21/10/2014 14:26 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Mums And Dads 'Should Be Offered Parenting Classes'


Mums and dads should be offered parenting classes to help them have a better relationship with their children, according to new research.

Alan Milburn, chairman of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, called for parenting classes to be as common as antenatal lessons for pregnant women and dads-to-be.

And he said families should be given five clear messages surrounding 'talking, reading, playing, cuddling, and communicating'.

The Commission's State of the Nation 2014 report, aimed at families with children from the early years up to the teens, states: "Steps parents can take to create a good home learning environment include reading to their children: making sure there is a diverse range of books available and taking their children to the library; talking to their children without other distractions; giving positive reinforcement of good behaviour; providing a nutritious balanced diet, encouraging imaginative play and restricting television viewing."

The report called on ministers to work with charities to produce a 'national good-parenting programme that makes seeking parenting advice the 'norm' and breaks the taboo on public policy attempts to improve parenting, from conception to the child reaching adolescence'.

When asked how many parents should receive help, Mr Milburn, the former Labour cabinet minister, quoted a Sutton Trust report that suggested four-in-10 children were missing out on good parenting.

It suggested that parents who could be helped most should be identified by schools and childcare workers.

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