BBC BLOGS - Have Your Say
« Previous | Main | Next »

How important is good parenting?

09:23 UK time, Monday, 31 January 2011

Lord Northbourne, a crossbench peer who speaks regularly in the House of Lords about education and children, invited you to join a debate about the value of good parenting.

 

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash Installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

 

In the first project of its kind between the House of Lords and the BBC, your responses were sought in advance and informed a debate on the subject in the House of Lords. Lord Northbourne has also taken part in a live webchat. You can read his comments below in grey.

Lord Northbourne argues that standards of education, as well inequality in society can both be addressed by focusing efforts on the first three years of a child's life.

Speaking in advance of his debate, he told the BBC "I hope this debate will lead the government to endorse the proposals that we teach life-skills and parenting skills at all stages in school."

He went on to say: "Only a serious focus on the foundation years will improve educational outcomes and in so doing reduce inequality."

How important is good parenting for under three-year-olds? What are your views on parenting in early childhood? Are you a parent or a teacher? What effect does parenting have on a child's success in school? How can excluded or disadvantaged children best be supported in the education system?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

 

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    I imagine the house of lards will be fascinated, given that most of them use nannys.
    May we have a serious look at the protests currently happening in England, bbc?

  • Comment number 2.

    Well, this subject really seems to have caught our imagination....

  • Comment number 3.

    I have written extensively on this subject.

    See:

    http://www.scribd.com/oakwoodbank

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm a parent of a well behaved, polite, hard working 15 year old young man. He is all these things because I believe in the right discipline at the right time. Routines were established from day one. Tantrums were not tolerated, discipline was instilled and a smack given when needed. I'm very proud of what he has achieved so far despite being diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome when he was 8.

    Parents are made to feel guilty about how they bring their children up no matter how that may be. I'm not afraid to admit that | administered corporal punishment when I thought it was needed and having seen some spectacular public tantrums by obnoxious brats, others should consider the same.

    As for teaching parenting skills in school - what a waste of my tax - they're there to learn academical subjects. Besides, how can you change the attitudes of a young person who is already lost to poor parenting themselves?

  • Comment number 5.

    How important is good parenting for under three-year-olds?

    Could you please define "good parenting"?

  • Comment number 6.

    I think good parenting is critical for young children.

    A loving home with boundaries so they learn early on what is acceptable behaviour. We used to reward good behaviour and ignore bad behaviour so our children soon learnt that "acting up" did not get them more attention. Consistency is important and not letting children play one parent off another. When our children were young my husband and I rarely used to disagree about parenting but if we did we would talk about it in private and come to a compromise so the message to the children was consistent. As they got older open discussion was more the order of the day so they learnt that things are very rarely black and white. This also helped when discussing such subjects as peer pressure, sex, relationships etc. They also realised that sometimes compromise is needed in life.

    I think part of being a good parent is spending quality time with your children, having fun, playing games and reading books or just taking them out on walks, trips to playground, library, swimming etc. Our daughters are now grown up and thankfully seem well adjusted and are hard working and respectful and considerate of other people so hopefully we have not done too bad a job.

    Something I learnt over the years that the effort you put into bringing up children is rewarded many times over as they grow up. Putting good "building blocks" into parenting reaps results as they grow older although I accept that circumstances for some make this very difficult. Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world but also the most rewarding.

  • Comment number 7.

    Raising an issue such as this for public debate rather suggests that those in power lost the plot a long time ago.

    Our culture, standards of behaviour, discipline and respect have sadly deteriorated in recent times. They are now at such a level that many parents genuinely believe that the responsibility of looking after their children rests with another. It is only too apparent that decent, caring parents rear equally decent, caring children.

    Maybe the debate needs to be tackled from another angle. Will it consider the matter of single parents bearing children mainly to get social security benefits, and not giving a damn about where they are or what they're doing every night? I have the impression that the absence of a responsible father is half the trouble.

  • Comment number 8.

    what is wrong with parent management of a child under three years of age for a house of lords representative to take an interest? Is it fashionable? Is it about single parent management,double female management or double male management.Custom and practice breaks even in the first three months of a childs life when the need to go shopping is a must,the car comes first,then the car seat,then the child, strapped into rigged position classified as safe by motoring associations while travelling at speeds up to seventy miles an hour,a good start you might say in introducing a child into the world of government responsibility of children under three years of age,all to do with good parenting.

  • Comment number 9.

    Good parenting is essential if we are to produce decent human beings - but of course that is why so many of the so called upper crust turn out to be such lousers, they get dumped in the arms of a nanny and then shipped off to boarding school and finally get recruited into the ranks of the Young Conservatives. In that part of society parental love and care is measured in terms of a signature on a cheque to pay for a parental substitute.

    Really good nurturing of children occurs only when a parent or parents make a sacrifice by devoting themselves full time to the proper provision of a loving and caring home.

    Fail to do this and your kids too could end up drunk in the gutters of the West End.

  • Comment number 10.

    Children who are raised by parents who teach them to be polite, considerate, caring, helpful, respectful, diligent in their work, aiming to achieve their best and turning out to be thoroughly decent and admirable young people......condemn them to being bullied, lonely, taken advantage of, sidelined and excluded when they go to secondary school and, even more so if and when they go to university. Their children will always be at the back of the queue for everything in later life. They will be discriminated against when applying for university places or jobs because their politeness and manners mark them down as privileged and undeserving.

  • Comment number 11.

    How important is good parenting?

    You really need to ask this? But here goes. Two parents - one bringing home the bread and one looking after the home and both bringing up the children.

  • Comment number 12.

    Good parenting starts with a parent being at home when the children come home from school. This is the exception rather than the rule these days, but it definitely shows in the child's behaviour. My local park is full of kids from 3-30pm until about 6-30pm still in their school uniforms, smoking & generally behaving badly because nobody is at home to give them a warm welcome.

  • Comment number 13.

    Good Parenting is critical.

    But good parenting means skilled parenting - and needs to be applied full time for the first three years with a full time parenting course during pregnancy.

    Too many people think good parenting is pandering to every whim of the child. Yet it is a complex mixture of Love Understanding Control and Freedom with attention to detail.

    I used to teach Mother Care to fifth formers before the academic GCSE usurped the practical subjects. It was certainly appreciated by the girls who in later years came back to show me their offspring and discuss problems.

  • Comment number 14.

    The House of Lords are unable to know what good parenting is all about as they never bring up their children. They have nannies until they send them off to boarding school. It's therefore little wonder that they have to ask us - the great unwashed - how to do it. It's therefore a shame that they will get a plethera of conflicting ideas and suggestions. Ultimately though - how can anyone answer the question? Everyone thinks they are a good parent.

  • Comment number 15.

    12. At 9:52pm on 31 Jan 2011, Davesaid wrote:

    Good parenting starts with a parent being at home when the children come home from school. This is the exception rather than the rule these days, but it definitely shows in the child's behaviour. My local park is full of kids from 3-30pm until about 6-30pm still in their school uniforms, smoking & generally behaving badly because nobody is at home to give them a warm welcome.

