New National parenting strategy in North Macedonia promotes positive parenting and strong intersectoral collaboration
Skopje, 23 December 2022: Providing support to parents means protecting the right of children to grow up in a safe and caring family environment full of love. At the same time, positive parenting contributes to the development of human capital, prosperity and security of the country.
The National Parenting Strategy 2022-2030, developed for the first time in North Macedonia, seeks to turn that aspiration into practical action – by recognizing the importance of parenting, by strengthening the support to parents and by making it easier for families to access that support.
It builds on positive parenting principles – a method of positive, empowering, and consistent practices, on developing a strong, deeply committed relationship between parent and child based on communication, realistic expectation, non-violent discipline and mutual respect.
Together with practical tips and guidance on positive parenting and nurturing caregiving, the strategy looks at providing mental health and well-being support to parents and caregivers. Being the single biggest influence on child’s life - caregiver, role model and teacher – every parent needs to feel confident but also reassured to know that help is available when needed.
The main components of the proposed National Parenting Strategy were presented in December 2022 to professionals in the area of social services, health, education, civil society and academia. Under the leadership of the Minister of Labor and Social Policy, they met to review the proposed new parenting strategy and opened discussion on systemic strengthening of services for parents and caregivers.
A comprehensive consultation process preceded this event. In the course of 2022 at the consultation workshops, practitioners from the social welfare, education, health, local government, and civil society sectors shared experience and provided recommendations, in order to contribute to the development of this document.
The strategy is not starting from scratch; it builds on existing parenting programmes – including education programmes, home visiting services, helplines, community services and digital tools. It reviews the need for expansion of the existing services by ensuring equity approach in making support available to all parents and families with children. It also looks at diversified services for families facing challenges and requiring long-term support, and on investment in new parenting programmes and policies. To make this happen the strategy identifies the need for human and financial resources and for improved skills of professionals to promote positive parenting techniques.
By bringing together all these segments under one shared agenda, the proposed National Parenting Strategy aims to create support network for parents and caregivers in what can, at times, be a difficult role, especially for young parents and families in vulnerable situations.
This initiative is part of a broader regional project to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of children and families in the Western Balkans and Turkey, funded by the Delegation of European Union and supported by UNICEF in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Health.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.mk.