I got a shock this morning. David Cameron made a statement that was actually correct for once!
He might be right in the statement above, but is he right in suggesting that parent classes are the way forward or is that just a headline grabber – again?
I kind of have my suspicions, as they may be funding parent classes with one hand, yet with the other they’ve so trashed systems of parent support we’ve had over the years through the NHS, the midwifery and health visitor service, through Sure Start etc, I can’t help thinking this is just a new vote winning gimmick or downright hypocrisy.
However, I’ve often thought that helping parents parent is something we should be paying attention to. But, parenting is a sensitive issue. Makes us cringe to think that we’re bad parents and not up to the job and it’s going to be mighty tricky telling others how to do it.
We can teach people practical things; how to change nappies, feed children, even in some ways how to interact with them. But the thing that really makes a good parent is an awareness of our own behaviour and an understanding of how that impacts on those around us. It’s also influenced by the sense of care, responsibility and respect that is learnt from our closest family and community. The thought we put into our parenting. The time we spend. The love we’ve received and the way we’re able to express it.
So many intangible influences it would be hard to package that and put it in lessons in the glib way Cameron suggests – him coming from the background he does! And why should parenting lessons only last up to the age of a child being five? Seems there are as many challenges beyond that as before – as those of us who live with tweens and teens will know.
It’s a massive debatable issue. It’s also indicative of the rather sad fact that our communities are so rent apart now that this, another of the things we would have organically learned from being within them, has suddenly become something else the state thinks they have to teach us.
What’s your view?