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There’s no doubt parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world – as well as the most important.

Good parenting has a huge beneficial impact on a child’s life, both in the short and long term. A child who has grown up in a loving and safe environment with positive childhood experiences is more likely to become a responsible, fulfilled adult and caring parent themself.

You may be caring for a new-born or a disabled child, dealing with a teenager or looking after a friend’s child for a few months.

Whether you are the child’s birth parent or have adopted them, you are responsible for your child’s well-being and safety until they reach adulthood. If you are fostering, the local authority is the child’s legal guardian; however, it is you who will be looking after them on a day-to-day basis and must put their needs first.

Every good parent wants the best for their child: to enjoy watching them develop from a tiny baby into a confident child who enjoys playing and being read to, and is eager to learn.

Being a parent or carer comes with responsibilities. These include providing a home for your child, maintaining them financially and protecting them. You are responsible for looking after their health needs and immunising them, ensuring they receive an education, and for their overall well-being, including any leisure activities.

Safeguarding children and young people is everyone’s business; however, parents are in a unique position when it comes to protecting them. Talk to your children about staying safe online, at home, when they meet strangers and on the roads. Make sure they know what to do if they are being bullied and urge them to tell you about any behaviour that makes them feel uncomfortable.

Parenting can be tough at times, particularly if you are still at school or college yourself, or you have to work and need to find childcare.

Some parents face additional challenges. You may be disabled, be in ill health or have additional caring responsibilities.

If you are a parent and you are struggling for whatever reason, remember there is always support out there. Contact your local Family Information Service for more information. 

Last updated: 25/02/2018