The Children’s Society is calling for a radical new approach to childhood in which children’s well-being is placed at the heart of everything we do as a society. The Good Childhood Report 2012 is the first of a planned series of annual reports that will monitor and describe the subjective well-being of children and is based on joint research by The Children’s Society and the University of York. It reveals that positive, loving and stable relationships are critical to a child’s sense of well-being and happiness. Catholic parishes and schools have been actively engaged in providing for children’s well-being in this way by offering community-based courses in which parents can learn and practice the skills of respectful family communication.
Family ministry and social action coordinators in Cardiff, East Anglia, Hallam, Leeds, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Shrewsbury and Wrexham currently promote parenting programmes and train facilitators as part of a long term investment in strengthening families and forming their faith in God. One parent told us “My husband and I were able to attend a course together and it has had positive effects, personally and spiritually, on our relationship as co-parents, and on the children and the family unit as a whole.” Another said, “My children are both telling me they love me more often. The changes in my behaviour and theirs has contributed to this.” Joanne White, Cardiff Archdiocese’s Parenting Support Worker explained, “Parents gain so much from talking to each other in an environment that is supportive. They feel better equipped to manage difficulties with children and crisis points are no longer reached because parents have strategies to tackle problems that may have seemed overwhelming before.”