Research results

The first analyses show that one of the results of the bottom-up parenting programme Youth of Today! is that it allows parents to form a semi-formalised learning community. Through collective reflection and critical dialogue parents negotiate the meaning of their parenting practices. Through the confrontation of parenting ideas and practices from multiple perspectives in the training, parents discover both new practices, but are also given the chance to experiment with new meanings.

Although parents report to continue to experience parenting as difficult after participation in the programme, they also report to become increasingly aware of their practices and to have expanded their parenting repertoire. Examples are the use of new family communication skills, conscious self-regulation of emotions and the re-interpretation of parenting practices. Moreover, parents report a raised awareness concerning their own learning potential and that of others, playing a more active support role in their social networks. This result shows how this learning community also reaches beyond the programme setting into parents’ social networks more broadly.