Response to article: Teaching teenagers parenting skills will encourage teenage pregnancy:
Teaching children parenting skills is not the same as encouraging teenage pregnancy and although the fact it is necessary to give 14-year-olds compulsory parenting lessons is a sad reflection of our times, it is one of the better initiatives to be instigated by the present government.
It is not easy to be a parent in modern world of the 21st century. We are seeing an increasing percentage of new parents who have no direct experience of having been parented by a full time parent themselves. Part of the instinct to parent – to intuitively know what your child needs and act upon it appropriately – develops as a result of the parenting received. Advances in technology and speed of social change over the last 50 years have resulted in a range of time saving devices, which allow parents more time for other activities but reduce the physical time parents actually spend engaged with their children. Children are not miniature adults. Children’s brains have evolved to develop in the context of physical interaction with the environment and social engagement with the primary source of love. This involves time spent together, shared activity and a climate of firm and consistent discipline over the course of many years, the early pre-school years being particularly important. While the majority of parents still do a good job, we are in danger of raising a generation of youngsters for whom remote parenting and entertainment have been normal. It is vital for society in the future that the next generation of parents grow up understanding the biological and developmental needs of children. Far from encouraging teenage pregnancy, a better understanding of the sheer hard work involved in parenting might serve to delay it.
Sally Goddard Blythe