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Best Practice in Supporting Parents of Teenagers

The Policy Research Bureau (PRB) has been funded by the Department for Education and Skills to provide policy makers and practitioners with evidence based pointers to assist them in developing provision of services giving advice, information and guidance to parents of teenager

What does the research focus on?
The aims of this study are:

  • To identify the nature and degrees of need expressed by parents of teenage children for advice services. We will seek to clarify what parents (and providers) see as the needs of parents of teenagers, identify why and when parents seek support and advice and the range of need for information advice and guidance (IAG) required by parents.
  • To identify what constitutes effective practice in the provision of information and support services to the parents of teenage children. We will examine and evaluate current provision, explore parents' perceptions and attitudes towards current provision, identify what influences the quality of supply and explore what is needed by parents of teenagers where specific issues are present and identify gaps in provision.

What does the research involve?
Phase One: Reviewing and Scoping
A reviewing and scoping exercise will be carried out in two stages. The first stage will be a focused literature review to identify emerging themes on effective practice in supporting parents and specifically on what works for the parents of teenagers. The second stage will be to conduct personal, semi-structured, one-to-one interviews with a representative of the statutory and voluntary organisations identified in the initial scoping. The purpose of these interviews we will to establish the respondents' views on the key factors that render effective a support service for the parents of teenagers, to identify relevant parenting support services known to these organisations and to draw on the existing expertise of the respondents in these key organisations to begin identifying key frontline staff and other stakeholders for interview in the first stage of Phase Two

Phase Two: Collection of empirical data from providers, stakeholders and users (including case studies)
Phase two will involve the selection of organisations and respondents for case studies and data gathering from in-depth telephone and qualitative interviews.

The first stage will be to use the information obtained in Phase One to categorise the services to ensure that a range of different types of intervention are included in the case studies. From the initial categorisation, we would identify as potential case studies about 10 support services for the parents of teenagers. To identify effective types of interventions we will conduct 40 short, qualitative telephone interviews with strategic staff, front line staff and stakeholder (identified from our interviews with frontline staff).

We will also carry out semi-structured face-to-face interviews with a member of staff who delivers the service (a total of 10 interviews, one in each service) and with a small number of service users in each location. Face-to-face interviews with service users will take place on the same visit. In each location we will interview two parents/couples identified by the service provider as recent users (a total of 20 interviews) and 10 teenagers who may be direct service users.
Timescale and final products of the research
The research was completed in 2006. A full report and summary are available at

See Publications for further details.

Last updated March 2007