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The Parent Report 2018

One in 10 parents feel out of their depth all or most of the time

Children’s charity Spurgeons warns of ‘parenting crisis’ as cuts reduce support

One in 10 (12%) of all British parents with children aged 18 and under feel out of their depth all or most of the time, according to new research commissioned by Spurgeons Children’s Charity.

The online YouGov poll reveals parents’ main concerns about their children’s lives with 43% worried about their children getting into a physically or mentally abusive relationship; over a third (35%) were worried about them self-harming. A further 30% of parents of children aged 18 and under were worried about their children getting involved in gang activity.

The Parent Report, produced annually by the charity, which has been working with vulnerable children for over 150 years, paints a picture of a society in which parents are struggling to cope and have little support.

Over a third (37%) of those polled say there’s not enough support for parents to help with family challenges like conflict, divorce and abuse. Over half (55%) of parents say they are aware of financial cuts to support services in their area in the last five years in services such as children’s centres (38%), play activities (34%), support with disabilities or Special Educational Needs (29%) and antenatal and postnatal services (22%).

As a direct result of cuts to services, more than one in 10 feel less confident as a parent (11%) or have not been able to care as well for their child(ren) (6%).

Spurgeons’ Deputy Chief Executive, Paul Ringer, says:

“Our research backs up what we already know: that many families are feeling overwhelmed and affected by rapidly shrinking support services. This ‘parenting crisis’ is bad for families from all backgrounds, but it’s even worse for the most vulnerable in society. These are the families we work with, day in, day out and the need for services like ours is increasing.

Any one of us could end up in a position where we need help from services like ours; and we have seen more and more of this happening in the current economic climate. It’s vital that families get the support they need, when they need it. With the right help, parents can be the solutions to the challenges their children face. Supporting and empowering parents is key – so they know where to turn, so every child, particularly those who are struggling at home, are caring for a relative or have a parent in prison, can look to the future with a sense of hope.”

Delroy, from Peterborough is a single parent of two children, Curtis (12) and Delisha (10). Both children have Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and experience associated behavioural and emotional issues. Delroy gained full custody of them six years ago, following neglect from their mum, due to her drink and drug misuse.

Delroy was put in touch with a Spurgeons support worker through his children’s school when he was struggling to get support. She helps him with paperwork relating to his children and to navigate aspects of family life.

Delroy says:

“There have been lots of times when I’ve wanted to give up, when it has just all been too much and I’ve felt out of my depth. I think a lot of parents feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to turn to for help. It’s hard, but when you have someone encouraging you and pushing you forward, you can go far. No one is going to do it for you so I’m doing the best I can for my children, as a dad.

“Spurgeons have made a big difference, helping me to support my children better. They understand our situation and are there when I need them. It’s not been easy but with Spurgeons’ support, things have improved, and the future is looking brighter.”

Be the light for a child this Christmas

For vulnerable children and families Christmas can be a time of year where life’s burdens weigh heavy.

4.1 million children wake up in poverty every day in the UK. That’s 9 children in every classroom of 30.

By making a donation this Christmas of £15 you can shine a light of hope into the lives of more children and families.

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