Rosie Cooper MP today signed up to support the new Just Ask campaign by the national charity Parentline Plus – in a bid to remove the stigma of seeking out parenting support.
The charity fears that below the surface millions of families are living with stressful situations, and keeping their anxiety private and within the family, because they are frightened about what could happen of they asked for support.
Following extensive research and consultation with hundreds of parents across the country, Parentline Plus has produced a new report ‘Parenting Behind Closed Doors’ which aims to encourage parents to see asking for help as a sign of strength.
The Just Ask campaign aims to persuade and encourage parents to use services when they need an extra helping hand, not just when things have reached crisis level.
The campaign will be used to lobby government, people working with families, and parents to ‘normalise’ parent support as it is in countries like Australia, the United States and Sweden.
“Parenting is so private and intimate that parents remain unwilling to admit publicly how difficult it can be. As a result, many feel unable to ask for help which could make significant improvements to their lives and the lives of their children.” says Dorit Braun, Chief Executive of Parentline Plus, a charity that serves as a voice for parents and provides parent to parent support.
A series of colourful postcards, leaflets and posters have also been produced carrying the message ‘Just Ask’ for support whenever you need to and the campaign is featured on the charity’s website www.parentlineplus.org.uk with messages of support for high profile people including journalists and agony aunts. There is also an opportunity for people to click in support of it.
Rosie Cooper MP said “Parenting can sometimes be a tough job and to know there is someone there to offer support and information is invaluable. I think the Just Ask campaign is a really positive step forward and will be continuing my support in 2006.”
Parentline Plus research suggests that many parents know what their children’s problems are, yet cannot access the service that they want or have to wait too long to receive it. One parent told us, “I wanted to help when he was 18 months but it was only when there was a possibility of exclusion at five that social services helped.”
However, when they do seek help, the vast majority of parents feel the benefits. One parent told us, “Parentline Plus helped build up my self-confidence and made me see I’m doing a very worthwhile and important job looking after my daughter. Now that I’ve found the way forward I can talk to her about taking responsibility for her own actions and I’m less demanding.”
Parentline Plus is now making a series of recommendations including: flexible, high quality and affordable services reflecting the needs and cultural beliefs of all parents; recognition that extended schools need the resources to be creative and innovative if they are to deliver effective support for parents; commitment to working towards a kite-marking or quality assurance scheme for all providers of parenting and family support services; an understanding that parents want to stay in control of the choices they make about their family.