New report highlights parental worries
Low self-esteem, unhappiness and bullying are among the major worries parents have for their children, says a new report from Spurgeons, which urges government, charities, schools and GPs to respond
Almost half of parents worry their children have low self-esteem/are unhappy (46 per cent) or are being bullied (46 per cent)* according to a report published on Wednesday (5 July 2017), and not enough is being done to help.
The Parent Report, produced by the charity Spurgeons, which has been working with disadvantaged and vulnerable children for 150 years, paints a picture of a society in which youngsters are struggling, parents are increasingly anxious, and there is little support for the many families that need it.
The research among parents with children under the age of 18 shows:
One in five (20 per cent) young parents (aged 18-24) worry about the prospect of their child self-harming or feeling suicidal*
42 per cent of parents think there is little to no support available from statutory, community or voluntary services to help with family challenges like divorce and conflict, and the number is highest amongst parents who are separated or divorced (56 per cent)
Only a third (34 per cent) of parents have ever used a support group or social care service for their children
Only one in 10 (10 per cent) would turn to a children’s charity for support on any issues affecting their children
Parents are more concerned that their children are satisfied with their life (62 per cent) than have a steady income (17 per cent) or own their own home (8 per cent)**
The Parent Report, produced to mark Spurgeons’ 150th anniversary, looks at parents’ hopes and aspirations for their children, as well as their concerns and where they turn for help.
Spurgeons Chief Executive Ross Hendry said, 'This research shows that parents of all ages and backgrounds are concerned for their children. And many of the most vulnerable are struggling the most. This is true across society.
'But for youngsters facing challenges, who are caring for a relative or who have a parent in prison, it’s much worse. These are the families we work with, day in, day out and the need for services like ours is increasing.
'What’s important is that families get the support they need when they need it. The good news is that there is support out there, through a range of different organisations and services.
'But it is clear that we must all - government, charities, schools and GPs included - do more to let people know where they can turn, and for what support, so every child can look to the future with a sense of hope.'
Emma Grech (29) from Wiltshire is mum to four year-old Theo. They came across Spurgeons when Theo was having problems with his behaviour, but it took three years to get the support they needed. She said, 'As a parent, the thought of your child being unhappy or having low self-esteem is your worst nightmare.
'Having been bullied myself I know it’s something that affects you throughout your life. Theo was starting pre-school but struggled to socialise, he wet himself regularly, and I worried he would be picked on by other children. My GP referred me to a health visitor, but after four cancelled appointments I turned to Theo’s pre-school for help. They sent me to the Spurgeons run Children’s Centre.
'Now we go to the Little Learners group where we play with other families and my support worker helps me with techniques for managing Theo’s behavior, which has improved already. She also got a referral to see if he has ADHD. Spurgeons was there when I had nowhere else to turn and because of their help I’m less anxious and more hopeful about Theo’s future.'
* When asked about the three issues they are most concerned about for their children, either now or in the future.
** When asked about the three biggest hopes/ aspirations they had for their child(ren)’s future.
Download the Parent Report at www.spurgeons.org.
Spurgeons is one of the UK's leading children's charities, supporting children and families affected by social disadvantage. In the last year, it delivered over 80 services, coming into contact with over 37,000 children and 64,000 parents or carers. Over 3.9 million children are living in poverty in the UK today, with around 400,000 classed by child protection services as being in need.
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