His work challenges some other glib assumptions, too. "Families and friends are not necessarily supportive. They can themselves be what is on our mind or giving us trouble."
In many ways, this book is a tour de force. It summarises and discusses 14 government research studies on various aspects of support for parenting and the family, pulling together common themes and the implications for action.
Between them the studies cover such areas as poverty, step-parenting, fathers in prison, and children (and parents) with disabilities. The result is a rewarding if challenging read: one for heads, interested governors, social workers or anyone who has a professional interest in the family and its effect on children.