ChildLinks Issue 1: Parenthood; Changing Roles, New Challanges

Barnardos. (2002). ChildLinks Issue 1: Parenthood; Changing Roles, New Challanges.
This edition of ChildLinks joins the campaign by exploring aspects of parenting and family life in today’s Ireland. Following the publication of the report of the Commission on the Family, Strengthing Families for Life in 1998 and major structural and policy developments in the childcare sector the focus appears to be again on the family and parenthood. Research confirms that the quality of parenting and the family environment are by far the most important contributors to children’s paths into adulthood. It makes sense, then, to target supports and interventions at parents and families. At the same time, our understanding of the nature of “family” and “parenthood” has changed and broadened from a narrow view of blood relation to one of social role. The expectation of fathers has also changed considerably bringing with it the need for adjustments among parents. Parents are now much less certain about what good parenting is and the ever increasing number of — sometimes contradictory — advice books on the shelves only contribute to this uncertainty. With all these changes and growing expectations many parents report high levels of pressure and stress. These are in many cases added to by the practical difficulties of raising children in Ireland today: lack of quality affordable childcare; poor public services; and unsafe environments. The new Family Support Agency, to be established by statute in the near future will also contribute to the developing policy and service context. Whether the agency will be allowed to play a co-ordinating role remains to be seen.