    = = = = = = =
    Hate to point out this is supposed to be focussing on pre - three year old - who do not go to school.

  • Comment number 16.

    People would have nicer lives if they weren't taxed so much and this country hadn't been run into the ground by the former administration. What does Lord Northbone have to say about that? What was he doing whilst Brown and co were destroying the economy? Did he honestly think that Brown was doing a good job because a large proportion of the country didn't think so, even the FBI claimed his tenure was a mess. Why did the Lords not speak up? There aren't many questions on this forum so hope you don't mind me asking a few.

  • Comment number 17.

    "How important is good parenting?"

    Absolutely vital if - Parents expect their Child to succeed in life...

    Adequate and regular 'educational communication' between Parent & Child right from Birth - is crucial. The success of the Child from Nursery and right through the School years depend on this.

    The best way for Children to be ensured this neccessary help, is for Councils to set up a Group of 'Assessors' to visit all Children on an ongoing basis, from Birth to Nursery School. Any Children found to be 'wanting' at this stage, should be helped then - it is too late to 'remedy' their problems once they start proper School.

    There is no doubt in my mind, that the vast majority of Children receive inadequate guidance from their Parents at the crucial early stage. Any Parents found to be failing at this time should be 'Trained' or Fined.

    Yes, there are some Children who possibly have Medical, genetic or Mental problems with 'learning' - but I'm positive that the vast majority of these Children have their Parents primarily to blame for their inadequacies.

    We need a 'back to Basics' approach to raising our Children in the early years - and far less PC interference which seeks to leave Parents free from their basic responsibilities in the raising of their own Children.

    We must no longer pander to the 'Nanny-State' mentality that - in return for votes - takes over the TOTAL responsibility of raising our Children.

  • Comment number 18.

    IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT! As my father said to me when he came home from BURMA in 1947 having not seen me since I was born in 1940. Give me a child until it is 5 years old and i will train him or her to be a good well behave child, which will stay for its life. only once did i ever get a tanning from him. The trouble these days, the problem goes back to the parenting from the '60's and 70's when mothers wanted there freedom and own money. Children became latch door children. NO parent at home until late. it was one thing I saw all the time i lived i the south of London.

  • Comment number 19.

    Duh

    how important is breathing air ...

    how important is it to eat ...

    how important is it to drink ...

  • Comment number 20.

    Does this question really need to be asked?

  • Comment number 21.

    The first three years of a child’s life are critical. In this I would agree with Lord Northbourne. So is the ability to be able to put a roof over a families head. The problem nowadays is that the two are quite often incompatible.

    I am old fashioned enough to believe that one parent at home to raise children and look after the home is as important, if not more important, as earning a good wage and having a career. The problem is that house prices are such that normally both parents have to work to be able to afford a home. Thus both parents go out to work and the children are left to child-minders and nursery schools.

    What have successive governments done about this? They have looked for schemes to make child care cheaper so that both parents can to go out to work. What a topsy-turvy concept... being able to afford to work!

    When a friend of my daughter was asked what she did she described herself as “only a housewife”. What she actually did was to look after two children, take them to school and perhaps most importantly, provided an atmosphere of love and safety for them to come home to. “only a housewife”? A far more important job I would suggest than her husband’s (whatever he did for a living).

  • Comment number 22.

    11. At 9:38pm on 31 Jan 2011, Sue Doughcoup wrote:

    How important is good parenting?

    You really need to ask this? But here goes. Two parents - one bringing home the bread and one looking after the home and both bringing up the children.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    The only possible answer, this debate could run forever and you wouldn't get a more definitive answer.

  • Comment number 23.

    I am a psychotherapist and mum of 3 and have spent seven years studying parenting skills. Parenting is crucial, but it is not always as straight forward as it appears. We all have our own unconscious drives and prejudices to contend with and it can and does affect the way we approach parenting. Although on the whole, boundaries, good behaviour, good social skills and manners are to be welcomed. A good and well behaved child is not always the result of good parenting and it is possible for parents to 'create' well behaved children who in later life develop mental health issues.

    Parenting is more successful when parents are able to adapt to the changing needs of the child as the child grows and develops. There needs to be a healthy balance and acceptance of all types of emotions including the less palatable ones.. jealousy, anger, hatred as it is easy to scapegoat children who display character traits that we as the parent find difficult to tolerate and don't wish to accept.

    I believe that one of the main problems in society today is the lack of value that being a mother has in society (she is not deemed important enough to sign off on a passport despite giving birth to and raising the future generations who might need one!) Career is seen by most as more important than the boring, monotonous and rather menial task of raising children and many people do not value a task which holds no financial reward or promotion prospect. Mothering is hard, exhausting, emotionally draining, and lonely at times and it is far easier decision to go out to work than deal with the relentless and frustrating job of dealing with the difficult, rude and emotional little darlings at home. Parenting is hard and in a materialistic world, unrewarding.

  • Comment number 24.

    Would Lord Northbourne claim that it was not only birth right that made him a peer, and that he is in the Lords by virtue of his knowledge of the ordinary family in the street (and soon to be on the street if the Tories get their way).

    But there is something a little refreshing about a man who appears to know something about both Bonds and bonding. It is just a pity the Lord doesn't have three jobs to maintain, a child in a poor school, a belligerent absent father of the child, and rowdy neighbourhood gangs. And no great accolade from his Lordship when the mum turns out a perfect young adult against all the odds.

    But that genes for you.

  • Comment number 25.

    Is there anything MORE important than good parenting?

    Surely good parenting from the very begining leads to every thing else: Respect, ambition, moral and just values etc

    Yes there are influences outside of the parent's control and you have to deal with those as they arise, but if you can do well for your child from the start, one can hope they do well for themselves later.

    Don't forget that good parenting should not stop once the child goes to school, they are still YOUR children.

  • Comment number 26.

    There is nothing more important. There is no social ill in this country that can't be placed squarely at the door of useless parents - not just financially stretched parents, but over indulgent middle class parents, immoral and addicted parents, selfish parents, bone idle parents. We will never reduce child poverty unless we address the inadequate start some children get and the chaotic or undisciplined homelife many have to endure. If they can't speak, socialise, hold a knife and fork, use a toilet, sit still and listen before starting school, they are already left behind. Being a parent is far more demanding than most people realise (Super Nanny shows well meaning and intelligent people getting it so horribly wrong, but they are so easily steered back on course). The problem is - who will do the parenting classes? If it is to be woolly thinking liberal social workers, the problem is likely to get worse.

  • Comment number 27.

    22. At 07:59am on 01 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    11. At 9:38pm on 31 Jan 2011, Sue Doughcoup wrote:

    How important is good parenting?

    You really need to ask this? But here goes. Two parents - one bringing home the bread and one looking after the home and both bringing up the children.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    The only possible answer, this debate could run forever and you wouldn't get a more definitive answer.

    ______________________________________________________________________________
    Agree 100%, and would add that it doesn't matter in the slightest which parent is at home, just as long as someone is doing the job.

  • Comment number 28.

