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Mum's back to school

There was no crisis that prompted Carrie Sadler, a GP in Hampshire, to go to parenting classes.

With children approaching the difficult teenage years, she just wanted to be prepared with some extra support and advice.

She said many of the people in the classes were like her, and they were not reserved for parents struggling to cope with tearaways. "The classes should be for everyone," she said.

"I don't think any parent is perfect, we just do our best at the time.

"My children were very positive about me going. I feel they appreciate me looking for help and they're quite interested in what's happening. I do tease them, though, saying they're such a handful I need more help."

She said much of the benefit was in reassuring her she was doing the right thing, but the course had encouraged her to talk more to her children, daughter Rachel, 14, and 10-year-old David.

"Life is just so busy these days that most of us can improve just by being able to stop and listen when a child wants to talk," she said.

"I can see how it might help a child at school, by encouraging them to have opinions. Perhaps if they have a stable basis at home, it makes the children more secure and happy to perform better at school.

"But the people who would most benefit from this might be the hardest to target."

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