British parents want more help in learning parenting skills, a new survey shows.
In a report for the London-based think-tank and educational charity, the Legatum Institute, the Bheard polling organisation showed that far from worrying about interference by a nanny state, parents actively want more parenting classes.
The Legatum Institute is working on a proposed National Parenting Trust (NPT) to provide systematic education and training for parents, with a pilot project to be launched this year in cooperation with Surrey County Council.
The survey showed that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were seen as the best role models for families today. Other popular role models were Jamie and Jules Oliver and Posh and David Beckham.
The survey also showed that while 97% of respondents felt the family was important, 76% felt it “was not always valued in today’s society.”
The report showed that parenting classes are popular, but seen as too brief—they typically last eight to ten weeks.
Parents regard them as a better way of gaining skills for themselves, and as a means of instilling character and values in their children.
Commenting on the findings, Cristina Odone, the author of the report and a Director at the Institute, said: “Parenting is a key factor in determining a child’s life chances: better parenting skills help entrench values such as empathy, self-discipline, and self-sacrifice which help children make the right choices when faced in later life with moral dilemmas.”
The report suggests wide support for better provision of parenting classes from all social and economic categories. “Parents from all walks of life want their children to have these values,” Odone says, “but they lack confidence in their own abilities.”
The Legatum Institute findings build on previous work by scholars Angela Duckworth and Paul Tough in America, and Sir Anthony Seldon in Britain, which draw on neuroscience, psychology and child development to show how character traits such as self-restraint and courage help children succeed in terms of academia and well-being.
Research has also shown that character-based schools helped develop these character traits in children.
The Legatum Institute sought to determine whether parenting skills groups could perform the same role as character-based schools in supporting parents to transmit good values to their children.
Baroness Stroud, the chief executive officer of the Legatum Institute, said
“Parents worldwide want to be good parents and raise their children with values such as kindness, generosity and diligence. Instead they find media reports about rising mental health problems, social media and abuse scandals threaten to overwhelm them. The National Parenting Trust would provide a uniquely positive support base for parents navigating the challenges of parenting.
Legatum Institute has identified four factors which constrain the effectiveness of parenting classes
- Stigma – existing parenting classes have become associated with ‘troubled families’;
- Cost – many individuals, and local authorities affected by budget cuts, see parenting classes as expensive;
- Accessibility – the current dearth of data regarding parenting classes means that interested parents do not know how to enrol in one; and
- Limited duration – the parents we interviewed felt that, for greater impact, parenting skills groups should offer continuous support rather than short term classes
Read the full report here.
For more information, please contact Cristina Odone on 0788 444 6357
- 97% of respondents believed that the family is important in creating the best environment for young people to flourish
- 95% of respondents believe that the family is important in building a just and fair society
- 75% rated the family as more important than schools, employers, the Welfare State, the church in creating a better society
- 84% believe that the family is the bedrock of a successful society
- 72% agreed that family values in Britain are threatened by too much political correctness
- 76% agreed that the family is not always valued in today’s society
- 87% of those who had attended antenatal classes had found them helpful
- 81% of those who were expecting a child in the next few years would be interested in attending a parenting class
About the Legatum Institute
The word 'legatum' means 'legacy'. At the Legatum Institute, we are focused on tackling the major challenges of our generation—and seizing the major opportunities—to ensure the legacy we pass on to the next generation is one of increasing prosperity and human flourishing.
We are an international think tank based in London and a registered UK charity. Our work focuses on understanding, measuring, and explaining the journey from poverty to prosperity for individuals, communities, and nations.