    I think good parenting is essential at an early age, my toddler is a very happy and well behaved young girl who is treated fairly, spoilt on occasions and has been taught right from wrong as much as is possible to teach a 19 month old and will continue to be taught as such. I do however believe that you could be the best parent in the world for the first three years, but following that is just as important, if its something that isn't then maintained, the child can grow up to be just as badly behaved as one who hasn't enjoyed a good upbringing from an early age.

  • Comment number 29.

    I am amazed at the lack of response to this debate. 29 instead of the usual 500

    Rather indicates no-one actually cares. No wonder so many children wander off the rails.

  • Comment number 30.

    It is far more complex than good parenting for three years. It is about the whole social model that we grow up in and the quality not only of parents but the wider family, the community and society as a whole. There has to be leadership both activity and wisdom based and there has to be a recognition of the individual within those social models.

    Our socio-economic model currently works against most of those things and children get good parenting and development where people have managed to resist the demands and the influence of the wider society and have built something that their DNA already understands. Generally the state interference at best confuses and in many cases makes things worse.

    This is the point, that if we are allowed to function then we will impart these lessons anyway and that children will get what they need because we are free to give it.

    Imagining that the problems such as they are can be solved through yet another version of 'citizenship' in school is entirely missing the point. It is like putting a junkie through cold turkey and then sending him back out to live with junkies. You have to actually change the society for the better. Point the good ship humanity in the right direction and it will do the job.

  • Comment number 31.

    Studies show thar a child that hasn't had love in the first two years, will never be able to love. The first years are everything!!!

  • Comment number 32.

    Parents are the most important influence on a child's future prospects. Children learn at a phenominal rate during their first three years. If a child knows love, respect and the value of hard work then they have an excellent chance of living a comfortable and happy life. If they do not have these things they are at risk of falling into a life of crime and the depression and sadness that goes with it.

    I'm sure I'm not the only person who noticed that the 'bad' kids in my class on day 1 of infants school were the same ones who were a nightmare in secondary school and ended up with no GCSEs. You can talk about school discipline all you like but school disciplne only works on kids who value school, just like the legal system only works on people who value our society. These values come form parents and can only be learned elsewhere in the rearest of circumstances.

  • Comment number 33.

    "How important is good parenting for the under 3's"?

    Recommend post 23 @ 08:27am on 01 Feb 2011 - 'Louisa White Thompson'.

    Moreover, if you are a first time parent the pressure/fears and inexperience are all-consuming. As the mother, your head may be all over the place with hormones fluctuating and physical recovery from labor and delivery.

    Modern human evolution, in some Western societies, and increasingly in emerging Asian economies, has over-run the inbuilt primal needs of the mother and her infant?

    Yes, having a baby is 'normal/natural' but that doesn't mean it should be so traumatic for the mother and baby? England's NHS, for example has a rather 'disappointing' record on over-reliance on low cost midwifery and shortages of pediatricians when complications occur?

    So, for the Lords debate - gestation, labor and delivery experience for mother and infant needs to be seriously reviewed. When mother and infant are allowed to suffer over-long labor it invariably leads to prolonged difficulty with bonding of mother and child that may continue from birth to beyond 3yrs.

    More respect and compassion for mothers during labor in hospital from midwives and more doctors on call for complications, or over-protracted delivery.

    Better care from Health Visitors 'at home', rather than box-ticking visits.

    In conclusion, what I am trying to say, is that good early parenting should not be exclusive or disassociated to the effects/experience of the labor or delivery experience of the mother and her infant.


  • Comment number 34.

    I think first define good parenting. If good parenting is the parenting that leads to 'good children' (whatever they are) then I guess if 'good children' are important then so is good parenting... seems a bit circular.

    What are we after? I guess different things.
    I want a child capable of questioning, thinking, deciding and doing.
    The 'system' wants a child that obeys instruction - preferably without thinking - so just does what they are told.

    The question is, are the people currently protesting in Egypt, or those who protested against the tuition fees good or bad? This is normally answered depending on whether they win or not.

  • Comment number 35.

    is this a real question?

    is good parenting important? really?

    no its not important kids should be allowed to run riot obviously!!
    if your doing "good" parenting then your obviously doing a good job?

  • Comment number 36.

    5. Dave asked, post #5: "Could you please define "good parenting"?

    ** Heh heh ... not, I hope, as defined by politicians.

    Careful with this one, otherwise some "peer reviewed" paper will be produced followed by some bill, passed (on the basis of said peer review) into law which will dictate to us how to raise our children.

    All children are uniquely different individuals and there is no "one size fits all."

    Governments don't understand this, which is why, when they take control of our children five days a week for a dozen years or so all are taught the same thing in the same way, regardless of individual characteristics and regardless of whether what is taught is of any real usefulness or even true.

    Or maybe they do understand which is why teaching is as it is. Education destroys learning while enabling indocrination.

    Seems to me, a parent's job is to prepare children for adult life and this is best achieved, to a great extent, via leading by example.

    I think the majority of parents set a better example than any government.

    I mean, how many parents lead their children into unemployment, debt and war?

    Parents, generally, want what is best for their children, the same can not be said of governments.

    Governments impose limitations via fear and authoritarian rule.
    Parents remove limitations via Love and active encouragement.

    Best the politicians be advised to keep their noses out of our private/domestic affairs and attend to other matters.

  • Comment number 37.

    34. At 12:25pm on 01 Feb 2011, anotherfakename wrote:
    I think first define good parenting. If good parenting is the parenting that leads to 'good children' (whatever they are) then I guess if 'good children' are important then so is good parenting... seems a bit circular.


    Not circular at all - either good parenting leads to 'good children' or it doesn't.

    What are we after? I guess different things.
    I want a child capable of questioning, thinking, deciding and doing.
    The 'system' wants a child that obeys instruction - preferably without thinking - so just does what they are told.


    Rubbish. It sounds like your version of questioning and thinking is to be unable to accept any rules or advice, and end up self-obsessed and unemployable.

    The question is, are the people currently protesting in Egypt, or those who protested against the tuition fees good or bad? This is normally answered depending on whether they win or not.

    That's not the question, and it's not related to this HYS.


  • Comment number 38.

    Good parenting skills are by far and away the most essential skill for all adults to acquire, whether or not they’re parents. If that sounds a bit strange, you just have to reflect on the fact that this nation’s children are its future, so all of us, parents or not, have an interest in how these children grow up, and whether they become responsible, competent and law-abiding adults, and good parents in their turn.

    There are many problems in our approach to parenting which need to be sorted out now– such as the early sexualisation of children, the focus on material values, the way we allow children to squander hour upon hour in front of the TV, DVD or computer games rather than interact with them ourselves, and their poor diets /obesity. WE are the grown-ups here and WE should be taking responsibility for what happens to our children in childhood.

    In my view, there is far too little debate in this country about what it means to be a good parent and how to raise a family successfully. Far too often, because it’s dead easy to have a family, we think parenting must come naturally too. And the truth is that it doesn’t always. Decades of social research show that people tend to copy the parenting style that they grew up with, even if their parents were abusive and aggressive. People often don’t like to hear that but it happens to be true.

