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.