Love minus the rows

5th November 2004 at 00:00
Stigma stops more people learning behaviour management skills, report Michael Shaw and Joseph Lee

For Kate McElroy, life with her daughter in west London had become a power struggle.

The 33-year-old, who juggles being a single mum with a job in sales, said:

"It was relentless, a constant battle of wills: me trying to be a good parent, her trying to get what she wanted, and me trying to keep some sanity.

"I didn't give in all the time, but the tantrums would get me down."

She decided to get help from the New Learning Centre in Hampstead. With the skills she learned there, Ms McElroy says she was able to ignore tantrums and to give attention to good behaviour, and ultimately transform their relationship.

She said: "I have always loved her, but I like being with her more. It's really difficult at first. You can learn the skills in 10 weeks, but it's a lifelong process to practise them."

Alice, four, has now started in reception class at primary school. Ms McElroy said: "It changed our lives." She would even support compulsory classes, she said, as they would remove the mistaken assumption that parents had failed if they needed help.

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