    I’m the mother of a 9 year old boy, and he is on the whole very well-behaved, loving and thoughtful. We have never hit him (smacking is a mere euphemism to make it appear more acceptable). Never. Not even when he was a baby. Of course he isn’t an angel, but we’ve always paid more attention to his good behaviour than his bad behaviour and as a result, he’s delighted us with more good behaviour. It’s our firm belief that parents lead wholly by example, and hitting children is not the example to set.

    It seems to me that if parents are denying their parenting responsibilities (which many of them seem to) then we have no option but to allow the state to intervene by putting ‘parenting classes’ on the school curriculum. Everyone has a stake in this society, so if you’re one of those parents who don’t like being told how to parent, that’s just tough I’m afraid. If you’ve allowed yourself to become a parent, YOU and only you are responsible for how your kids turn out, whether you like it or not.

  • Comment number 39.

    NOT getting it's ears pierced and dressing it up, styling it's hair and generally turning it into some kind of mini-me, designer labelled, accessorised, suntanned, clothes horse-cum-trophy would be good parenting. Some of the poor kiddies I see in Swindon whos parents have adulterated them on some fast track to Chavdom are pitiful. Not a great start in life to mutilate a child with ear piercings when it doesn't have the ability to say "NO!!"

  • Comment number 40.

    Good parenting is important and especially in the early years. However, the government seems intent on forcing single parents back to work when the children are younger and younger. Also parents of special needs children are often left without sufficient support. For example the children individually don't meet the criteria but if you've more than one no account is taken of the joint burden of care. There is also no half way house on support between high levels of support and no support because the lower levels of support level the children don't meet the criteria but the support is still needed just not the same level of support. The government needs to help and support and encourage parents to be good parents and that is not simply about making sure every family has someone in paid employment unless the child or children get middle or higher rate care component of the DLA (DLA I have heard is going to be scrapped anyway and what about those who are not so disabled or the parents don't know their child has it (with High Functioning Autism and Aspergers Syndrome with young children especially this is highly likely to be the case even if they know something is wrong that doesn't mean they will know its something that can entitle them to DLA and are more likely to be focusing on trying to find out what it is than DLA forms). Unfortunately, support requires money and the Sure Start Centres much of the support that has existed so far for families with under 5's is provided through are closing due to budget cuts. Forcing people back into work has the potential to save money in the short to medium term because they can get money from their wages in income tax but if forced back into work to the detriment of their kids society will be left picking up the tab (financial and otherwise) for kids who's parents didn't have time or the right support to parent properly in the long run. Even special needs children can be children who'll grow up to benefit society not simply be a burden potentially but with conditions like Autism, etc early intervention, such as helping the parent to learn to adapt their parenting and the right support and so on, can make the world of difference to the outcome.

  • Comment number 41.

    " How can excluded or disadvantaged children best be supported in the education system? "

    To answer this question maybe we need to look more at why they are excluded or disadvantaged in the first place, then we can support them to become included and less disadvantaged.

  • Comment number 42.

    The first few years are critical to the development of children. Communicating between parents and their children at a young age aid social and intellectual development. When I see parents (both fathers and mothers) pushing their babies whilst listening to their MP3 players or talking on their mobiles, totally ignoring their babies, then I despair. There is no connection between parent and child and so the child's development suffers. Sure, pointing out "car" and "tree" to one's child whilst pushing them may not be intellectaually challenging for the parent but the child benefits and the smile they give you back is priceless.

    Since it became the norm for both parents to work then neither has the time nor inclination to do what parents used to do and put their child first. Parents amy kid themselves that they are sacrificing themselves to give their children a better upbringing but it is the simple things that matter at this age, not skiing holidays or games consoles. Children will be better off with parents sacrificing their time not outsourcing their upbringing to people who do not and cannot acre like a parent should.

    Remember: no-one says on their death bed: "I wish i'd spent more time in the office"

  • Comment number 43.

    I suppose being a Lord he will think its only poor children with bad parents.

  • Comment number 44.

    At 10:18pm on 31 Jan 2011, john3626 wrote:

    People would have nicer lives if they weren't taxed so much and this country hadn't been run into the ground by the former administration. What does Lord Northbone have to say about that? What was he doing whilst Brown and co were destroying the economy? Did he honestly think that Brown was doing a good job because a large proportion of the country didn't think so, even the FBI claimed his tenure was a mess. Why did the Lords not speak up? There aren't many questions on this forum so hope you don't mind me asking a few.

    --------------------------------

    I think you're right to wonder why all these so-called politicians keep quiet on so many more important issues affecting the population right now.

    Good parenting? I'm not sure we're allowed to be good parents in this country anymore - good parenting means being able to discipline and control children...all of which rights were taken away from parents we can't win because we're damned if we do and damned if we don't.

  • Comment number 45.

    As a general rule decent parents breed decent children and numptys breed more numptys - two things could help --

    1. Use common sense instead of all the "Human Rights" nonsense which is forever being quoted re: childrens"rights".
    2. The opinion of elderly toffs from la la land regarding the parenting skills of real people should be treated with the respect which they deserve !

  • Comment number 46.

    I think a parents obligation is to instil sound morals in our children, preferably by example not compulsion.

  • Comment number 47.

    I would imagine the Jeremy Kyle show answers that question quite well.Condoms were created to prevent a generation like we have now.It was not all about S.T.Ds you know?,It was about preventing people, who all too often are unfit to own a dog let alone a child from pro creating.Give em loads of benefits, let them have loads of credit,let em live and feel like the working middle class,keep em quiet on the estates and keep their votes coming in.There was no allowance in their master plan for good parenting being a requirement in bringing up a family.Just keep voting for us to maintain your comfy,irresponsible lifestyles.

  • Comment number 48.

    Children need fathers. Very few have that nowadays. Even those households with 2 parents often have a mother and male mother's assistant, not a real father. So cowed are the men by the threat of the slightest disagreement becoming grounds for divorce and the ensuing property "settlement". (You see them, the "middle class" ones, walking two paces behind the buggy in supermarkets).

    Parenthood is defined now as motherhood, so those fathers who are poor second mothers, or assistants, are deemed poor parents. No one seems interested in true fatherhood or asking what it might be.

  • Comment number 49.

    42. At 2:07pm on 01 Feb 2011, Jason Mead wrote:

    "...When I see parents (both fathers and mothers) pushing their babies whilst listening to their MP3 players or talking on their mobiles, totally ignoring their babies, then I despair...."

    ____________

    Well said! I am agree.

  • Comment number 50.

    Good parenting is what Nanny does. then off to prep school.

  • Comment number 51.

    I hate to say it, but I feel the majority of new parents do not cherish their kids but see them as an inconvenience, holding them back from the lifestyles promoted in 'hello' magazine or other gutter press rags!

  • Comment number 52.

    I'm equally disdainful of people claiming "modern children" need to be disciplined more, and likewise those who would wrap them up in cotton wool.

    Parenting should always suit the needs of the child. Anyone who has decided how they are going to treat their kids before they have had children should quite bluntly not be allowed to have children.

  • Comment number 53.

