting group

Peer Parenting Groups Offer Real Support

Did you know that simply talking to other parents about their experiences can be a great source of information and support? Childhood and parenting experts have found that programs focused on connecting parents with each other to talk about common issues, questions and challenges in small groups can help strengthen families and build confidence in parenting through real-life experiences. It also always helps to know — you’re not alone.

That’s why in 2021, Child and Family Resource Network began special training to offer “Parent Cafés.” These virtual meetings use a peer parenting group model started by Be Strong Families, a program focused on nurturing family well-being.

Peer parenting groups help participants to feel that they’re not alone.

Every eight weeks, parents and caregivers of young children are invited to participate in virtual Parent Cafés, a two-hour Zoom group meeting where we talk about different topics of parenting. Specifically, each session explores one or two of five “protective factors” identified by Strengthening Families:

  1. Parental resilience

  2. Relationships and social connections

  3. Knowledge of parenting and child development

  4. Support in times of need

  5. Communication and the social and emotional competence of children

During each Parent Café session, a trained moderator shares information about protective factors and provides in-depth detail about the factors to be focused on that day. Parent participants are then broken up into smaller groups of only three or four other parents and a moderator. The moderator asks a question for group discussion. The questions are simple and typically ask about participants’ experiences in certain situations.

Some example questions include:

  • What do you do during your “you time”?

  • How are humor and fun important in your own parenting?

  • What is family time like in your family, and why is it important?

Parent Cafés are never recorded, and moderators are only there to help start conversations and ensure everyone is included in discussions — they do not give advice, other than sharing their own experiences. The benefit to participants is hearing from other parents and realizing that no one has to feel alone in parenting!

What other parenting groups are available?

Child and Family Resource Network includes several family and parenting support programs, many of which also offer peer parenting support groups as well.

>> Pottawattamie County

Nurturing Parenting Program Classes – This 16-week program is for parents and caregivers with children prenatal through age 5 in Pottawattamie County. Topics discussed in these groups include childhood development, nurture routines, discipline techniques, child safety, family rules, managing stress and more.

Circle of Security – This 8-session parenting class focuses on the attachment and relationships between parents and their children. The classes help parents learn skills of encouragement, support and acknowledgment.

Group Connections – Through the Parents As Teachers model, Group Connections are specially planned events for families to attend, meet others and share information about parenting issues and child development. Families are able form their own circles of support by sharing experiences and discovering new ways of approaching parenting challenges.

>> Montgomery, Fremont and Page Counties

Nest Program – Nest offers monthly classes for pregnant women and parents with babies up to one year old. Classes cover a full range of topics including nutrition, healthy relationships, mental health, car seat and home safety tips, and child abuse prevention.

Child and Family Resource Network helps you find the right support.

The benefit of our network is that we are a one-stop-shop for finding parenting support within nine southwest Iowa counties. Contact us and let us know what you’re interested in, and we can connect you directly to the free support opportunities available in your area. The choice is always yours!

To find out more, visit

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