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Month: May 2021

Parenting skills in the focus

Global Day of Parents 2021 message by Parents International

The Global Day of Parents is celebrated on 1 June every year since 2012. The observance of the day emphasises the critical role of parents in the upbringing of children and recognizes – as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – that the family has the primary responsibility for the nurturing and protection of children. This year, the UN focuses on good workplace practices and family-friendly working conditions. While on the International Day of Families, just two weeks ago, the main message was about the empowerment needs of parents, on this occasion Parents International wishes to highlight what competences are already present, a much neglected and un-utilised topic: parenting skills that can be of high value for employers. With the past year’s restrictions millions of people losing employment partially or totally, and thus stay-at home parents facing an inevitable decision to join the labour market, these skills are to be highlighted, celebrated and recognised to provide better income, especially for people with no or lower formal qualifications. This is essential to pursue the main global goal of children’s well-being. The recognition of parenting skills has been a focal topic for parents’ organisations and Parents International. This is why we have joined European initiatives, the Pact for Skills and the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition in the field hoping that we can create a model for other geographic areas, too.

global day of parents

Parenting is one of the most complex activities of people and also a job most people do at some point in their lives. Research and experience show that parents gain a lot of knowledge, skills and competences through parenting in different walks of life, some specific, some transversal. By raising awareness of these skills, supporting their development as well as the recognition and validation of skills, we can create an opportunity for people to use their parenting skills in the labour market. This is beneficial for people who wish to change their career paths as well as low skilled adults. Parents are raising their children in the digital age, and this experience offers a rich basis for skills and competence development for a digital reality, too. By bringing together work we have been doing in different projects and initiatives, we have created a complex pledge about parenting skills for digital skills and jobs.

Parents International is a global network of organisations and professionals offering an evidence base and connected tools, practices and support for better parenting. We have worked in this field already a lot, one our key activities being the recognition, validation and utilisation of parenting skills.

When delivering on our pledge, being an international membership organisation, we are developing tools (in this case self-assessment and training/coaching/mentoring ones), and train and coach multipliers in our membership and beyond. Our aim for supporting labour market utilisation of these skills is to bring together the expertise of Parents International, VET providers and employers in order to define a methodology for recognising the skills that parents have in order to facilitated (re)integration into the labour market using the EU Skills Profile for Third Country Nationals.

We already have a highly successful ongoing project that we are using as a starting point and model: ParENTrepreneurs. While it focuses on a special collection of skills, the entrepreneurial ones, and the project itself is not aiming for labour market integration, we need to highlight that most of these skills are essential for successful employment. Its focus is to support parents and caregivers in developing their own and their child’s entrepreneurial mindset and skills; especially, a sense of initiative, self-awareness and self-efficacy, creativity, and developing a growth mindset. The project is built on an evidence-based competence framework footed on the EntreComp that outlines entrepreneurship as a competence where entrepreneurship is understood as value creation where the benefit may be financial but may also be cultural or social.

ParENTrepreneurs is aiming at offering a complex and context-sensitive solution to help parents as the primary (not only first, but also most impacting) educators of their children develop their educator skills to raise resilient children. For this, the project consortium has identified parents’ entrepreneurial competence development as a pre-requisite so that parents educate in areas they are competent in.

Building on the cornerstone of society, the family, a new vision for entrepreneurship is created by a ParENTrepreneurs, making new generations of parents as educators aware of the “entrepreneurial way” for their own future careers as well as that of their children, and of the need to be proactive in life. By the built-in validation procedure employers as well as the adult education and VET sectors and trainers in these fields awareness of skills and competences of educators acquired informally and non-formally.

On the Global Day of Parents we wish that the major contribution of parents to society is recognised in as many ways as possible, including the recognition and celebration of the multitude of skills – from education to health care, from financial management to counselling – any parent gains naturally while bringing up our children.

Parents First – the way forward in the digital age

International Day of Families 2021 message by Parents International

A year ago, Parents international published a global action plan for the post-covid era. Although in many countries, restrictions are still in place, we are working even harder on going back to our old normal with some changes that benefit our children more. As every year, we celebrate the International Day of Families on 15 May that now focuses on the well-being of families and the impact of new technologies on this. The United Nations has also acknowledged in its annual message the need for governments to shift their focus to empowering parents, the primary educators of their children. Thus, we have even more reason to celebrate this important day in 2021 hoping that the approach we have been promoting, focusing on parents first and foremost will become mainstream in policy and practice. We are using this opportunity to highlight some achievements and also to call the attention to some challenges that need our attention as well as the attention of policy makers in the coming years.

The focus on new technologies and their impact on families’ well-being is accompanied by another important act by the United Nations. General Comment No. 25 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has just been published. This General Comment is a major step in acknowledging child rights in the online world, finally moving in the direction Parents International has advocated for many years. The document stops focusing on the risks only, and highlights children’s civil rights and freedoms, including rights to privacy, non-discrimination, peaceful assembly, education, play and weights them against the right to protection. It also highlights very clearly the rights and duties of parents in this field being primarily responsible for protecting all these rights as well as providing supportive guidance. This is a major step, and we at Parents International are proud we were contributors to this General Comment.

Digital technologies became part of daily life for millions of families more than they had been before lockdowns and school closures although there are huge inequalities in access to technology and services. As we have seen from research done at various points of the past more than a year, families clearly see the benefits of using them, but are also very careful to see a healthy balance between traditional and digital means in education, communication, work, play, and other fields of life. It has also become clear that well-being largely depends on developing various competences of both children and adults – parents and professionals alike -, for example critical thinking, active participation, collaboration, self-care, resilience and civic activism if necessary. These are the areas that initiatives referenced by the UN annual message should focus.

Parents International is ready to share our knowledge, experience and methodologies for trainings, coaching and mentoring by professionals as well as peers who also need to be empowered for that, while we are eager to learn from others. As part of fulfilling our call for action #ParentsFirst – #NewEducationDeal we have continued developing trainings for parents and for professionals working with them. We believe – contrary to what the UN message is implying – that especially for parents with challenging backgrounds there must be ways of improving their parenting skills in face-to-face rather than online environments, while the benefits of digital technologies can still be exploited to a certain extent. We still need to focus on training the professionals who can then in turn train and empower hundreds or thousands of parents each. In this spirit, during the last year we have partnered up with various initiatives and institutions from India to Europe, from Jordan to the United States of America, and will continue to widen this network. One of our partners, the HundrED community is currently evaluating parenting support initiatives, and we are proud to be on the expert jury for that. We have also teamed up with UN experts and subsequently digital technology providers for better education provisions. We have pledged for putting parenting skills in the limelight not only at international days and similar initiatives, but also by showing the multitude of them and their value even for the labour market.

In the past year, we have highlighted various areas where parents were left alone and governments – as well as other branches of power – have miserably failed. It is high time for centres of power to evaluate, ask for forgiveness, and start collaborating with and relying on parents. On the International Day of Families 2021, we are asking governments, intergovernmental institutions, school leaders, teachers, professionals and also the general public to acknowledge that parents are key to a future for our children that they enjoy at the highest level of well-being possible.