About 12 years ago the government decided that all young people should learn about citizenship. It wasn’t optional, schools couldn’t avoid it, every 13 year old child had to study what it means to be a citizen of this country. Of course, unless you actually give universities time to train the teachers, subjects such as citizenship are always going to be taught by non-specialists. And it is perhaps just as well that universities didn’t invest in training teachers to teach citizenship because it is no longer compulsory and any such specialists would now be very short of work.
This week the Prime Minister has announced that he wants parenting courses to be organised for those who require them. Unlike citizenship, these are not going to be compulsory which does beg the question whether those who require parenting skills will realise that they require parenting skills. And, just as there were problems over who taught citizenship, the issue of who is going to deliver the parenting courses is unclear.
Many parents appreciate that there is no textbook that can instruct them on how to be good parents and may have regarded the PM’s proposals rather sceptically but it is conceivable that ultimately parenting classes could be successful. Maybe the maxim, “prevention is better than cure” will turn out to be correct.
However simply declaring that the UK needs parenting courses is not sufficient and one does wonder whether detailed proposals will be forthcoming. In our view the “cure” is already in place in the form of the UK’s highly qualified family and educational mediators, including those who work for Albert Square Mediation Limited who are adept at helping families resolve their disputes at very reasonable cost. All it needs is for beleaguered parents to embrace mediation and use it as a constructive basis for resolving family conflicts.
Principal Director of ASM PLUS, civil/commercial, workplace, employment, family and educational mediator and trainer with a judicial/legal background. He has knowledge and expertise in dispute resolution in a wide range of areas and disciplines and mediates online.