National parenting strategy: making a positive difference to children and young people through parenting

Our national parenting strategy seeks to strengthen the support on offer to parents and make it easier for them to access this support.

Section 2: Every child's right

Positive parenting isn't simply nice to have, it's every child's basic human right, as recognised by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child ( UNCRC).

The Convention clearly states the right of children to be supported by their parents as they grow and develop, and places a responsibility on parents to ensure these rights are met:

"…the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding."

It also looks to governments to play their part and the Scottish Government takes this responsibility seriously in line with our treaty obligations. There's a lot of great work to build on. Not least the National Performance Framework that sets out clear outcomes for the whole Scottish public sector to work towards, including [9] :

  • Giving our children the best start in life
  • Reducing significant inequalities in Scottish society
  • Improving the life chances of children and young people at risk, and
  • Creating strong and resilient communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others.

We also introduced the Getting it Right for Every Child ( GIRFEC) [10] approach to provide parents with a checklist of wellbeing indicators they can use as a guideline for their child's development:

Safe – protected from abuse, neglect or harm

Healthy – experiencing the highest standards of physical and mental health, and supported to make healthy safe choices

Achieving – receiving support and guidance in their learning, boosting their skills, confidence and self-esteem

Nurtured – having a nurturing and stimulating place to live and grow

Active – offered opportunities to take part in a wide range of activities, helping them to build a fulfilling and happy future

Respected – to be given a voice and involved in the decisions that affect their wellbeing

Responsible – taking an active role within their schools and communities

Included – receiving help and guidance to overcome social, educational, physical and economic inequalities; accepted as full members of the communities in which they live and learn.

At the heart of this approach is the belief that the child's network of support begins in the family with their parents. Through the National Parenting Strategy we want to ensure that Scotland's parents have the skills, knowledge and respect to provide that support with confidence.

We also have a responsibility to help those vulnerable children in families where the lack of care and support in the home may be significantly undermining their wellbeing, particularly where there is risk of neglect or abuse. Working with practitioners, we are improving the delivery of children's services across Scotland, ensuring that they are child-centred and effective while at the same time sensitive to ways of supporting parents and families meet the needs of their children. In addition, we have worked hard to ensure that services respond effectively to child protection issues when they arise.

Positive about parenting

The approach of the National Parenting Strategy is very much a proactive and positive one. We want to champion the importance of parents in Scottish society and embed children's rights and parents' responsibilities in everyday life, helping Scotland become a country which values and cherishes its children and young people, and properly supports parents in their caring, nurturing role.

We want to highlight to parents the positive impact they can have on their children now and later in life, not because of who they are, what they own or how much they can buy for their children but by the simple things they can do with their children.

And we want to ensure that the information and practical support parents want and need is easier to access, amidst a culture where asking for help is not seen as a sign of failure but as a positive action.

Failure to achieve such a culture means failing our parents, our children and in turn, their future children – something that the Scottish Government is not prepared to do and which Scotland as a whole cannot afford to do.


Back to top