The revelation . . .

Parents Forum should be free, in part because support that is freely offered is, quite simply, priceless. The other reason, which leads to the plea, is that nobody seems to want to pay for what we offer. Sad face.

The heartfelt plea . . .

Could you kindly make a small donation, or a large one, to support our peer support program as we move into our second quarter century? With a lot of volunteer effort over many years and wonderful support from community-minded businesses, Parents Forum is now celebrating its 25th anniversary. I cannot quite believe it, but it’s true.

The revelation came to me over a series of three meetings in London week before last. In advance of my vacation trip, planned months ago, to meet childhood friends for a mini-reunion, I had requested an opportunity to talk at Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Youth. I was invited there on a Tuesday and the meeting with staff and their ‘parent champions’ resulted in two callbacks! Parents at the Centre asked me to present again, on Thursday and Friday, and the workshops got rave reviews!

One parent wrote:

We need more emotional honesty as parents. No one is open about the difficulties of being a parent until you are already a parent. Then everyone starts being honest – once you are in the club!!

“Then there is the parenting propaganda – so many of us end up feeling guilty and like we aren’t doing our jobs as parents very well – so much pressure. We need to be honest and open about the darkness, the touch times, otherwise we can’t deal with it.

The bottom line seems to be that people now expect to find resources for free. So, we change our business model.

Instead of requesting license fees from agencies and schools, we make Parents Forum program materials available without charge both to individuals and to organizations. It will take us a few months to get this all set up, but with more volunteer effort and continuing support from community-minded businesses — special thanks to Eastern Bank in Massachusetts and Linguistic Systems in Cambridge — we should be able to do it! Stay tuned for updates.

Meantime, if you are in or near Cambridge, Mass. please join us next Monday, May 15th, on International Day of Families

for our anniversary celebration. Tickets are still available.

And, wherever you are, please take a look at this article

in the spring newsletter of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Doctors and other professionals who work directly with children and parents can do a great deal by encouraging us to get the help we need. As parents, we too often overlook our own needs!

Parent peer support is a significant resource, hiding in plain sight.