Please submit your examples of reverse socialisation via the comments. Thanks.
Contact us for the venue
When: Tuesday 15 January 2013, 7pm
There are a plethora of articles and reports on this topic at the moment, here is one:
The next Parents’ Forum is on the 6th September at 7pm. Contact us for the venue.
Alka Seghal- Cuthbert will introduce the discussion on parenting classes. David Lammy in his book about the riots, Out of The Ashes, says “Becoming a parent is one of the most significant experiences in life, but it is also the one we feel least prepared for…It isn’t surprising that half of all parents, across all social backgrounds, express an interest in attending parenting classes”
Can parenting classes be benign? Are they important in a society where wider community networks don’t exist? Or should parents do it for themselves?
A government scheme has been launched today to hand out £100 vouchers for parenting classes. The free vouchers will be distributed through Boots in Middlesborough, Camden and High Peak Derbyshire. Parents will be able to exchange the vouchers for lessons from organisations such as the National Childcare Trust (NCT).
The reaction against them has been that the problem with this scheme is that it is the middle classes who will benefit as they go to Boots and will avail themselves of the opportunity of free parenting classes. Whereas parenting classes should be targetted at those families who really need help.
But I think the purpose of this scheme is to normalise the idea of parenting classes. It creates the cultural assumption that it is something all parents should participate in, and those who don’t are parents beyond the pale. I feel it is akin to putting the fat content or traffic light systems on food- these aren’t just targetted at fat people but it creates a cultural norm whereby we all become obsessed about the content of our food and it just becomes a part of who we are. We start to accept that that is the way we should think and in the end no- one thinks differently, and those who do are stymied.
And so with parenting classes and these vouchers. It feels it is a push towards a world when no-one can imagine having a baby and saying”I know how to look after it.” It will be accepted that the experts need to guide us through this every step of the way, and we will take it on board.
Everyone is talking about social mobility these days. And everyone is identifying that quality of parental input is probably the most decisive factor. Is this true? What is the social mobility agenda – and is it desirable?
Sally Millard introduced.
There has been recent discussion about children as young as 5 becoming anorexic. Are we sending the wrong messages to our children about food? And are they reacting to them?
A friend of mine recently talked to a child who was on a school trip. While she was chatting to the child the teacher in charge rushed up and told the child to stop talking to my friend as it was school policy not to talk to strangers. My friend wrote an excellent article about the experience; http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/10878/.
The next week my mother-in-law gave my children necklaces she had bought on holiday which had their names on it. She said when she was buying the necklaces her friend had warned her against it because if they had their names around their necks then strangers would know their names.
Shortly after I was at a petting farm and park and my children were playing and I was sitting on my own on a bench. A little girl ran up to the bench and she had a big badge with Birthday Girl on it. My instinct was to say hello and ask her how old she was and was she having a nice birthday. I didn’t, mindful of the two incidents cited above. I was conscious that this would be construed as a suspicious act, not a friendly one. I do think it is so sad that adult’s relationships with children have been so poisoned that if we are a stranger to them we know that we cannot connect with them.
Wednesday 13 July 2011, 7pm
The review has sparked off a huge discussion about whether there is a pornification of society that needs to be addressed; or whether there is an increasing anxiety about sex and children, which has nothing to do with pop videos, but has a lot to do with adults own anxieties about boundaries between adults and children.
Dr Jan McVarish will introduce.
There have been a plethora of articles. The readings below are certainly not exhaustive.
Contact Jane Sandeman at firstname.lastname@example.org for Central London venue details.
Had a great Cybermummy 2011.
Thanks to all the bloggers who came to Sue’s sessions on Blogging Essentials and WordPress. Let us know if you want a guest post on our blog, or fancy coming to our London meetups.
Thanks also to @PippaD who live blogged the sessions.
There are many things I dislike about the fact that David Cameron has commissioned Reg Bailey of the Mothers Union to write a report about the sexualisation of children. Not least that this is a panic that has nothing to do with children, but everything to do with the rather horrible way that both parents and children are thought of by a certain section of society (David Cameron and Reg Bailey being two of them).
There is no sexualisation of children. Parents are not rushing around pimping their children, and there is not a plethora of sexual activity within young children.
But the propositions from the report show what the fear is about. The main proposition from this report is that a single website will be set up for parents to report inappropriate images, products and services. According to the reportthe website should set out clearly what parents can do if they feel a product is inappropriate for their children. Don’t we just not buy the clothes if we think it is not appropriate for our children? Do we really need a government sponsored website to tell us how to navigate this particular issue? And isn’t one persons inappropriate clothing something someone else likes?
What particularly makes me mad is the contempt this expresses for parents and children. We can’t be trusted now to clothe our own children- we already can’t be trusted to feed our own children properly. And like the ridiculousness of the moralisation of food (whereby white bread is somehow evil but ciabbatas are somehow morally good) to try and rule between good and bad clothing is equally absurd.
The padded bra seems to get a particular drobbing but as parents of pre pubescent girls will know, is that when they start developing girls do need some protection and also want to protect their modesty by having a little bit of padding over their breasts.
I think as parents we should react against this constant intervention into our choices and our childrens choices about what we should and should not do.