Parenting under pressure

Not all families have equal chances. In particular, children in families struggling with substance misuse, those affected by domestic abuse, and parents with mental health difficulties fare worse than others. More children are affected by a parent's imprisonment than by divorce.

Evidence shows that parents on a low income are not worse parents, but they do struggle against greater odds, and with changes to welfare benefits, the pressures on low-income families are set to increase. As well as vital universal services in the early years, families with specific difficulties may need tailored or intensive help.

The articles in this section consider the issues for, and ways of helping, families under pressure.

A positive framework for supporting parents needs to be created and concrete steps taken towards creating a more family-friendly society.

Katherine Rake, chief executive, Family and Parenting Institute, 2011