Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Help in providing better parenting
Earlier this month, the Government announced a £100 voucher scheme for parenting classes, in a bid to improve family discipline.
The free vouchers, allowing parents up to ten sessions on how to handle their children, are to be distributed through high-street chemist Boots.
Parents, grandparents and carers of children aged under five will be eligible for the scheme, aimed at tackling problems that led to last summer’s riots.
Overseen by the Department for Education, the project could be extended across England and Wales following a pilot run in Middlesbrough, Camden, North London, and High Peak, Derbyshire.
In Bradford, parents are being given chance to boost their child-rearing skills at special classes being held across the district.
The free parenting courses will be launched by the National Parenting Initiative, created by more than 500 churches across the UK, on Father’s Day next week. Open to parents and other carers of children, the classes will focus on responding to a child’s needs, setting boundaries, handling anger and stress, and building family life.
“They will be informal, involving food, a talk or DVD with workbooks, and an opportunity for discussion with other parents. They’re also open to single parents, adoptive parents, step parents and grandparents,” said spokesman Andrea Johnson.
“The majority of churches will be offering material provided by different parenting organisations at their discretion. The courses will be held on evenings or mornings, at community or church spaces, or people’s homes. It’s a chance to get together and learn general parenting skills.
“Parenting is the hardest, yet most rewarding job we will ever do. Taking a parenting course is a great way to share ideas and get support from other parents.
“Parenting courses aren’t about wrong or right – they are about building confidence and community. Children don’t come with an instruction manual, and we could all use a little help or advice.”
The courses are free, although some churches may request a small donation towards food and other expenses. They will take place at St John’s Church, Clayton; St Margaret’s Church, Frizinghall; St James and St Cuthbert’s Church, Bradford; Airedale Church Centre; Lifeline Church, Skipton; Abundant Life Church, Bradford, and St Mary’s Church, Bradford.
Ken Costa, chairman of the National Parenting Initiative, said: “A parenting course is an investment in your family. The courses are for anyone who wants to improve their skills as a parent.
‘The course material is based on Christian principles but the courses are designed for parents of any faith or no faith at all.”
With family breakdown estimated to cost the taxpayer £20 to £24 billion each year, Prime Minister David Cameron said recently it was “ludicrous” that people should be expected to train to drive a car or use a computer, “but when it comes to looking after a baby we tell people to just get on with it”.
In a foreword to the Children’s Society’s Good Childhood Report 2012, the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said the charity’s discovery that half a million children in the UK were unhappy with their lives was a “wake-up call to us all”.
He added: “It is in families that we learn the self-confidence, the trust, the discipline and the resilience that stay with us for the rest of our lives. It is in families that we learn emotional intelligence and the habits of the heart that make for happiness. It is in families that we learn to co-operate with and care for others so that we become responsible shapers of our individual and collective future.
“I am delighted to see that Christian churches of all denominations are being proactive working together to developing a National Parenting Initiative and to running parenting courses.”
The four organisations providing parenting materials for the National Parenting Initiative are Relationship Central, Care for the Family New Wine and Family Caring Trust.
* For more information about the parenting courses, visit thenpi.org.uk.