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Hampshire churches sign up to provide free parenting courses
CHURCHES across Hampshire have signed up to a national initiative aimed at providing free parenting courses.
More than 500 churches across the UK have joined together to create The National Parenting Initiative launched today.
The courses, which are open to all parents and carers of children, offer teaching on responding to a child’s needs, setting boundaries, handling anger and stress, and building family life.
Parents wishing to attend can type their postcode into a national website to find their local course.
Family and children co-ordinator Sammy Jordan said that the courses are a valuable opportunity for parents to get support and develop their own parenting styles.
She said it was important that parents did not think the courses were just for those who were struggling.
She said: “There was an association with the parenting courses that they were part of orders to help deal with truanting children or antisocial behaviour orders.
“We need to get through that barrier. Parenting does not come with a manual and there is not necessarily the support that parents really need.
“Many come with parenting styles that have come from their own experience and so often the courses give them time to reflect on ways of developing their own skills.”
Courses typically involve a talk given live or on DVD with workbooks, and an opportunity for discussion with other parents.
The courses are free, although some churches may request a small voluntary donation.
Banker 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.”
Family breakdown is estimated to cost the taxpayer up to £24 billion each year.