Free parenting lessons trialled
Some 50,000 families are to be given free parenting lessons as part of the coalition's drive to make society more responsible.
The classes are being piloted for mothers and fathers with children aged under five in Middlesbrough, High Peak in Derbyshire, and Camden.
They will be offered £100 vouchers to pay for the sessions, and organisations will bid for contracts to provide them.
Issues covered are likely to include communication, managing conflict, discipline, and creating routine and boundaries.
Children's minister Sarah Teather said the trials would start next summer and run for two years. The scheme will cost £5 million for the vouchers plus set-up costs.
"The overwhelming evidence from all the experts is that a child's development in the first five years of their life is the single biggest factor influencing their future life chances, health and educational attainment," she said.
"Armed with all this evidence, it is the Government's moral and social duty to make sure we support all parents at this critical time.
"Parents have one of the toughest and most important jobs - but unlike so many other areas of our lives, they don't get a training manual or a how-to guide.
"I want to get rid of the stigma attached to asking for help. Parenting classes aren't just for struggling families with complex problems.
"All parents should know it's okay to ask for extra support and guidance when they need it - just as most do when they attend ante-natal classes before their child is born."