Stigma-free support needed for parents


Millions of families are living with stressful situations but are too frightened to ask for help, Parentline Plus has warned.


The parenting support charity has launched a new campaign aimed at encouraging and persuading parents to use services when they need a helping hand, and not to see them as something only to be accessed when things reach breaking point.


Parenting Plus plans to use evidence it has collected from hundreds of parents across the country – which reveals widespread concern about being labelled a “bad parent” if you ask for help – to lobby government and people working with families and children in a bid to “normalise” parent support.


“Parenting support needs to be freely available and not just when things go wrong or when the government deems that a child has behaved in such a negative way that parents must be punished as a result,” explained chief executive Dorit Braun.


“Parenting is so private and intimate that parents remain unwilling to admit publicly how difficult it can be. As a result, many feel unable to ask for help which could make significant improvements to their lives and the lives of their children.”


The charity’s research suggests, however, that when parents do seek help the vast majority feel the benefits. They are calling for flexible and affordable services that reflect the needs and cultural beliefs of all parents, and for an understanding of the need for this support to be independent and confidential.


Parentline Plus also wants a commitment from the government that extended schools will have the necessary resources to be creative and innovative enough to deliver effective support for parents.


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