David Cameron’s announcement that parenting classes become ‘aspirational’ for all families.

David Cameron’s initiative of  parenting classes for all.  

Why is this a good idea?

Before having my own children I worked full time as a primary school teacher and trained student teachers.  Despite really thinking I understood children, that didn’t prepare me for the experience of being a parent and having my own.  I realise now in retrospect that quite a lot of the advice I gave to parents when I was just a teacher was a bit unrealistic!!!

I had all the patience in the world for other people’s children but my own somehow pushed my buttons in ways I never imagined.  I started reading extensively, trying out new skills on my own children before sharing them with other parents and evaluating whether or not they worked.

I believe being a parent is the most rewarding and most difficult job you can ever have. What could possibly be more important than your own child and raising the future generation? Parents obviously have a huge impact on how their children turn out so it’s a job that comes with tremendous responsibility.  Why is there no training for this?  It is for these reasons I believe all parents can benefit greatly  from parenting classes.

In the news:

Telegraph reporting Cameron’s plans   

Sky News reporting the story

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Changes in today’s society

The issue is compounded in today’s society.  Parents are increasingly less likely to live close to their own parents or extended family and therefore don’t have the same support network or pool of advice that previous generations had.  It has become increasingly common for both parents to work full time, which can increase the amount of guilt parents feel.

Technology is a wonderful source of information but the amount of advice available can be overwhelming and often conflicting.  Social media has given parents a wider network to share issues and concerns but again reading about what everyone else is doing can cause confusion and result in parents having less confidence.  Mediums such as Facebook/Instagram appear to provide images of the perfect family.  Not to mention the way screens have impacted on family life.  Even when parents are with their children both the parent and child may interact and communicate less because screens are so addictive and engaging.

Parenting styles have changed dramatically in recent years, encouraging more empathy and positivity.  90% of what we know in brain science has only been discovered in the last fifteen years. I heard a wonderful expression: ‘parents are brain architects’.  Every positive interaction between parent and child aids brain development.

Signing up to a parenting course or seminar does not mean you have failed as a parent.  I tell parents they are the greatest ‘expert’ on their child since they know them best. Many parents who come don’t necessarily have any major issue or concern.  They just want to be armed with a set of skills and knowledge that enable them to be the most effective parents they can be. Being in a group as opposed to reading books or searching online allows you to share thoughts and ‘normalises’ many of the common issues parents face.  If all parents did that I passionately believe it would have the power to change the fabric of society.

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