Research, policy and clinical practice focussed on engaging and working with fathers and their children often seems to oscillate between extremes. Where policy documents relating to children's health and wellbeing do include fathers it is often in a restricted way, and similarly discussions about the role of fathers in the media are often one-dimensional. It is sometimes hard to escape a feeling of despondency at the continuing exchanges, too often made ignoring or misinterpreting years of research regarding the importance of co-parenting and the involvement of fathers and other carers. One of the great contributions of child and adolescent mental health professionals has been the drawing of attention to the importance of family processes and systemic thinking, yet in relation to parenting, this seems to have been increasingly overlooked in recent years with an increased focus on attachment or social learning inspired approaches for a single parent-child dyad. In this issue of the JCPP, in a thorough and timely review, Catherine Panter-Brick and colleagues call for a clear change to the way parenting programmes are considered, studied and implemented. In this commentary, we reflect on this call and look at three challenges for CAMHS professionals.
Keywords: Parenting programmes; clinical practice; fathers; implementation.
© 2014 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.