Several years ago in the guise of what-Morag- sometimes – does-in-the-real-world she was approached by her son’s school to come in and give a few ‘informal chats’ to the parents. These chats were covering subjects from “How to Handle Bullying”, to “How to Prevent Yourself From Hanging Your Children Upside Down When They Drive You Up The Wall and You’ve Run Out of the Merlot”.
The school in question was in one of the most salubrious postcodes in the country with not an ASBO holder in sight. The parents attending were coming from high-powered jobs in the City and Chancery Lane, the BBC and that well-known North London consortium Lollygagging & Lunching. Everyone there was there of their own volition. No one had been forced, there were no prizes, no reward points. There were authors, lawyers, consultants, artists, musicians – all with only one thing in common – they have had brought children into this mad society that we live in. And no it was not a room full of Lefties, in fact very far from it.
One of the things that some of us Conservatives understand or believe is that yes it is about maintaining the status quo, however (and this is a huge however), we are currently so off course that the status quo as we know and love it is nowhere in sight. And until we resurrect it – there isn’t much to conserve.
In the year dot of course people didn’t ‘need’ parenting classes. You were part of a community. Your family was within easy reach if you were working or middle class. You had the same nanny that mummy had if you weren’t. You also attended church. There was WI. Men didn’t have much to do with the rearing of children. Altogether it was a different landscape. Now every single one of those things has changed and parents need help. Their support system has been removed, nothing has been put in its place and more importantly our society is now such that nothing short of spending 24/7 with our children will do – and of course we can’t.
We are all paying for it. This lack of direction of parents. There is not an honest parent out there of any socio-economic background who can hold there hand up and say that (unless their child is in boarding school) at the very least once a week a moment doesn’t go by when they feel “What the hell is the best way to handle this?” If you say you never feel the need for help then you are probably lying.
If you are reading this blog you’ll most likely be in a better position than the parents that this new initiative is aimed at. At the risk of sounding snobby you will most likely be better educated, better connected and have a better idea as to how to deal with issues that arise with your children.
Of course as Conservatives we will automatically say it is none of the government’s business. But look at it this way – we are paying the odds in every way for people not knowing how to raise their children. We can either sit back on our collective ass and let the rot continue OR we can try to do something about it.
Yes Parenting Classes is not the perfect solution, but you know what, until society improves every little bit helps. I watched a programme the other night that said that every £1. spent on counseling young people about alcohol misuse saves the NHS £5. down the road. This is the same idea – let’s spend the £4m now and see if it saves us spending £20m in the future on extra prison places, drug rehab, housing for pregnant teenagers etc.etc.etc….. One of the biggest growth sectors in the helping professions in Yankland nowadays is ‘Parent-Coaching’, maybe this is one of the good ideas we could take from across the pond……..at least until we convince people to start getting married again, going to church and living around the corner from their parents………………