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Five-a-day parenting 'checklist'? What do you think?

(287 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 04-Aug-11 10:33:46

Hello. We've just heard about this proposal to give all parents a five-a-day checklist, detailing how they should bring up their children.

Apparently, it's an idea that's winning the support of many politicians.

Would it win your support?

JosieRosie Thu 04-Aug-11 10:40:11

Definitely gets my support as an Early Years professional. It's so true that not all parents know automatically what to do with their children in order to give them the best start in life. In my view, parenting is a job - and like any other job, it's possible to do a good job, a bad job and even an inadequate job. And equally, like any other job, there should be support, training and encouragement available for the people that do it.

GypsyMoth Thu 04-Aug-11 10:41:55

Sounds costly!

worldgonecrazy Thu 04-Aug-11 10:43:45

I think it terribly sad that any parent would need to be told this, but accept that it is, unfortunately, necessary.

It reminds me of the posters I saw on public transport, reminding parents to speak to their children so that the child would learn to talk. It broke my heart to think that there were children growing up in such an environment.

JosieRosie Thu 04-Aug-11 10:45:35

worldgonecrazy, I completely agree with you - it is terribly sad and heartbreaking. Unfortunately, it's true - I see it every single day. The cost to society and the life-long effects of communication difficulties are horrendous and early intervention is absolutely the way forward. Parents also need to realise that child development does not happen by accident - they have an absolutely crucial role in every single part of it. So many parents are completely unaware of this.

sockpoppet Thu 04-Aug-11 10:45:39

Patronizing as hell. And they say the labour government was a nanny state

TheMonster Thu 04-Aug-11 10:46:04

I think it is pointless. The parents who really need the help won't care, and it will make others competitive, and it would make working parents (me!) feel even more guilty.

grumpypants Thu 04-Aug-11 10:46:21

I find it infuriating that it always comes down to 'poorer parents' doing a bad job, and instead of thinking about why, there's just the idea of rewarding them with higher child benefit payments. We need to think about whether or not society can afford to keep propping up families who can't afford their kids, not paying them more.
It's like being overweight etc - we all know how to stay slim, just as it's not rocket science to interact with your kids. Shouldn't this be the role of health visitors?

LoveBeingAtHomeOnMyOwn Thu 04-Aug-11 10:47:39

As my mum said when came on the tv earlier ' in other words be a prarent!'

LoveBeingAtHomeOnMyOwn Thu 04-Aug-11 10:48:43

Btw how long before we have to hand them in each week hmm

EdithWeston Thu 04-Aug-11 10:49:51

Successive Governments have given out (usually via a tendril of NHS) parenting advice, so it's probably a good idea to renew it periodically so it never looks dated.

I'm not keen on the "five a day" message because that slogan is in use, in the important healthy eating campaign (which should be aimed at everyone, life-long). The potential for muddle, and losing the effect of the five-a-day fruit and veg message, seems a needless risk. Surely a unique, catchy name and slogan could be found?

CareyHunt Thu 04-Aug-11 10:51:18

Hmmm hmm . I don't think anyone likes the idea of being told how to parent.

The issue for me would seem to be that parenting is not valued. It's all well and good suggesting that children need healthy meals/ reading to/ talking to (obviously I agree that they do). I just don't know how this fits in to a society that only places value on career progression/ financial gain.

Parenting, particularily 'good' parenting as is outlined in this article, is a time-consuming and skilled role, and should be valued as such. It doesn't seem to me that the present government value parents or the job of parenting. The emphasis seems to be on providing (not necessarily high quality) child-care or nursery places so that parents can get back to doing 'real' jobs, and then when things go wrong it is blamed on poor parenting. If the quality of parenting a child receives is so important in determiming outcomes, both educational and social, then surely we need to ensure parents are able, financially, to do this, and also to ensure that there is a degree of respect afforded to the role; no more 'just a SAHP'.

