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 .

What the research says:

  • The quality of the parent-child relationship is associated with self-regulation and behaviour, engagement and participation, mental health, academic achievement and the ability to develop and sustain relationships over a lifetime. For example, a negative parenting style is strongly associated with aggressive behaviour, delinquency, depression, anxiety and high-risk behaviours (e.g. smoking, drug/alcohol misuse).
  • Parenting is an important mediator in redressing the effects of poverty and disadvantage.
  • A supportive home learning environment is positively associated with children’s early achievements and wellbeing and influences social mobility.
  • Warm, attentive, stimulating parenting is strongly associated with children’s positive social, emotional, cognitive and physical development. Children who have benefited from good parenting have a greater chance of succeeding in school, of getting jobs and reducing the chance of criminal behaviour.
  • Parents are key mediators in developing and supporting desirable health-related behaviours among children and addressing undesirable behaviours e.g. healthy eating and physical activity.
  • It is evident from research that changes in the family only occur if we empower parents; making decisions on their behalf will not have long-term benefits.
  • Actively involving parents in the design, delivery and evaluation of parenting supports and services through parental participation initiatives may result in better outcomes for families. It is also more likely that parents themselves will use participatory practices at home.

Adverse Childhood Experiences and Parenting Support

Research on mothers and fathers who have experienced adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) indicate that there may be 18% increase in the suspected risk of their children developing a developmental delay, particularly in the areas of problem solving and communication. The wide-ranging health and social consequences of ACEs underscores the importance of prevention.  Research also suggests that the benefits of effective prevention likely outweigh the costs of longer-term remedial interventions and deliver benefits for children, parents and wider society.

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