I’ve watched the last couple of episodes of Born Naughty on Channel 4. The premise is parents whose children are exhibiting unwanted behaviours. The programme brings together experts to analyse the children and parents to determine whether the child is undiagnosed with perhaps autism or a psychological disorder, or whether the parents just need a bit of help to do the job of parenting a little better.
There have been lots of programmes covering the task of parenting and often the general response of the great viewing public is to criticise the parents.
My conclusion is somewhat different. I think all of these shows demonstrate that parents need help and support.
There is very little guidance for parents. You have the child and that’s it. A few visits to a doctor with a smattering of early trips to see a health visitor and it stops.
The focus, as the child grows up, seems to be the child. I recognise the child is important but the parent needs to know how to support their child. Parenting is all too often inherited. If your parents didn’t have to deal with anything out of the ordinary then you’ll never have seen how to deal with a psychological diagnosis or the news that your child is on the autistic spectrum. If you’ve never seen it then who’s going to show you what to do and how to deal with it?
I wonder whether the offer of no strings support for parents who’d just like to know how to get their child to eat more vegetables or stop getting into fights at school or whatever, would make everyone happier and probably stop some issues from building and becoming bigger, more expensive issues to manage.
Just a thought.