Parenting - early years to teenage years

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'Spending money on supporting parents and carers to give their children the best start in life has economic benefits beyond reducing crime.'

John Carnochan, detective chief superintendent, co-director, Violence Reduction Unit

The early years have received considerable attention as a critical time in child development and a vital intervention point for improving children's lives. Investing in the early years pays considerable dividends later on.

While the early years can be difficult for parents, the teenage years throw up their own problems, and many parents struggle to manage.

Writers in this section look at the importance of these times in a child's life; the research findings; and effective approaches to parenting and family support.

A generational change in early years provision?

Tam Baillie proposes the need for a national approach to achieve a generational change for Scotland's children. This would involve developing universal services such as health visiting to effectively identify children who need additional support; improving the approach to supporting parents; and deciding which parenting programmes should be available.

Why invest in the pre-school years?

Phil Wilson argues that pre-school influences shape children's social, physical and emotional development and that evidence shows that wise investment to improve outcomes for pre-school children can pay a rich social dividend.

Growing up in Scotland: what research tells us about parenting young children

Paul Bradshaw and Lesley Kelly describe the Growing Up in Scotland study which is providing new, unique information about the lives of children and their families and the influences on and of different parenting approaches, attitudes and behaviours.

Ensuring safe and nurturing care

Matt Forde argues that the child protection system is failing many children who desperately need help and looks at how the national parenting strategy can provide a radical rethink.

Maternal mental health and parenting

Louise Marryat discusses the impact of maternal mental health on parenting behaviour and hopes that introducing a universal health check in the early years will allow health professionals to identify more women who need extra help to allow them to become the best parents they can be.

Preventing teenage homelessness: mediating between teenagers and their parents

Emma Dore describes the role of mediation and its effectiveness in preventing homelessness.

Parenting teenagers: relationships and behaviour

Karen Mountney asks what research can tell us about parenting teenagers to help inform voluntary and public sector agencies service planning.