    As post #10 so clearly states; to be arrogant, obnoxious, self-seeking and often aggressive to the point of violence are now seen as positive traits.

    And the media helps solidify these traits in the subconsciousness of the moronic masses with pantomime-like televisual dramas.

    Sadly, we are devolving societally to the point where common decency is seen as old fashioned and weird. People now demand respect, yet respect must be first gained.

    And no amount of round table discussions from a bunch of arrogant, obnoxious, self-seeking, "do ask I say - not as I do" pseudo-patriarchs will change this.


    You do indeed reap what you sow.


    Thanks!

  • Comment number 54.

    As so my previous comment, I meant:

    "And no amount of round table discussions from a bunch of arrogant, obnoxious, self-seeking, "do ask I say - not as I do" pseudo-patriarchs will NOT change this."

    But you get the point.

  • Comment number 55.

    Asking this question highlights how sad things are in our country. The 'pink' media who have immature, narcistic agenda, will never understand this as they are in the whole, not parents and will, in many cases, never become one.
    Good parenting is VITAL for the health of our children and for the long term health of our country.
    I am sad to see very poor parenting skills and an immature, feckless attitude by many. The nanny state has left many irresponsible parents blaming everything that goes wrong with THEIR lives and THEIR children on the state.
    More must be done to break the cycle of state dependency that blights this far too many in our country. Assisting THE CHILDREN as early as possible to counter the state dependent drug and showing them there IS another path to LIFE, is essential.

  • Comment number 56.

    Couldn't give a damn, in fact this country is so determined to tell us what good parenting is, I'm surprised we are not brainwashed in School. I dare say I wasn't a perfect father but I worked all my life paid all my taxes and am now paying for the failure of the state by supporting one child through university so that he doesn't have a big debt. But then again we live in England and I'm getting Angrrry because Scottish children in Scotland ( which is still British) don't have to pay. Every where I look there's a Mc in charge of every thing. My son in law who has been laid off by his new company can't find work in a country which has been denuded of skilled work and has no chance against the low paid imported workers who work in a different economy. Frankly I am fed up with people telling me how to do things- they should go and get their own Haynes manual and leave us mere mortals to our own devices.

  • Comment number 57.

    27. At 10:04am on 01 Feb 2011, Raymond Hopkins wrote:
    22. At 07:59am on 01 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    11. At 9:38pm on 31 Jan 2011, Sue Doughcoup wrote:

    How important is good parenting?

    You really need to ask this? But here goes. Two parents - one bringing home the bread and one looking after the home and both bringing up the children.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    The only possible answer, this debate could run forever and you wouldn't get a more definitive answer.

    ______________________________________________________________________________
    Agree 100%, and would add that it doesn't matter in the slightest which parent is at home, just as long as someone is doing the job

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Surely by this defenition the best parents would be a couple on the dole, devoting all their (work)free time to the bringing up of their children.
    Not been a roaring success has it?

  • Comment number 58.

    Why is this even a question?
    Of course kids go off the rails when they have lazy, ignorant parents that don't spend time with them or raise them to have decent values.

    Decent parents = decent kids

    Rubbish parents = chavs, junkies and miscellaneous scum

  • Comment number 59.

    I am the parent of 4 well behaved children who are hard working , attentive and compassionate people. They are all doing well at school and there are currently no issues, i appreciate that could change. However we have made a concerted effort with our children to ensure that they are aware of not only their rights but also their OBLIGATIONS what is and is not socially acceptable behaviour and how to treat others with respect.
    My children do not hang around on the streets, they do from time to time play with friends but they are always supervised. Everything my wife and i do is always seen as socially acceptable behaviour, I drink whiskey 1 glass with the news at 10, If i was to get drunk every night whilst watching the tv, passing out in the chair my children would of course see this as socially acceptable and normal behaviour. I am a pacifist If i were aggressive with anyone my children would receive the message that it to is acceptable and how you act in society.

    It aint rocket science son!.
    Want a child to grow up to be a plumber as a parent take them to work with you in school holidays get them to help out passing a spanner or two and engage them. Want a child to grow up to be an ______________(fill in your own adequate expletive) behave like one around them.
    Oh and cross your fingers that the nice friends they had in the first yr secondary school don't turn out to be Argumentative aggressive @#*&'s. And ensure you have explained to them that being present when unacceptable behaviour occurs and they do not speak up against it that they are also an accessory to it.
    No you didnt shoplift chuck but bob did and you were with him therefore you also broke the law too. As i said its about RESPONSIBILITY we are all responsible for the society we have it is not an abstract thing outside it is you my children and I , eeek sounding like Cameron, never a good thing when you have to quote a politician but we are a very big society and its about time people took responsibility for the actions that we allow to happen through complacency and indifference. There can be no SOCIETY without SOCIALISM and without SOCIAL INTERACTION.

  • Comment number 60.

    How sad that we need to ask this question.

    Two scenarios comes to mind, both on busy commuter trains where child in buggy is viewed with horror by other passengers, while they try to unwind from horrendous day at office and wonder how noisy their journey is going to be.

    First child is sitting facing blank wall. Mum is texting. Child starts crying. Is ignored. Crying gets worse. Child is shouted at "I'm doing something, now shut up". Mum continues texting. Child whimpers.

    Second child Mum realises she cannot put child so it can see out window. She has story book, which she quietly reads to child and shows child pictures in book. Peaceful journey.

    Why anyone should think a small child should just have to sit in a noisy, hot carriage staring at a blank wall and not become frustrated, I have no idea.

    People seem to have forgotten that putting the child's considerations and needs first does not mean that they are being spoilt.

  • Comment number 61.

    47. At 3:01pm on 01 Feb 2011, peevedoff wrote:
    I would imagine the Jeremy Kyle show answers that question quite well.Condoms were created to prevent a generation like we have now.It was not all about S.T.Ds you know?,It was about preventing people, who all too often are unfit to own a dog let alone a child from pro creating.Give em loads of benefits, let them have loads of credit,let em live and feel like the working middle class,keep em quiet on the estates and keep their votes coming in.There was no allowance in their master plan for good parenting being a requirement in bringing up a family.Just keep voting for us to maintain your comfy,irresponsible lifestyles.



    I agree we should perhaps encourage the crown to take family planning classes and use birth control as we can no longer afford to subsides the wealthy, or pay for second home allowances for multimillionaires who own 3 propertys already but somehow feel the need to claim for a 2nd home in london, eh mr cameron.

  • Comment number 62.

    57. At 3:15pm on 01 Feb 2011, paulmerhaba wrote:
    27. At 10:04am on 01 Feb 2011, Raymond Hopkins wrote:
    22. At 07:59am on 01 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    11. At 9:38pm on 31 Jan 2011, Sue Doughcoup wrote:

    How important is good parenting?

    You really need to ask this? But here goes. Two parents - one bringing home the bread and one looking after the home and both bringing up the children.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    The only possible answer, this debate could run forever and you wouldn't get a more definitive answer.

    ______________________________________________________________________________
    Agree 100%, and would add that it doesn't matter in the slightest which parent is at home, just as long as someone is doing the job

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Surely by this defenition the best parents would be a couple on the dole, devoting all their (work)free time to the bringing up of their children.
    Not been a roaring success has it?



