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Parents want concrete support not parenting lessons

Government plans to spend more money on advice may not be welcomed by parents, who are more interested in concrete services than in parenting classes, according to research from the ESRC Families and Social Capital Research Group at London South Bank University.

The research, which will be discussed at today’s Diverse Britain: Social Practice and Social Policy conference, found that in a survey of 1112 parents of 'middle aged' children, the majority did not feel that parents need professional advice and guidance to help them bring up their children.

In-depth interviews suggest that the concept of parenting advice is a sensitive one with parents associating advice with intrusion unless the information is related to the more formal aspects of their children's lives. Working class parents were particularly dismissive of the advice that they had received in the past from professionals. In contrast, on the occasions when middle class parents seek advice they are more likely to see themselves as consumers.

Research from the group also found that working class and ethnic minority families, in particular, are strong units that are perfectly capable of keeping connections and caring relationships alive in spite of the break up of physically located working class communities.

Such ties continue to work across national and international boundaries. In researching three generations of Italian immigrants researchers found, for example, that second generation Italians, because of their continuing commitments towards their parents and the involvement of the latter with their places of origin, often get entangled in a transnational life, managing kin relationships at a distance."

Professor Rosalind Edwards, tel.: 020 7815 5795 or 020 7815 5750, or e-mail:

Or Alexandra Saxon / Annika Howard at ESRC, on 01793 413032/413119

Annika Howard | alfa
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