JOHN McVICAR, writer and reformed criminal: I was brought up pretty well; the pathways to crime are as many as roads into the capital. I was sucked into street culture - my parents were horrified. It was in the Forties in the East End, and their approach was a mixture of love and mild sanctions like eat your greens and don't stay out late.

DENNIS SKINNER, MP: We knew the difference between right and wrong. If I ripped my trousers sliding down the pit tip I'd know I couldn't go home like that. I never had the belt but my dad would grab hold of us and my mum would say 'Leave him alone' - there were always those conflicts. We always had to do a little bit to help around the house. But kids have always done the least they are expected to do.

DAISY WAUGH, journalist: I think we were brought up pretty strictly - no Enid Blyton, no sweets, no Blue Peter, stand up when your grandmother comes into the room. My dad went on about the work ethic.

RICHARD WELLS, chief constable, South Yorkshire police: I had a classic, military upbringing. My father was in the Royal Marines and I grew up with a strong sense of justice. Dad had strict standards about haircuts and clean shoes, and my mother wiped my mouth with soap for swearing on Sunday.

BARONESS MARY WARNOCK: I was entirely brought up by my nanny. But there was no real discipline because there was no reason for it - it never occurred to offend. We were not very nice, but orderly and self-contained, always in bed at a certain time.

JAMES RYAN, homeless: My parents never told me what to do. I was drinking and smoking at 12, bunking off school, shoplifting. But I don't think it makes any difference, you see plenty of people as bad off as me whose parents did tell them what to do. I don't ever want kids myself.

(Photograph omitted)