Monday, October 17, 2011

A trio of Liberal Democrat initiatives for Parents' Week

You know how it's the fashion these days in restaurants for them to give you not one delicious morsel on a plate, but three? Well, it's the same for the Liberal Democrats and Parents' Week.

First of all, Nick Clegg's message for Parents' Week, emphasising that we recognise that all families have different needs and we want to give them the tools to arrange their lives in the way that best suits them.

Secondly, Sarah Teather's initiative on Parenting Classes in England. This is all very good stuff. My only concern is that I would like to see a balance between discipline and boundaries, which are crucial to any child's successful development, and the need for responsive parenting in the very early days. This review of Sue Gerhardt's excellent book "Why Love Matters - how affection shapes a baby's brain" gives a good explanation as to why. Those regime orientated parenting methods which advocate leaving babies to cry have longer term effects. Flooding a baby's brain unnecessarily with powerful stress hormones is not a good thing.  I hope Sarah's read the book - and if not, I'd be happy to lend her my well worn copy.

Thirdly, and my favourite, I think, is Lynne Featherstone fearlessly standing up for family friendly policies to Tories who would happily sweep them away in an instant.

No doubt I'll get a fair bit of grief from Anna when she sees this. She already has enough trouble with the concept of Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day. She thinks that's unfair when children don't have their own day. My defence is that children are our top priority every day, including Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day but she's having none of it. The idea of parents having a whole week to themselves will make her apoplectic.

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