Positive parenting implications for mother and fathers in risk of social exclusion
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Positive parenting. Implications for mother and fathers in risk of social exclusion. Mona Sandbaek Senior Researcher NOVA/HiO Oslo. Madrid, 14 & 15 December 2010. The Council of Europe. Parenting in contemporary Europe. A positive approach. Introduction. Mary Daly (editor)

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Positive parenting. Implications for mother and fathers in risk of social exclusion

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Positive parenting. Implications for mother and fathers in risk of social exclusion

Mona Sandbaek

Senior Researcher NOVA/HiO


Madrid, 14 & 15 December 2010

The Council of Europe

Parenting in contemporary Europe. A positive approach

Introduction. Mary Daly (editor)

Towards a vision of parenting in the best interest of the child. N. Pecnik

A non-violent upbringing of children. S. Janson

Services to support positive parentingM. Sandbaek

Support for parenting of children at risk of social exclusion. A.Abela & G. Berlioz

Parenting-an element in drug prevention. M.B.Sæther

Recommendation (2006) 19 on policy to support positive parenting

  • Keys for parents

  • Guidelines for professionals

Main points

  • Parenting in the light of new knowledge and the UN convention on the Rights of the Child

  • Guidelines for a non-violent upbringing

  • Policies to support parental practices in accordance with the UNCRC

  • Implications for mothers and fathers in risk of social exclusion

The concept“in the best interest of the child”

Parental guidance should respect

- the evolving capacities of the child,

- the views of the child,

- the right to be free from violence, neglect and humiliatingpunishment

Parents should secure children’s living conditions /if necessary with state support

The content of positive parenting

  • Creating good relationships, structures and routines, attitudes and values

  • Providing children with nurture, structure, recognition and empowerment

  • Exercise assertive but non-violent discipline

Key concepts

  • NURTURE(warmth, acceptance, involvement, support,...)

  • STRUCTURE(guidance,standards, limits and reasons...)

  • RECOGNITION(acknowledge child’s experience and views)

  • EMPOWERMENT(enhance the evolving capacities of the child and its increasing sense of autonomy)

Authoritative parenting

  • Warm and involved

  • Consistent in establishing and enforcing guidelines, limits and developmentally appropriate expectations

  • Allowing and promoting autononomous behaviour and decision making

Children’s views on positive parenting

Consultation with 22 young people (13-18) and their parents – from 19 countries. (2005)

Different views also among children

They presented their views to the Conference for European Family Ministers 2006

Content of positive parenting according to children

  • The importance of being loved and cared for

  • A cultural climate of mutual understanding

  • They accepted and requested parental guidance and boundaries, but in a non-violent way (CoE 2007: Views on positive parenting and non-violent upbringing).

Physical harm Violation of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration on Human Rights of 1948

The European Social Charter, art 17,and the revised Social Charter 2001

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

National legislation

The Risk of a Violent Upbringing

Biological Consequences of Violence

Psychological and Social Consequencesof Violence

Promote children’s external attributions/causes aggression, delinquency and antisocial behaviour/close link between corporal punishment and physical abuse

Seven Practices of Discipline that Promote the Child’s Dignity

Respect of the child’s dignity

Develop pro-social behaviour, self discipline and character

Maximise the child’s active participation

Respect the child’s developmental needs and quality of life

Respect the child’s motivation and views

Assure fairness and transformative justice

Promote solidarity (S.Janson 2007)

Strategies to Help Children learn Positive Behaviours

Providing regular positive attention and communicate this to children of all ages

Listening carefully to children and helping them to express their feelings

Helping children to learn how to evaluate the potential consequences of choices

Reinforcing desirable behaviours with praise and ignoring trivial misdeeds


  • Modelling orderly, predictable behaviour, respectful communication, and collaborative conflict resolution strategies

Measures needed to support parents


    - Public transfers and taxation

    - Regulations for reconciling work and family life

    - Childcare facilities

  • ENSURING ACCESS TO DIVERSE SERVICES- Continuum; informal, semi-formal and form

Main Trends in Services for Families and Children

  • Local centres, closer to people

  • Educational programmes for parents and children

  • Services and programmes targeting populations at risk

  • Child protection services

  • Institutions protecting children’s rights

Values to include parents and children

Non-judgmental and non-stigmatising orientation

A bottom-up approach

Treating parents and children as partners

Multi-focused and flexible services

Integrated, community based services

Inclusive of the experience of minority and ethnic groups

Children’s living conditions- the importance of family finances

  • Universal transfers and services

  • Targeted economic support and services

  • A child perspective on services for adults

  • Measures safe-guarding children’s rights to participation, in particular a free school and access to leisure activities

Parenting in situations of social exclusion

  • Access to social rights, income, employment, housing, education and health

  • Reaching out to the families in their homes and providing long-term support

  • Considering the families in their context


  • Providing them with good quality services

  • Building a trustworthy relationship and enabling them to regain control of their own lives, avoiding stigmatising practices

  • Training for parents and professionals together

  • Ensuring professionals competence and co-operation

Reaching out to professionals

  • Childcare, schools and after-school facilities, health services and leisure activities

  • Co-operation between service providers

  • Co-operation between professionals and parents

Overall principles in Rec (2006) 19






Council of Europe recommends that governments

  • …………………………create the necessary conditions for positive parenting in the best interests of the child

  • Take all appropriate legislative, administrative, financial and other measures…………………(CoE’s Recommendation (2006) 19)

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