Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Beverley Hughes: Worse than the cure

On Sunday the Observer reported:

Many parents have lost confidence in how to bring up their children properly and feel inadequate, isolated and unsupported in coping with the pressures of modern family life, the government has warned.

Mothers and fathers often feel 'disempowered' as parents, and find it particularly difficult to enforce rules so their child does not misbehave, according to Beverley Hughes, the Minister for Children and Families.

In an interview with The Observer, Hughes voiced alarm that parents have much less faith than previous generations in their abilities to raise and guide their children, and wanted help to deal with their conduct.

I think there is a lot in what she says. The trouble is that the cure she proposes is quite likely to make things worse.

For the Observer report continues:

Hughes will announce plans tomorrow for a new National Academy for Parenting Practitioners to provide useful, reliable advice to parents and children's experts on what has been proven to work, which will start work in autumn 2007.
If you are told that an an activity needs a "national academy" is that likely to make you more or less confident of your own powers as someone without formal qualifications?

And there is something odd about the idea that the new academy will advise children's experts. Shouldn't it be the experts who are advising the state?

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