Duchess of Cambridge teenagers should be taught parenting skills

first_imgProfessor Sir Simon Wessely introduced the conference by telling delegates: “We can spend an awful lot of time doing what my friends in the military say is ‘admiring the problem’. Indeed it’s right we should do that…to look at the links between childhood adversity and adult mental health problems.”But the real question and the question that most of today is going to be about is what can we do about it? And the answer is rather more than we used to.” She said: “We need mental health support in primary schools before the biological changes and academic pressures of adolescence kick in. Teenagers should be taught parenting and relationship skills to prepare them to be “child-ready” in good time, the Duchess of Cambridge has said.The Duchess, who is expecting her third child next month, said it was important to prepare future mothers and fathers for parenthood, to enable them to cope with the “mental and emotional needs” of their children.In a speech on the benefits of early intervention in supporting children’s mental health, she said early intervention would help to break “the inter-generational cycle of disadvantage”.Speaking at a symposium of academics, professionals and charities organised by the Royal Foundation, the Duchess said: “I really do feel so passionately about the importance of early intervention, and that by working on new approaches together, we can make a real difference for generations to come.”In one of her last engagements before beginning her maternity leave, the Duchess announced she was setting up a steering group to explore how  best to provide children with the best start in life. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their two children Prince George and Princess Charlotte “And potentially we could start to look even earlier, by teaching parenting and relationship skills to teenagers, to get the next generation of parents child-ready, well before they have to put these skills into practice.”Professor Peter Fonagy, chief executive of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, described the Duchess as the person “who has done more to turn the tide of stigma around mental health more than any other single individual that I could name.”He had seen her visiting providers, “energising, enthusing, deepening the commitment of front-line workers in an invaluable way”, he said. After evidence is gathered from experts, charities, the medical and teaching professions, it will be compiled into a strategy towards the end of the year. In a speech at the Royal Society of Medicine, the Duchess said we “cannot intervene early enough” to break “the inter-generational cycle of disadvantage”. The Duchess at a symposium of leading academics and charities championing early interventionCredit:Geoff Pugh Duchess of Cambridge Duchess of Cambridge Duchess of Cambridge He added: “It is vitally important to work together, to form a community that cares about early childhood.””This is where the Royal Foundation can and should do a massive service to this country, because it has the power to bring people together.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Parenting in action as the Duchess deals with Princess Charlotte on a German runwayCredit:PA The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their two children Prince George and Princess Charlotte The Duchess with children at Reach Academy earlier this yearCredit:Eddie Mulholland “She has also changed all our way of thinking by her intelligent questioning and crystal-clear focus.” The Duchess of Cambridge arrives to make her speechCredit:PA “We also need a focus on parenting and family support, so that parents feel able to get their children ‘school ready’, and are confident that they themselves can cope with the mental and emotional needs of their own children.“We need to highlight how important it is to support mothers too, potentially even before they give birth.   They need to be aware how vulnerable they might be and, critically, know where they can find help for themselves, as well as for their babies and toddlers. Duchess of Cambridgelast_img read more