Is it easy to be a parent in the UK?

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Pressure and loneliness are the biggest challenges faced by parents in the UK, followed by support for working life and parenting confidence, as revealed by The Parenting Index report, a first-of-its-kind study into global parenting experiences.

The Parenting Index was commissioned by Nestlé as part of its ongoing commitment to support families in the first 1,000 days of life. The aim of the study was to identify the universal issues impacting parents today and to see if they are similar around the world.

The UK was among 16 countries in the world where the research was conducted and ranks 6th just after the US and before India in 'ease of parenting' while Sweden, Chile and Germany are the easiest places to raise a baby today.

UK parents report many positives, including feeling they have good financial resilience, access to health and wellbeing resources and a supportive environment for parenting. However, these are counterbalanced by the feeling of pressure and loneliness. Strong impact on family finances, support for working life and parenting confidence, are reported as pain points as well.

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Jessica Jones, mum of three from London, who took part in the research, said: "Parenting is hard and as a mum of three, I know how tough it is trying to figure out what’s right for your children. Layer on top of that being bombarded with unsolicited advice from others who think they are the experts on how you should be raising your kids! I think what I’ve learnt though, is when it comes to my children, I need to trust in my own instincts."

Vicky Woods, Managing Director of Nestlé Nutrition UK and Ireland, said: "Parenting is one of the greatest joys in life, but this Index clearly shows how it also is full of challenges. Those feelings of isolation reported by UK mums are likely to have become more severe due to the pandemic, while balancing work and parenting is even more complex.

"During these lockdown times, we can all help parents overcome these challenges, through kindness, understanding and supporting parents’ choices they make for themselves and their babies. This Index gives parents a voice to express the pressures they feel. We should all listen."

As part of Nestlé’s efforts to help parents provide children with the best start in life, the company recently implemented a more inclusive and gender-neutral parental support policy, including an additional four-week fully paid parental leave for second caregiver, to allow parents to spend more time with their new child.

The company also introduced a "Parent Pals" peer-to-peer mentoring network across all of its office sites in the UK and Ireland and became a trusted partner of "My Family Care" to offer additional parental support to new parents as well as further guidance for their line managers.

Read the full press release here.