David Cameron has been defending his new parenting classes and the new £3.4 million digital site for parents, arguing that, “It’s ludicrous that we should expect people to train for hours to drive a car or use a computer but, when it comes to looking after a baby, we tell people to just get on with it“.
Having had two babies under different governments I don’t think I was ever told to ‘just get on with it’. I may have been lucky but along the way I had heaps of help and advice offered to me from midwives, health visitors, my GP, not to mention the hundreds of leaflets I was given along the way at midwife appointments. And that’s before I read books and scoured Google for even more help with things like colic, weaning and potty training.
So while the new NHS Information Service for Parents is a relatively good site, offering a range of information, it’s not offering anything new or unique, or anything that other parenting sites don’t already offer, which makes me think it’s a waste of money. As for the offer of free £100 vouchers at Boots for parenting classes to address issues like behaviour and diet, that just feels like sticking a plaster over a knee that needs replacing.
If the PM really wants to help parents he should put money into the issues that really affect family life. Issues such as good, affordable childcare, tax credits, long term support, better schools, more chances for mums to work part time and for us all to earn a decent income. It’s these things that will help parents cope, not vouchers for classes, or websites telling us what we already know.
But what do you think? Are you in favour of the above classes? If not what would you like to see the government doing for you right now? Let us know.