The home front

Parenting is increasingly important in public policy. A growing evidence base confirms our intuitions: parents play a key role in shaping children’s life chances. But socioeconomic and environmental circumstances can shape and influence parents’ approaches for better and worse. Understanding these circumstances is key to supporting parents better.

The Home Front debunks popular perceptions of a decline in parenting ability that attribute blame to certain types of families. It shows that what can be learned about family life externally – family structure, household income, educational qualifications and so on – does not always align with the reality of day-to-day family life. Policymakers must use the evidence and resources available to identify the families most in need of support.

In this pamphlet, researchers go behind closed doors to observe the lived experiences of families today. Through indepth, ethnographic case studies of families, nationally
representative polling and policy review and analysis, we develop policies to ease the pressures on parents. The Home Front recommends building the parenting skills base, targeting support according to need, applying the early intervention principle beyond the early years and supporting shared parenting, social networks and communities. Parents shoulder a great deal of responsibility for the life chances of the next generation. Better support for parents means sharing out that responsibility.