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Knowledge and practice in family and parenting education

Jean-Pierre Pourtois, Huguette Desmet, Willy Lahaye

The Centre de Recherche et d’Innovation en Sociopédagogie familiale et scolaire [Centre for research and innovation in family and academic sociology] (CERIS), at the Université de Mons-Hainaut, Belgium, was set up in 1969. This centre carries out research and action-research in family and parental education. From the day it opened it was called upon to deal with the distress experienced by so many parents confronted with the ever more difficult educational situations they have to handle in this rapidly changing world of ours, a world where societal changes also have a head-on impact on children and adolescents. And yet, some families do seem to manage quite well, others rather less well. It would appear important, therefore, to search out both risk factors and protection factors, in order to better understand and explain these educational and social itineraries, and also in order to more adequately assist educators, whether they be parents, grandparents, future parents, teachers or social workers, in their educational mission. This is where CERIS’ commitment lies, both in the field of research and in that of action. The projects it has carried out so far take into account three interacting dimensions: the way individuals develop will depend on their environment, on the events that affect them and on their sensitivity both to their environment and to such events.