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Family Law Blog

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Parenting classes help for families

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There seems to have been an awful lot about parenting and families in the news over the last week or so, so I make no apologies for this being my second blog of the week on parenting! The main talking point of course has been the free vouchers for parenting classes launched by the Government last week. It was dismissed by opponents of the Government – which appears to be most people these days – as being, quite literally, more evidence of a nanny state. It even spawned an unfortunate (but quite funny) trend on Twitter under hashtag #parentingbydave.

But the Prime Minister hit back, saying such a suggestion was nonsense and he would have liked parenting classes when his first child came along.

The scheme will be trialled in three areas with parents of children under five able to claim £100 in vouchers for parent-craft classes.

"We're taught to drive a car. We're taught all sorts of things at school. I think it makes perfect sense to help people with parenting," said Mr Cameron. And when he puts it like that, it does make a lot of sense.

My view, for what it’s worth, is that any additional resources to help people new to parenting should be seen as a good thing. A new addition to the family can be an incredibly stressful time for a couple and anecdotal evidence suggests that a little additional support around this time can see off potential disagreements between a couple that can fester and grow with time.

Such classes also, of course, can help the child have a smoother introduction to the world in their formative years.

However, did you spot the other family/parenting stories in the news? A new survey from netmums.com threw up some interesting findings, including the fact that they have identified 35 different types of family. Most common is still the nuclear family – married parents living with their biological children – but there are all sorts of additional set-ups now that simply didn’t exist a generation ago. And it showed break-ups meant one in 100 parents said they had lived in four or more different types of family.

And an additional survey reported in the Sun (not sure who this one was by) apparently showed two-thirds of young adults only talk to their parents when they have cash or personal problems. Would parenting lessons for their parents have made a difference on that one?!

Andrew Woolley
Family solicitor

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