    The important phrase is "devoting all their (work)free time to the bringing up of their children". They don't do this for the same reason they are not in work: they have an inability to take responsibility and apply themselves to something (anything) other than their own needs.

  • Comment number 63.

    VERY !!! Followed by Good teachers ...

  • Comment number 64.

    CladinBlack wrote:
    Good parenting? I'm not sure we're allowed to be good parents in this country anymore - good parenting means being able to discipline and control children...all of which rights were taken away from parents we can't win because we're damned if we do and damned if we don't.


    Every parent has the right to discipline and control their children and the only right parents have had taken away from them is the right to abuse their children.

    If you need to beat your children to get them to behave then this is a reflection on you and not your children, if you're not able to raise your children within the current legal framework then this is your fault and not the governments.

    Stop making excuses for poor parents; children need love, guidance and discipline they do not need to be beaten up by adults, especially those adults who are supposed to be protecting them.

  • Comment number 65.

    What a load of rubbish!!!. All the years of a child's upbringing need to be focussed on, not just the first 3 years. That's why we don't want cuts in school building programmes, and affordable further education courses in higher education.

    What we don't want is an elected body of people trying to tell us how to bring up our children - nanny state anyone!!

  • Comment number 66.

    Once again with this thread the BBC has plumbed new depths of inanity. If people are ignorant, lazy or inept enough to think the only contribution they are required to make to their roles are parents is sex and getting their kid on Jeremey Kyle when the whole thing has gone badly awry, they should have their parental responsibilities removed and be left in charge of nothing more impressionable and vulnerable than a used teabag. This country has spent decades punishing CHILDREN for the inadequacies created by the behaviour of the adults in their lives. Treat people under 16 as Children and not as slightly undersized adults - and treat the adults in their lives, be it parents/guardians or teaching staff as the culpable persons when things go wrong. Provide tuition for parents (and educators) who are inadequate in their roles. Implement a series of laws which punish those who refuse training and assistance. People who think good parenting is allowing their teenagers to be out without their or another responsible adult's supervision after dark is guilty of neglect and they should be subjected to the full force of the law.

  • Comment number 67.

    How important? VITAL

    I have an excellent example of two young men brought up in a poor single parent family in one of the worst boroughs in London, the UK even. Those two men are educated and employed and NOT part of any street gangs, yob culture or any of that related behaviour because of one woman - their mother.

    And i don't believe the nonsense that 'beating' your child makes a psychopath - corporal punishment is sometimes neccessary and works. i've seen the results myself.

    Far to often do people confuse physical chastisement with physical abuse.

  • Comment number 68.

    As has been mentioned previously, pretty much every single social ill in this country can be put down to bad parenting. Whether it be a feral hooligan terrorising his neighbourhood because his parents don’t care, or a self-obsessed, overindulged toff buying an education at Eaton, buying a place at Sandhurst and then dressing as a Nazi at a fancy dress party.

    The problem is that parenting has slipped down the list of priorities for far too many families. Much of this is down to financial necessity, but there is also a huge problem with people popping out kids with little regard for anything than their next welfare cheque. Sad though it is to admit, parenting is all too often no longer a skill passed through the generations and some basic standards need to be taught and these basic standards need to be maintained.

    Parenting isn’t rocket science contrary to some opinion. All it requires is love, support, discipline and the teaching of a few basic skills and truths. E.g. how to cook, how to clean, where babies come from and that the world is a harsh place that doesn’t revolve around you.

  • Comment number 69.

    Good parenting is essential, kids need a routine. Give them this and they start off on the right track.

    However, good parenting comes with having money to support them as well. The current government seems to be cutting families to the bone in every walk in life, and adding to the enormous pressure already in place just trying to survive. So I think this HYS should say 'What can families do to support their young ones whilst the Governemnt cuts the legs from under the parents' Thats more the reality!

  • Comment number 70.

    Good parenting is also far more important than having good teachers or even going to good schools. though schooling gives kids the social and academic skills, i think good parenting is the key to a child's comprehension of both

    My brother and i could read well above our age levels when we were kids because we read at home, the same with maths. It is that simple and i think can be extended to other aspects of education and social interaction.

    One only has to talk to a primary school teacher away from school (socially) to hear how kids are being failed by their parents first and foremost - sometimes leading to the problem of being beyond the point of salvation from a primary teacher with 30 kids

  • Comment number 71.

    It is well known that the first three years of a child' life are critical to its development, this is not news, it's been known for very many years. The problems are that many parents simply cannot afford to give that time up as many need two incomes to get by and, sadly, there are also a significant number of parents who are just simply unfit or unwilling to provide their children with the pre-school mental stimuli and care and attention that is optimal.

    As already mentioned, the term 'good parenting' requires very careful definition and covers a whole range of life skills that many parents don't necessarily possess! Ask a hundred people how they would define 'good parenting' and the chances are that you'll get a hundred different answers!

  • Comment number 72.

    When I was brought up my Mother and Father were there for me and taught me very quickly 'right from wrong.'
    If I decided I didn't want the meal put in front of me, I learnt very quickly that until I ate it I wouldn't get anything else.
    Probably sounds very 'harsh' to all the modern do gooders out there who think children have rights and should be allowed to 'express' themselves; in other words do as they want without retribution.
    These days as well, the chances of kids being looked after by their parents 24/7 is probably zero because they want to be out working and not bother with the kids until the evening time if the kids are lucky.
    Discipline and knowing where my boundaries were did me absolutely no harm at all and to be fair, most of the kids I have the pleasure of instructing every week in the Cadet Forces, would vote for more discipline in Schools and at home if they had the chance.
    But the debate is about good parenting, my question is and always will be, where did it go? Why do some parents (not all) just abdicate their responsibilities these days and leave the kids to 'do their own thing.' No one should need 'teaching' how to be a good parent, it should be 'natural.'
    If people make the decision to have kids, they should look after them, not expect everyone else to do it for them because they want the 'job' to be first or, dare I say it, expect the tax payer to provide?

  • Comment number 73.

    Of course good parenting is essential that is common sense, but that does not mean good parenting is the same for each children. It is in the results and there is no handbook on parenting as all children are different. I also do not agree with teaching children at school how to be good parents as they do not know where they will be once they have left school or know their situation. Children should be children and learn academic subjects and parenting should come from their own parents. You cannot regulate all aspects of people's lives otherwise that would be communism. Gosh what a waste of time this debate really is.

  • Comment number 74.

    It is no coincedence that ever since polititians started to poke their noses into how we bring up our children.Like everything else in this country it has ended up in disaster.

  • Comment number 75.

    There answer that i'm sure many on HYS will have already mentioned by the time by comment is posted - a good balance of love/care and discipline/boundries...but that's the obvious answer.

    It seems the one significant issue is being able to keep a 'handle' on your child/children. The excuse that many parents of badly behaved children give is that they 'can't control them', also asking 'what am I supposed to do...keep them locked up 24/7?'.

