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Parenting classes a success, research shows

Study shows that parenting courses help those with children who have behavioural or psychological difficulties.
Local authority-run courses to help parents of children with behavioural or psychological problems have been hailed a success, according to a study.

The classes, which will become country-wide over the next three years, make parents calmer and more confident, reports the Guardian.

Available in 18 parts of England, 3,575 parents took the courses between September 2006 and March this year.

They were mainly made up of parents who had left school at 16 although some were graduates, and all had children between the ages of eight and 13.

"This study provides substantial evidence that these programmes can be rolled out effectively across a large number of local authorities," the lead author of the study, Professor Geoff Lindsay of Warwick University, told the newspaper.

"There is now considerable evidence to suggest that such programmes do have benefits in improving antisocial behaviour in children and the psychological and social functioning of parents."

The courses are funded by the government and last between six and 20 weeks, with parents watching DVDs which show "good" parenting and attending discussion groups.

One problem the study found, however, was the lack of fathers taking up the courses, with males making up only one in eight of the parents.

"All local authorities were aware of this as a problem and related it to the timing of the courses, 'parent' being seen to mean 'mother', and a lack of men running the classes," said Professor Lindsay.

"Fathers perhaps feel a bit inhibited by parenting courses.

"Particular efforts need to be made to address this."

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