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What are the impacts of parenting programmes on adolescents?

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Written by Rachel Marcus

Hero image description: Young adolescent girl in Jordan flying a kite Image credit:Nathalie Bertrams/GAGE

Recognising the critical role of families in adolescents’ development and well-being, and the widening set of challenges facing adolescents today, governments and non-governmental organisations in low- and middle-income countries are increasingly implementing parenting programmes to better equip families to support healthy adolescent development. In this review, we define parenting programmes as ‘activities oriented to improving how parents approach and carry out their role as parents and to increasing parents’ child-rearing resources, including, knowledge, skills and social support’. Such programmes initially focused on the parents of young children; their expansion to parents of older children is relatively recent, and there is no synthesised analysis of their impact.

Qualitative research by the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) programme highlights the high priority that adolescents give to warm and supportive intra-family relationships, but also the extent to which they experience violence from parents and caregivers. This review aims to understand how far parenting programmes are useful tools for policy-makers and programmers aiming to promote adolescent well-being and development. It also aims to synthesise what is known about gender-differentiated effects and gendered participation in these programmes – a topic that is under-explored in the literature.

Young adolescent girl in Jordan flying a kite
Image credit:Nathalie Bertrams/GAGE
Rachel Marcus, Krista Kruja and Jenny Rivett