A £3.4 million parenting initiative starts today; it is being piloted in three areas of the UK to give advice to new parents – you can hear cries of “nanny state” can’t you! A vast array of information, sometimes conflicting is being offered in a variety of ways. How do parents decide what to do? They can follow their instincts but in a negative environment that is not easy.
Unfortunately the huge energy, effort and money put behind the ‘new parenting’ initiative will not be as effective as it might. Having worked with parents and carers for the last 10 years with a unique way of empowering families, the feedback I get is they feel stigmatised, failures and disempowered from a ‘parenting’ course.
So there is no open communication, engagement, or the opportunity to build respect and trust. This is exacerbated by a feeling that they are being talked down to, albeit by well meaning professionals, who are perceived to be there to ‘fix’ them or their children.
Parents have huge strengths, abilities and capabilities in personal development skills which they do not realise they have. The huge lesson for the Government is to accept parents and carers are doing the best they can with what they know. Today’s parents need new parenting skills particularly around emotional resilience to change their parent child communication. How can we expect parents to teach their children about managing their emotions when they weren’t taught it themselves.
Lets get real and acknowledge parents are desperate for help in today’s fast changing world, which puts even more stress on them and their family. We need to create a different culture for parents so they can feel comfortable to ask for help in their most important job in their lives, and not assume they need ‘fixing’.