7 Parenting programmes
You may have heard the comment that, unlike items such as a washing machine, babies do not arrive with an instruction manual. Professional support for parenthood is part of the antenatal care available to pregnant women, and included in antenatal care are practices that are aimed at maximising the chances of strong attachment bonds forming between the baby and parent(s).
Every child born in the UK has a health visitor assigned to them. Part of the health visitor role is to provide support and guidance to parents about their children’s health and development. Session 6 included some information about the role of the health visitor.
Despite the professional support that is available, a shortage of services in some areas and other factors can mean that some parents find parenting a challenge and would benefit from further support. An area of challenge for many parents is their children’s behaviour. Many parents struggle when their children’s behaviour is deemed to be unacceptable both by themselves and others. Support for such parents is available via parenting programmes. However, the reduction in the number of children’s centres has affected the availability of such parenting courses in many areas. Furthermore, professionals need to be careful that deficit models of parenting are not the focus of support programmes and workshops. Deficit models can make parents feel inadequate and undermine perceptions of the family as a whole system with varying strengths, weaknesses and levels of resilience.