Background A safe relationship between a child and his or her close adults has a significant impact on the child’s future life. From the child’s point of view the feeling of safety is created by sensitive parenting practices, close and positive interaction and responding to child’s everyday physical and emotional basic needs. A child’s safety in close relationships can be compromised as a result of different forms of violence and neglect. Recent studies confirm that many mothers and fathers in Finland still use violent and neglectful methods in their everyday parenting. Also exposing to domestic violence is harmful to the child’s development.
Objective Kannusta minut vahvaksi! (Encourage me to grow strong) – project at The federation of mother and child homes and shelters is developing professional work in shelters, mother and child homes and their regional partners to help prevent neglect, abuse and corporal punishment. The project operates in three pilot areas (Turku, Lahti, and Oulu). The project also continues national awareness raising so that children’s right to safety and non-violent childhood can be strengthened.
Results Corporal punishment in the home has been prohibited by law for over 30 years. During these decades the attitudes against corporal punishment have successfully tightened, but the practices towards positive and encouraging parenting methods are still only developing. The professionals working with children and families need more knowledge and better practices to recognise and intervene the harmful ways and to promote the positive ways in parenting.
The project has developed various materials for the professionals to support their work and continues educating different organisations and communities and co-developing with them.
Conclusions The Finnish parents need support and guidance in safe and positive parenting and parenthood. Every professional working with children and parents should promote positive interaction and safe childhood.
- Corporal punishment
- Positive interaction
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