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Parenting Support Policy in Finland: Responsibility and Competence as Key Attributes of Good Parenting in Parenting Support Projects

  • Ella Sihvonen (a1)
Abstract

In Finland, parenting-related anxiety increased in the 1990s during a deep economic recession and subsequent widespread cutbacks to family services. Despite these cutbacks, resources allocated to services underlining the role of parents – namely, parenting support – increased, manifesting in the establishment of family support projects in the 2000s. Employing positioning theory and pragmatic modalities, I explore how key attributes of good parenting – responsibility and competence – are discussed within family support projects (n = 310). Given discussions regarding the relationship between parenting-related anxiety and the increasing number of parenting-related experts, this article explores parents’ positions within such discussions and overall parenting support in Finland. The analysis of projects clarifies the role of the parenting-related experts, but also provides a nuanced view of the position of parents. In some projects, for instance, parents are positioned as experts whose parenting responsibilities and competence are strengthened within peer-parent relationships and shared within the surrounding community.

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Social Policy and Society
  • ISSN: 1474-7464
  • EISSN: 1475-3073
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