Next week is National Parenting Week and to coincide with it a new initiative to strengthen family relationships and reduce separation rates among first-time parents is being launched by family charity Care for the Family.
The ‘Let’s Stick Together’ campaign will be the UK’s first high access national programme of preventative relationship education. It aims to reduce the number of family breakdowns by reaching new parents in the early years of family life when most breakdowns occur. The sessions will teach key relationship-building principles and will be delivered to participants free of charge via postnatal clinics, using a national network of trained volunteers.
With more than 50% of parents who separate doing so within three years of having a baby I’ve always wondered why there isn’t more emphasis on relationship education in the UK. SRE (sex and relationship education) in schools seem to regularly forget the relationship part of the equation. Meaning that many teens grow up knowing about contraception but rarely how to manage a relationship.
One friend tells me that in many European countries all couples have to have relationship counselling before getting married. This enables them to look at their expectations, good and bad habits to see whether they are in conflict before getting married. It’s such a great idea I don’t know why they don’t do it over here. Which is why I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the programme, which is running pilot schemes across the UK, will be successful and get some funding so it can be rolled out across the whole of the UK.
What do you think would help first time parents stick together? Out reach projects like this? More local support or simply more openness about how stressful life can be with small children? Let me know.