A large scale research project by the Royal Foundation exploring the early years (0-5) has found that parental judgements are harming mental health.
Mental health support should be offered to parents proactively and be available to those who accept it. Parental support networks, which allow for non-judgemental discussions, should be fostered. Environments which support parents should be encouraged with harmful social expectations on the ‘perfect parent’ being eradicated.
There is a scientific consensus that the 0-5 years are crucial to support life-long good physical and mental health. The brain develops more during this period and this is most accelerated in the first 18 months of life. Yet, most parents are unaware of this. This is likely to be because this development is difficult to see by parents as well as a misguided belief that they cannot influence it.
To assist with this, it might be better to describe the changes taking place in relation to social relationships and everyday experiences.
'Supporting the child starts with supporting the adult'
The majority of parents think that they are mainly responsible for their child’s emotional development.
This is different for other aspects of development, with parents more likely to think that primary schools are equally responsible for reading, writing, creativity, speaking, listening, physical skills, social skills and behaviours.
To assist with this, a greater focus on the learning and growth that takes place in the pre-school, and a recognition of the role that parents and the wider community have done to support this, would help to change perceptions.