“Parenting Support refers to a range of information, support, education, training and counselling. There are also other measures or services that focus on influencing how parents understand and carry out their parenting role” (Daly, M,. 2012).

The concept of parenting support has evolved considerably in recent years and is understood in various ways. For the purposes of this group, parenting support refers to practice approaches, services and interventions that:

  • Empower parents by developing parenting confidence and competence;
  • Enable parents to foster optimal child wellbeing and development outcomes through knowledge of children’s development and of parenting skills/competencies.
  • Increase enjoyment and satisfaction of parenting.

Such practice approaches, services and interventions may be provided in a range of ways, by a spectrum of different practitioners and at varying levels of structure and formality.

Why Parenting Support Matters

There is considerable evidence, both nationally and internationally, of the importance of effective parenting in generating outcomes for children and young people, as well as for their parents and society.

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Outcomes from Investing in Parenting Support

Research across the world has indicated that there are numerous short, medium and longer-term outcomes from investing in appropriate, effective and timely ways in parenting support including:

Positive outcomes for Children:

  • Stronger child/parent bonding and attachment
  • Improved social, emotional and cognitive outcomes
  • Better health outcomes (e.g. reduction in childhood obesity)
  • Enhanced self-esteem
  • Greater resilience and school readiness
  • More positive outcomes in later life across a range of psychosocial dimensions attributable to confident, competent adults.

Positive outcomes for Parents:

  • Stronger family relationships
  • Better mental and emotional health
  • Better socio-economic prospects
  • More active community participation
  • Greater knowledge about their child’s development
  • A more supportive home learning environment
  • Increased understanding of the importance of play and interaction with their children.

Benefits for Society

  • Reduced health and social costs
  • More effective use of resources
  • Productive, well educated workforce
  • Reduction of inequalities
  • Promoting Active Citizenship
  • Developing human and social capital
  • Improved cross-departmental and cross-sectoral co-operation
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