Thursday, January 25, 2007

Parenting strategies?

The local councils in England and Wales all appear to have developed, or be in the process of developing, a 'parenting strategy'. (Something I read on the NYHEC list brought this to my attention.)

Am I the only person who wonders why? Local councils are local councils, not parents, so why do they all suddenly need a parenting strategy?

Googling the term produces the following info:

"The aim of our parenting strategy is to make sure that every parent in Manchester has the confidence and skills they need to give their child the best possible start in life," says Manchester City Council.

"The strategy identifies support for parents as a key preventative theme. The challenging task of parenting is recognised as everyone’s business," says Leicester County Council. [My emphasis.]

"The Parenting Strategy for Sheffield, currently being developed for the city’s 0-19+ Partnership Board, was the subject of a conference this morning where professionals working with children and families across the city will consider how they support parents to look after their children," says Sheffield City Council.

... and lots more, along the same lines.

I wonder what the government itself has to say about parenting strategies, if anything publicly accessible.

Hmm, well firstly Alan Johnson (previously Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Competitiveness, I see. Oh, the irony! ^^ ) is in charge of it.

I lost the trail then. He's working with someone called Parmjit Dhanda on Parenting Strategy, but I can't find anything else about it that doesn't lead to specific, guidance about things like school exclusions. I don't think that's what this is about.

Here's Manchester's glossy colour brochure of their parenting strategy. Is this the end result of the Climbie inquiry then, and Every Child Matters?

Well, nothing much wrong with that, except (maybe it's just me being picky) but it does seem to unnecessarily state the obvious and entirely overlook parental instincts. Not too keen on the early weaning bit, but possibly I'm reading it wrongly.

It's this bit that worries me more...

And there we have it. Good parenting is primarily about making sure children go to school and imposing discipline.

So, the parenting strategy initiative isn't so much a strategy for parenting, as a strategy for redefining parenthood.


Blogger Tech said...

I think my face visably fell when this parenting strategy thing was mentioned at our meeting. I'd not heard of it before and was frankly panicking at what on earth it might mean. Still haven't really looked at it properly, and not sure if I really want to :-/

6:32 pm, January 25, 2007  
Blogger Ruth said...

Sounds like another form of control over the way we parent to me. Why is good parenting defined as one in which we "send our children to school" and force them to do homework? All control isn't it? Also does that men that thoseof us who do not adhere to this criteria are "bad parents" Aslso why is early weaning a good thing apart from to put you child in nursery sooner under their control? It certainly is not better for the child. Oh I could rant all night now.

7:14 pm, January 25, 2007  
Blogger Allie said...

Oh, that's so sad. I actually quite like the first page of the brochure. Though I don't really know what its purpose is. But then that second page is downright sinister. Nasty Supernanny type tv produced on a glossy brochure for the instruction of the ignorant masses. Yuk!

7:46 pm, January 25, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

There's a lot about enforcement for 'families who can't or won't co-operate'.

I wonder if there's any legal challenge to all this stuff. Human Rights Act, maybe.

8:07 pm, January 25, 2007  
Blogger Tim said...

New Labour's Plan

1) Promote parents returning to full time work within minutes of giving birth.
2) Provide financial and other support for development of nurseries, creches, provide tax breaks for using child minders and nannies.
3) Notice that parents can't work and care for their children simultaneously.
4) Hire a stack of people (who have put off having children for the benefit of their careers) to develop 'strategies' and plans to 'support' parents. Buy them really nice buildings to work in, pay them lots of money.
5) Have no money left to provide parents with any worthwhile 'support'.
6) Blame the parents.

Tim's Plan

1) Promote and support and provide tax breaks for a parent in each family not working but staying at home to bring up children.
2) Blame the Government

11:29 pm, January 25, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

I heard someone on R4's Today programme yesterday actually advocating the provision of a living wage for one parent to stay at home & do full-time childcare.

OK, it was only Oliver James plugging his new book, (which I quite fancy) but I still did a double-take.

They didn't laugh him out of the studio either. There's progress. ^^

6:36 am, January 26, 2007  
Blogger Louise said...

Is this parenting strategy a new thing then? Does it come with it's own law or is at all part of the children act? It does worry me how they can get away with publishing such stuff yet on some level there must be a majority that buy into it and will obey. Just like when connexions first started.....EEK!!

8:25 am, January 26, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

It's hard to find anything to read about it before this stage, but I think it follows the VC inquiry and the Every Child Matters stuff, Lou.

Just another stage in the incursion into/destruction of family life by the state ongoing process, a sceptical person might say.

9:53 am, January 28, 2007  
Anonymous maya said...

oh yikes....and who is this stuff put together by? child development specialists? politicians? i find it very scary...

4:31 pm, February 04, 2007  

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