Author: Eve Sullivan of the Parents Forum, December 3 2015 - Because our instinct to put children first is strong, we often ignore our own needs as parents. Even the Sustainable Development Goals, several of which* relate to family, do not mention parents or parenting. When will policymakers, practitioners - when will we all - recognize parenting and family life education as our collective blind spot?
If we want our children to become responsible and courageous, as Pope Francis calls on us all to be in the face of serious global challenges, we must make changes at every level of government and throughout society to increase parenting resources. Parent peer support is the key to success in making these changes.
It is really up to us, as parents, to recognize our own needs and to advocate for the resources we need. If we do not, the many excellent parenting programs around the world 'languish on the vine'.
Our call, in short:
Parenting and family life education shall be provided as essential and universally accessible offerings to support our common interest: improving individual and community wellbeing.
Our call, the long form:
Parenting and family life education shall be provided by government agencies, corporate entities and civil society organizations - within health care, mental and behavioral health, educational and workforce programming - as essential and universally accessible offerings. Such services, promoted consistently by positive media campaigns, will foster intergenerational solidarity, promote social and economic equity and counteract the deep-rooted, pervasive violence in many communities, all to support our common interest: improving individual and community wellbeing.
This initiative was one of 838 entries submitted for consideration in the Solutions Summit organized by the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service and held September 27  at the UN in New York. So many good ideas, so little time!
Please let us hear from you if you think parenting and parenting education should be a high priority!
*Of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, these five, as I see it, directly relate to family:
3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
...to each of the above, let me add "starting at home"!
Image credit: Our Starting Point
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