Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Laura Perrins: Parenting classes are pointless if mothers are dragooned back to work


Who the hell does Steve Hilton think he is? I had never heard of him until a few weeks ago but now he all over my papers telling us how to be More Human. A bit like Jesus then.

The only thing worse than the pontificating pundits are the glorious gurus. Here at The Conservative Woman we are not big fans of David Cameron’s former right hand man. No, Sir.

Saint Steve has much to pontificate about and my co-editor already dealt with his views on marriage. He is very pro-marriage is our Steve, shame it comes about five years too late.

He is also big on the family, what with all the resources it bestows on children but again this is five years too late.

Unsurprisingly, the guru is a fan of parenting classes – heaven help us. In Saint Steve’s First Letter to the Plebs he believes parenting classes should be the norm for all of us and carry no stigma. “There is not one parent in the country who would not benefit from better information and support on parenting.”

I was not aware that parenting classes were stigmatic. I know they are not that popular because most parents don’t have time to go to said classes, Steve – we are too busy doing the parenting while you and are your ilk are guruing and pontificating and whatever the hell it is you do.

Steve & Co seem to have missed the point that there are already about 1000 parenting books out there. Many are free to borrow at your local library. I am fond of the odd parenting book myself, but I’ll be damned if I am going to have the State force me to some class.

And then there are the details. Who will deliver said classes – please do not tell me it will be the useless health visitors. As is always the case now with State diktats, these classes will no doubt be outsourced to some company recently invented by someone who is well connected to a guru or pontificator or strategist. But the taxpayer will pick up the bill – we know the drill.

Then there is the content of said parenting courses. Saint Steve must be asleep at the wheel but he should know that even parenting has become political. Are you a fan of Sears and attachment parenting or Gina Ford and crying it out? Sling or pram? Front facing or parent facing? Time-out or cuddle? Will the message still be that co-sleeping should be avoided and can be dangerous, when in fact this is not the case. And let’s not go near the breastfeeding issue – crickey a hotbed that one.

In fact, surely all these parenting classes will be wasted considering all George Osborne wants is for both parents to be out working all day long and the children in day care. So what are the parenting classes for if there are no parents at home? In my experience parenting is learnt on the job so the classes are pretty useless. They exist to make the gurus feels better about themselves – as most of these schemes are.

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