Why It Matters

Why It Matters

Parents who parent by intention, or those who parent by inattention, are both parenting by examples that their children will ultimately emulate, and carry into their communities.

Responsible Parenting Matters For Families

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Empirical findings indicate that parents, as the child’s primary caregiver, have the most influence on their social development. Parental misbehavior and a lack of appropriate parenting skills (such as: poor supervision, rejection, or harsh and inconsistent discipline) can increase a child’s risk for delinquency and other social and behavioral problems. And the repetition of social ills is caused, in large part, by children who ultimately emulate the ineffective behaviors of their parents.

Ineffective parenting also inhibits the development of parental attachment, breaking the bond with society and separating individuals from the internal controls that discourage criminal behavior. Ineffective parenting causes children to be impulsive, defiant, physical, and risk-taking, and often leads to poor family functioning.

794,000 children ages 0-17 were abused and neglected in 2007. 79.9% of the cases of child abuse and neglect reported to DCF were due to parental abuse and neglect.
56.5% of child abuse and neglect perpetrators were women. 42.4% were men. 45% of the perpetrators were women under the age of 30. 34.5% were men under the age of 30.

On the other hand, parents who parent effectively, providing their children with:

    • supervision and monitoring,
    • support,
    • positive discipline,
    • respect,
    • advocacy and pursuit of needed information, and
    • a strong tie of affection

are likely to be rewarded with children less likely to become involved with antisocial peers and in delinquent behavior, because this parenting behavior buffers the child against problem behaviors.

Responsible Parenting Matters For Communities

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The breakdown of the parent-child relationship is closely linked to a host of critical social issues:

    • poverty,
    • out-of-wedlock births,
    • crime,
    • father absenteeism,
    • lack of child well-being,
    • health issues, and
    • risky behavior.

If more children were raised by parents using effective parenting skills, we would see a significant reduction in a host of the social ills afflicting children in the United States, from school failure and crime to child neglect and abuse.

As a matter of fact:

    • 3.2 million cases of child abuse and neglect were investigated by U.S. child protective services (CPS) agencies in 2007
    • More than 11,500 children are in foster care in Indiana.
    • Teen pregnancy, after years of decline, is on the rise again
    • Youth crimes, incarcerations, and system recidivism are at an all-time high
    • Student dropout rates, though abating in sections of the country, are on the increase in others
    • Between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away from home in a year

Parenting education has been shown to prevent child maltreatment, school dropout, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, breakdown of the family structure, and neighborhood deterioration.

Parents who parent by intention, and use effective and nurturing techniques and strategies, bring up wholesome, healthier, and happier children – who in turn bring up their children in this way – thus breaking the generational cycle of neglect, abuse, and inappropriate parenting that is the source of societal ills.

Responsible Parenting Matters For Business

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For business leaders concerned about the quality of the future workforce and the communities in which they live, promoting responsible parenting is a good investment.

Our entire nation’s economic health and societal wellbeing are significantly enhanced when parents have the skills to help their children start school prepared to learn, to develop the social skills necessary to pay attention and to work in teams, and to grow up to be productive adults.

Rather than promoting a legal status as the bridge to better childhood experiences and well-being, I would rather see an initiative that promotes responsible parenting regardless of the legal relationship of the parents. The Responsible Parenting Campaign of the Indiana Parenting Institute is a paradigm of what I think would better serve children than an effort to impose a legal status upon parents…

Stuart Showalter, Child Custody Advisor to Indiana policymakers
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