Are parenting classes a good idea?
I’m a big fan of parents asking for advice. There are so many advantages to getting a second opinion from someone else who is more familiar with the issues.
Even if the outcome is simply reassurance that you are doing the right thing, I think talking about problems, concerns and everything else is a really good thing.
The government does not believe enough parents ask for advice – or possibly that too few feel confident asking for it – which is why ministers have launched a new trial, offering free parenting classes.
The plan sounds very useful and well thought out, so I would encourage anyone living in High Peak, Derbyshire, Camden in London and Middlesbrough to at least find out a bit more about it.
I’m by no means a committed advocate of what the tabloid press crudely term ‘Nanny State’ interference in parenting. I appreciate people have the right to choose how the bring up their own children, without being subject to top-down, dictated rules.
However, this trial sounds like the politicians have really thought about it carefully. So far, 15 major parenting advice organisations and charities have signed up to deliver the classes, including Save the Children, Fatherhood Institute and Barnardo’s.
I also like the way children’s minister Sara Teather has presented it. This is by no means a must-do for all parents. She wants to see it as an extension of all the important work that goes on in ante-natal classes, which plenty of parents already go to and have a great learning experience doing so.
The class is available to any parents with children five years or under in thoseareas. They can claim their entitlement by asking for a voucher, which covers the cost of the programme of classes and is available from health visitors, children centres and nurseries.