This study is a part of a wider research project that includes several European countries. It analyzes impact of services for parents provided by the public and private sector. Good parentid skills and certain attitudes are beneficial for child development. These are dependent on numerous external factors.
Supporting parenthood attracts prejudice. Most parents avoid these services fearing it might present them as failed parents. For this reason, it is important to address services to all parents and present it rather as a tool for improving parenting skills not cutting flaws. This is particularly important with fathers, whose participation rate is far lower than that of mothers’. This might deepen a family model based on gender roles.
Economic status has a noteworthy impact on parenting abilities. Especially during recession, decrease in state aid leads to lower birth rate. This, in turn, decreases state revenues in the long term. Economically challenged families have a higher risk to remain without parental attention and for this reason fewer development opportunities. To some extent, friendly attitude and good parent-child relation compensates that. Services supporting parenting should be made more accessible and project based approach avoided.
“Majority of service providers in Estonia is project based NGOs with unstable activity”
There is a wide variety of actors providing parental support services from social workers to doctors. However, the constant circulation of specialists reduces accumulation of knowledge and skills. Therefore, adequate education and standardized objective evaluation system should gain more attention. At the moment, this is impeded by lack of initiative, economic resources and unified programs.