England urged to follow Scotland’s lead in extending parenting support

Ministers are being urged to boost support for parents of teenagers in England after the Scottish government pledged to provide information and advice services to all families as part of its new parenting strategy.

The Scottish government’s national parenting strategy includes investment of £18m over the next three years to improve access to information, advice and support for parents throughout their children’s lives.

Meanwhile additional help, including a new website and £500,000 to pay for family counselling and mediation, will be provided for families going through relationship difficulties.

Pamela Park, chief executive of Parenting UK, said many of the commitments are mirrored in the Families in the Foundation Years policy statement and other documents issued by the coalition government.

But she said the Scottish strategy references the particular challenges that face parents of teenagers, and commits to making sure that information and advice is available to all parents of teenagers.

“In England, too often support for parents of teenagers is linked to discussions of the riots or youth antisocial behaviour,” Park said.

“We believe this approach is stigmatising and counterproductive – parenting support should not be seen only as a remedial action that is imposed when things go wrong, rather it is a preventative service which should be accessible to all.

“We would definitely like to see the commitment to universal information and advice for parents of teenagers replicated in England.”

The charity Parenting Across Scotland is now calling for action to put the government’s strategy into practice.

Clare Simpson, project manager at Parenting Across Scotland, said: “The strategy is the aspiration to make Scotland the best place in the world to bring up children.

“It is a joint document, made up of the views of the government, organisations that work with families and parents themselves. Now, we all need to act together to make sure it becomes a reality.”