    The question should be - why do these badly behaved children ignore and disrespect their parents by not following their commands? Why is it that many children listen to their parents and respect their decisions while some don't?

    Unless you can prove that a child has a specific medical disorder, such as ADHD, that accounts for their behaviour (to an extent) you have to keep coming back to the same conclusion...it must be something to do with their upbringing.

  • Comment number 76.

    Hello everyone, thank you for your comments so far. Lord Northbourne is here now to speak to you on this subject and will try to respond to a number of the points you have raised ... so please keep your questions and comments coming.

  • Comment number 77.

    Good parenting is essential, and the earlier it starts, the better. As an education professional, it is clear to me that some of the students with whom I work did not have good parenting in earlier years, which is usually why they end up with me in the first place. Parents do often try to correct this in later years, but find it extremely difficult to undo the conditioning of the early upbringing.

    Whilst nurseries and schools have the obligation to facilitate personal development in babies, toddlers and children, they are not the child's parents, and therefore should not be primarily responsible for 'parenting' the children at their school/institution. Parenting classes for those parents who struggle to cope should be increased, it's far better to ask for help if you can't manage, rather than let the situation deteriorate. Best of all, however, is to decide before the child is born how you are going to parent it, administer discipline etc and then get all involved in the child's upbringing to agree to it. Consistency is key.

  • Comment number 78.

    65. At 3:35pm on 01 Feb 2011, drcarol wrote:
    What a load of rubbish!!!. All the years of a child's upbringing need to be focussed on, not just the first 3 years. That's why we don't want cuts in school building programmes, and affordable further education courses in higher education.

    What we don't want is an elected body of people trying to tell us how to bring up our children - nanny state anyone!!


    If a child enters state schools unable to communicate verbally at a reasonable level, to understand commands and constraints on acceptable behaviour, to even be toilet trained (who really benefits from these pull up pants for 5 year olds?) then they cannot participate in their education as readily as those who can do these things. If, because of this, the costs to the state of correcting or mitigating the consequences of these shortfalls becomes high, then they and their peers cannot get the education we are all paying for. If later, criminal behaviour is a consequence then we, the state and its citizens, incur further costs and lack of economic contribution from these children as they become adults. That is why the state has a duty to intervene as these early years are critical to successful outcomes in later years. As the brain has (I am told) largely become wired up in these first few years then getting it right then pays dividends later.

    Whilst many seem to resent the state interfering in their childrens' upbringing, they seem to want the state to interfere sufficiently to provide free childcare so they can work.

  • Comment number 79.

    Lord Northbourne: "Thank you @Daryll. I'm going to ask you a question. How can parents know how to bring up their children, if they themselves did not enjoy a secure and caring upbringing? My answer to your post is that I prefer to think in terms of boundaries rather than discipline. All the evidence suggests that children are happier and feel more secure if they understand that there are boundaries to behaviour. It is interesting that in a recent report by Ofsted entitled Twenty Outstanding Primary Schools in Disadvantaged Areas, an important factor common to all of these schools, was clear boundaries to behaviour, kindly but rigorously enforced. This gave every child a sense of security and self-respect."

  • Comment number 80.

    65. At 3:35pm on 01 Feb 2011, drcarol wrote:
    "What a load of rubbish!!!. All the years of a child's upbringing need to be focussed on, not just the first 3 years."

    You're right in some respects...BUT you need to ask yourself 'what happens in the first few years of a childs life that is so important?'

    The answer is actually quite simple - if you instill discipline into your child at a young age, along with the right balance of love and care of course, you're child will respect the decisions you make for them later in life.

    It doesn't mean you don't have to bother being a 'good parent' later in their life, it just demonstrates the necessity to get this discipline instilled as early as possible, hence - 'the first 3 years are the most important'.

  • Comment number 81.

    i am not a parent so cannot really comment on my own experience of raising them but if i take two sets of my close friends, one couple with 2 under 5 yrs old - the husband works in a good job, wife works 1 day a week as a teacher , they may struggle financially a bit but want to see children grow up first hand and their children are polite, funny, gratefull and respective. another couple we know both need to work long hrs just to keep food on table, they have one child and maybe spend 2 hrs a day with him before dropping at child minders and then in the evening another hr, that child is non stop hard work...tantrums and everything that goes with it. i think in order to have well balanced children the parents them,selves should raise and not a minder or creche, but sadly in the uk most people would be bankrupt if only one parent working.

  • Comment number 82.

    Studies done by linguists do appear to show that the first few years of a child's life are the most important and once a child reaches a critical period it becomes harder from them to pick up basic socialisation such as talking etc.
    I think that parents play an extremely important role in the upbringing of a child. I am so thankful for what my parents have done for me in teaching me how to become the person I am today and supporting my and giving up time to help me acheive what I have acheived so far.
    I also think that parents are important as I think it helps to be a good parent to your child if your parent was a good parent to you; whilst each child is different and so each parental experience is different is it always good to have had that role model to follow.
    The thing with parents is you don't always realise just how good they were for you until later on; I know it sounds cliched but at the time it just seems like they are there to make your life a misery and stop you doing stuff but eventually you realise it always was for your own good.
    However, it is important to remember that this is all generalisation and each case is different. Parents are not the be all and end all; it is possible for children who's parents were perhaps not there for them to break the mould and to still be successful and to be good parents themselves.

  • Comment number 83.

    Lord Northbourne: "Thank you @Total Mass Retain (comment 78). I think we need to draw a distinction between interference and intervention. Intervention needs to be available when parents and prospective parents want it, otherwise it won't be effective. Two important stages are: first, teenagers at school who are interested in finding out about what it is to be an adult and the responsibilities of family life and parenthood. Second, around the time of the birth of the first child, when mothers - and very often fathers - are keen to do their best for their child and want to find out how they can achieve this. Two of the key suggestions in the Frank Field report relate to offering help at these critical points.

  • Comment number 84.

    Lord Northbourne: "Well done @Nic121 (comment 80). I entirely agree. This policy is often known as 'tough love'."

  • Comment number 85.

    How important is good parenting? About as important as having lungs for breathing. What an asinine question. I do despair of some of the topics here at times.

  • Comment number 86.

    81. At 4:09pm on 01 Feb 2011, surfingkenny wrote:
    i am not a parent so cannot really comment on my own experience of raising them but if i take two sets of my close friends, one couple with 2 under 5 yrs old - the husband works in a good job, wife works 1 day a week as a teacher , they may struggle financially a bit but want to see children grow up first hand and their children are polite, funny, gratefull and respective. another couple we know both need to work long hrs just to keep food on table, they have one child and maybe spend 2 hrs a day with him before dropping at child minders and then in the evening another hr, that child is non stop hard work...tantrums and everything that goes with it. i think in order to have well balanced children the parents them,selves should raise and not a minder or creche, but sadly in the uk most people would be bankrupt if only one parent working.


    But surely one reason two parents need to work is because an "arms race" developed over the past 20 years or so. People decided they wanted to take on bigger mortgages to fund new cars, new furniture, multiple foreign holidays etc so they needed both in a marriage to work. When children came along they were not prepared to cut their living standards so both kept working. This caused house and other prices to rise making it even more necessary to have two incomes to provide essentials.

