Parenting Matters

Back on the Schoolgate site on Timesonline they’ve been talking about parenting as the key to education. http://timesonline.typepad.com/schoolgate/2010/02/parentingiskey.html#more

It is, of course. I knew that, many parents I know knew that, many of the comments after the article suggest people feel the same. Because the problem in schools is not only about the curriculum and the teachers and the endless useless policies that are merely to win votes and not about what kids really need.

A lot of the problems in schools are about kids and the way they’ve been parented. It’s about the problem kids who don’t want to be there, the kids who don’t seem to understand why it’s of value to them to develop their education, the kids who seem to have such poor relationships with the adults around them they do not feel supported or even cared for. And they just seem to have a bad attitude to everything.

And it’s this attitude that affects everything, including the other children around them. And this attitude often begins at home with the way they’ve been parented and then is carried over to an education which just doesn’t suit them and doesn’t seem to care for them either.

But, knowing the answer may be parenting, what is to be done about it? Where do you start?

I think the starting point is to peel back our own attitudes to parents, especially to mums. To pare it right down to a simple question of value.

There are so many people who don’t value the work parents do and so many parents who don’t seem to understand the value of what they do as parents. So many people who don’t seem to understand that parenting MATTERS.

The way we behave as a parent matters. What we say as a parent matters. What we do as a parent matters. What we eat and how we look, how we work and how we love, how we care and the time and commitment we give to our kids in relation to that. It all matters.

It is not a question of riches or qualifications or class or location. Parenting well – i.e. with care – is quite simple. It is simply a matter of care and a matter of taking pride in the way we raise our kids.

Pride seems an old fashioned term that I usually rebel against – it seems so dated. But where has the pride gone in being parents? Where has the pride gone in being a person who commits to being a dad or a mum above everything else? Where is society’s recognition of the fact that parenting needs time and attention, and it is not something that can merely be fitted in around other more important things? It’s probably gone along with our difficulty in valuing anything that doesn’t earn copious amounts of money. And let’s face it, parenting usually makes you poorer! Although richer in other ways.

We need to value our parents more than we value anything else. More than we value money. For it is the value parents attach to raising their kids, and the commitment they make to it, that is truly priceless. There is no substitute. We need to support and respect everyone who dedicates time and energy to it. We need to value young parents and make sure there is guidance and help in place to support them. We need to broadcast from every telly channel that parenting matters and it matters that we all learn to get it right. We all need to care, even for those who may not have been cared for.

Parents need care and respect. In order for things to change. It is up to us all to offer it.

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