EdithWeston Thu 04-Aug-11 10:51:59

Oh - and my inner pedant hates the drafting of "talk with" when the unmarked British English is "talk to". If they are seeking to over-interpret "to" beyond the normal, unmarked meaning, then a change of verb is indicated.

GypsyMoth Thu 04-Aug-11 10:58:36

So the government have taken away the higher earners child benefit, to give straight back to poorer families, as an 'incentive'.

CaptainNancy Thu 04-Aug-11 10:59:41

Why exactly would poorer parents need to be incentivised????
Do they mean people with poor parenting skills or people without much income? confused

HipHopOpotomus Thu 04-Aug-11 11:02:01

The five a day campaign has been a success - everone knows what that means re fruit and vege. I think it wld be a shame to use the same name- dilute the 'brand' so to speak?

HeatherSmall Thu 04-Aug-11 11:07:58

I would not get involved with such a scheme because it does feel patronising tbh and I think the people it's aimed at would either rebel against it or just fall through the net just as they have with sure start.
The ones who need this kind of checklist simply shouldn't be having or keeping their kids, simple as.

drcrab Thu 04-Aug-11 11:08:30

Isn't this just the same stuff that sucessive govts have been trying to shove down people's throats, guised under something else?

I agree with BodyofEeyore - the parents who really need such guidance will not care or attend or do anything like that; and the other parents will feel nannied, and working parents will feel more guilty (and have less money since child benefit etc is being cut). argh.

twinklypearls Thu 04-Aug-11 11:11:14

I have no real problem with my child benefit bring used for this but I do not see how incentivising parents with cash would work. I would like to see my child benefit used to pay for parenting courses etc.

I think it is sad to say so but something like this is needed.

HeatherSmall Thu 04-Aug-11 11:12:16

If anything we need to remove the incentives for having children, if you aren't prepared to pay for them yourself and bring them up properly out of love then you should not be receiving a penny. I know it's not that simple it never is but the bottom line is the worst parents are the ones receiving the most from society. Where's the reward for being brilliant, perhaps if your child gets to 21 without SS/the police and the school being involved we could get some sort of cash bonus.

Chandon Thu 04-Aug-11 11:13:42

patronising busybodies.

If you want to stop all these parents who are unable to parent properly to have children, stop giving poor teens an incentive to have children and instead give them an incentive to find a career (scholarships, bursaries etc.).

I am sure there are great teen mums. I am sure there are crap MC parents. But on the whole why-oh-why in Britain are the poorest and least educated people encouraged to have children? Why?

MumblingRagDoll Thu 04-Aug-11 11:15:51

I think some parents need them and others do not. Those that do, need to be identified early on.

Chandon Thu 04-Aug-11 11:16:39

cannot believe I just said that, I have become so right wing blush

I wish that poor girls (and boys) from deprived areas would get funding for education (vocational, academic, whatever suits them) so they can become independent. Now that would be money well spent!

twinklypearls Thu 04-Aug-11 11:17:09

I have worked hard to ensure that I can have children without claiming any benefits but I recognise this is not possible or even to be encouraged for everyone. I would not want to deny anyone the chance to have children because of economics.

As for the worst parents being the ones who take the most. I was a single parent on benefits, I struggled and attended patenting classes - they worked fantastically. I would say that during the period after parenting classes but while I was still on benefits I was a wonderful Mum - probably a better mum than now as I am always working or thinking about work .

HeatherSmall Thu 04-Aug-11 11:24:06

I have no objections to mums on benefits, that's not the issue at all, most people need them at some point in their lives.
However those on long term benefits need directing towards education and the well being of the family and i'm not convinced that happens at the moment.
If you claim to be a single mother then there ought to be compulsory educational courses in life skills if you need them or a couple of A Levels if you don't but being sat on your arse is simply not an option. These centre's could provide a healthy cooked meal and be ducted from the benefits as you aren't cooking that day etc. Great use for school buildings after 4pm. I bet it would solve a lot of the living with partner fraud too if you had to turn up at a centre every evening and weren't there to cook the old man's tea grin

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