Family Lives responds to David Cameron's commitment to improve parenting

Family Lives welcomes the Prime Minister’s commitment to speeding up plans to improve parenting and for prioritising this area of work. For 30 years Family Lives has been working to support parents to do the best for their children, whatever the reasons that the parent-child relationship has started to break down.

One of the biggest reasons families contact us is because of concerns over their child’s behaviour - between June 2008 and June 2010, of 83,469 calls relating to child behaviour, 62% of callers were seeking advice about their child’s verbal aggression and 31% of calls concerned physical aggression - Worryingly, 88% of the calls concerned aggression within the home environment.

 A recent Family Lives poll found that most people felt that all parents would benefit from some form of parenting support or advice. We know that the majority of parents seek some form of antenatal support and we believe that there should be a greater emphasis on learning how to parent after your children have been born. And whilst we recognise the importance of the early years, there must also be a commitment to supporting the parents of teenagers, as a family may suddenly find that as their child reaches their teens the relationship has changed and they need a whole new set of parenting skills.

There may be many reasons why a parent does not turn up to court to support their child in facing charges. But whatever the reasons, it is clear that some intervention is needed to support that family to repair relationships and take responsibility.

Family Lives runs a campaign “Instructions Not included” that encourages people to take up parenting support, information and advice. We welcome the national debate about parenting as a positive to come out of the awful events of last week, and hope that we can have a sensible debate that avoids blaming parents, but recognises that when children have gone off the rails and parental responsibility and respect and relationships are in tatters, support is needed to help that parent regain their confidence and their authority to parent.

As a charity, we offer free services to parents in an effort to improve the lives of children and to reduce the harmful effects of poor parenting on society. There is a large and growing body of evidence connecting parenting and social outcomes such as crime, school exclusion, truancy, violence, mental health problems, low educational attainment and employment prospects. We urge people to support charities such as our own as we fight to tackle these problems by supporting good parenting.

Jeremy Todd,

Family Lives

Chief Executive