Family Lives calls for greater awareness of parent support services to lessen burden on health and education professionals

Latest research from Family Lives finds that far from feeling threatened by a nanny state intruding on family life, 90% of parents believe that all parents could benefit from parenting information and advice.

On July 18th to coincide with the government vision of the foundation years in Supporting Families in the Foundation Years, the charity Family Lives launches ‘Instructions Not Included’ to encourage parents and adult carers to access proven and effective parenting services and to support one another via volunteering and befriending opportunities.  

The charity is calling for parents and other family members to engage with ‘Instructions Not Included’ to improve their own confidence, resilience, and abilities to help themselves and other parents,  thereby preventing the escalation of parenting problems and to enable the charity to reach out and support families.

The launch of ‘Instructions Not Included’ coincides with research* from the charity which found that:

  • 66% would access parenting support via GP Practice and nearly 53% would access support via their child’s school.90% of respondents stated that they believed parents would benefit from advice and information on effective ways of coping with their child’s behaviour, and other common parenting problems.
  • 79% of respondents felt that currently there is too little reliable information on parenting.
  • Although 78% felt that accessing parenting support was now more socially acceptable than in the past, 61% had not sought support for a parenting problem for fear of not being able to cope.
  • 61% felt the stigma of being seen as not being able to cope was a barrier to accessing services.

Jeremy Todd, Chief Executive, Family Lives said: 

“We welcome the government’s publication today of Supporting Families in the Foundation Years and in particular its ambition to put parents and families at the heart of services. Our survey results launched today show that parents and families really want more information, advice and support in all aspects of parenting, across all age ranges not just those vital early years. We are looking forward to working with parents, families and the wider sector around improving the access and take up of parenting support across all ages, stages and backgrounds. We believe our Instructions Not Included campaign and work programme, with its emphasis on peer support, engagement with key health, education and early years practitioners, will contribute to the government’s aim of identifying and understanding effective practice in family support”.  

With 27.6% and 22.3% of respondents stating that they had visited their family GP and child’s school with family problem respectively; the charity is keen to increase the number of appropriate referrals by key gateway practitioners - such as GP Practices and Schools - to family support services and to ensure a sustainable model of volunteer-led befriending parent and family support within local community settings, with a particular focus on Children’s Centres.

‘Instructions Not Included’ aims to promote best practice and learning through the use of the volunteers in family support, increase confidence and resilience and efficacy in parenting and achieve a greater sense of increased wellbeing and better levels of mental health reported amongst parents and families.