  • Comment number 87.

    Lord Northbourne: "Hello @Nina (comment 73), thank you for your comment. What about the children though, that have not been lucky enough to enjoy the experience of good parenting in their own childhood? What we have to do is to try and break into this cycle of disadvantage which is blighting the lives of some of the most unlucky children in our society."

  • Comment number 88.

    I didn't expect to see social engineering under this government.
    But if they do insist on doing this they could do worse than to look at role models in the media and consider what can be done to show that selfish behaviour by definition is bad for society and how a caring society is good for us all.

  • Comment number 89.

    Lord Northbourne makes an interesting point -

    If a person has not received a suitable upbringing themselves with clear bounderies...who teaches them how to be a 'good' parent? If nobody has taught them, how are they to know what a 'good' parent is?

    It's easy for us to real off a whole list of good traits that a parent should have because we learnt by the example of our 'good' parents.

  • Comment number 90.

    At 05:23am @CoeurDeHamster (comment 21)wrote:
    When a friend of my daughter was asked what she did, she described herself as "only a housewife."

    Lord Northbourne: "I agree that our society places too low a value on dedicated parenting, but we do have to realise that there are many people who have problems which prevent them from being able to stay at home as full-time parents."

  • Comment number 91.

    Is it just me but does it strike anyone else as somewhat patronising for an institution where many of the inhabitants spent their formative years in boarding fee paying schools or in the charge of employed nannies and whom used the same system with their own children, pontificating on the importance of parenting skills amongst the general population.

    Perhaps they should stick to subjects they have some knowledge on such as tax avoidance and shooting small animals!

  • Comment number 92.

    It would probably be cheaper and more effective if we just didn't have kids in the first place. Instead of investing in parenting classes, why not invest in contraception, abortion and life opportunities so people can do something with their lives apart from breeding?

  • Comment number 93.

    How important is good parenting? - Very.

    What are the chances of being well parented? - Slim.

    Who needs to be involved as a role model? - Everyone.

    Whose fault is the whole system? - Everyone's.

    As has doubtless been espoused in many different ways, there is no discipline taught in schools so children are growing up without respectable role models, and when they have children of their own, the early years find those children without a good parental role model, for the most part. This is a viscious circle that needs a stick stuck into the spokes to stop the momentum. We don't need to have corporal punishment. We don't need to smack. What we do need is to educate our children properly, without political interference, in all areas so that they understand the joys and burdens of parenting and are prepared prior to birthing. They should also, hopefully, be erudite - literate and numerate - and knowledgeable about where to turn for help and advice. I'd also like to see closer family units, but that is a Utopian view and will not happen until travel becomes too expensive again.

  • Comment number 94.

    First define good parenting - I assume this means those producing children acceptable to society.
    What is acceptable? Those that sit quietly, do exactly what they are told, obey every rule, watch quietly while the rich cosy up to each other, awarding each other more and more pay and bigger and bigger bonuses (see the news) while the rest of the country is left to a worsening standard of living (according to the govenor of the Bank of England, and several ministers), huge unemployment (30% of the working age population - ONS), rising taxes and falling services?

    Perhaps this is more acceptable to society than students that protest, people taking to the streets in Egypt etc. etc. etc. but to me its not.

    If you - as society - want me - as a parent - to bring up my child to let others trample him then tough luck. If you don't want him on a street corner then provide him with a job - its not difficult (I can tell anyone how to fix the UK economy in a month). If you don't want him mug old ladies then let him have a reasonable standard of living and a future thats better if he's not in jail than it is if he is. At the moment I am thinking of committing serious crime as being 'inside' offers a better standard of living than I have now!

  • Comment number 95.

    I was bought up in a single parent household, and I am sad to say that my parent was incapable in many respects of rearing a child. Unfortunately, this lack of expertise led to frustration which ultimately led to my abuse.

    It is vital for parenting to be good for a child to have a chance at life. Anything that can be done to help parents who are struggling will ultimately help the child. But I think we also need to face facts. There are people in the world who will never be capable of raising children, these people should never be allowed children. Perhaps we should be requiring the ability to pass a basic parenting test before someone is allowed children? Such a thing would be seen as a pain by most but would have saved children like myself and others.

    I also see a lot of examples now of bad parenting around where I live, where it is clear the parents do not care about the children and let them roam the streets all day.

    I also disagree with the generalisation Lord Northbourne has made about knowing what makes a good parent. I was not bought up very well at all, however I have had enough experience in life to know what it means to be a good parent. I just need to do the opposite of anything my parent did!

  • Comment number 96.

    You do not have to be a psychologist to know that all children, what ever age need parameters; this gives them stability.
    All children whatever age need love; This gives them security and confidence.
    BUT you do have to be a good parent to give the above!!
    Looking back, the one thing I have realised from my childhood years is that, love, patience and fair play are the building blocks of good character and moral values.

    Yes I do have children.

    If you do not have children, please do not comment or we will be here forever reading all those smug, contemptuous, holier than though, how to do it properly, children are brats, remarks!

    Did you know 99% of forums and blogs are filled with sarcastic, biased, or hate filled remarks or comments.
    Did you know that.00001% of them are even read!
    So just what is the point?
    Are YOU a waste of space?
    Or do you want to impart something of value?

  • Comment number 97.

    Dear Lord Northbourne
    I am a founder of Netmums, an online community set up to support parents. We recently launched a Real Parenting campaign calling on Government, media and parents themselves to recognise that they don't have to aim to be perfect, and that Good Enough is exactly that. Parents put a lot of pressure on themselves and that can lead to loss of confidence and low self-esteem which is in turn disadvantageous to children.
    Many of us feel that we’re not doing enough if we aren’t able to read with them before bed or if we give in to fussy children who want jam sandwiches at lunch!
    As parents, how do we know the difference between ‘good enough’ and 'not quite good enough'. Surely this is where, as a parent we should be focussing and if we feel we are on the wrong side of the line should we seek help? What would encourage us to seek help? What support should be available (on what might seem like minor issues to health visitors or Children’s Services)?
    This is something we are exploring ourselves at the moment, and it would be very interesting to hear your views.

  • Comment number 98.

    Lord Northbourne: "Thank you john33 for your earlier comment (71). You've raised an interesting point about the definition of good parenting. Of course all children are different and parents must adapt to their child's specific needs. However, most children share many needs. Frank Field proposes a "Life Chance Indicator" in his recent report entitled A New Strategy To Abolish Child Poverty. This would be a way of measuring how successful we are in making life chances more equal for children both at national and local level."

  • Comment number 99.

    I think that we have to very careful about what factors actually define good parenting simply because so many aspects have to be considered. Both my grandparents had families of 13 children and in both cases the children all grew up to become well adjusted and responsible adults. Many of the sons in both families fought in WW1 and the daughters took on a wide variety of jobs before getting married. That was their lot in those days and all the daughters were skilled at cooking and household activities in helping their mothers. Of course I wasn't around in those times but I gather that family life was harmonious if not easy and money was usually short.
    Todays parents have a totally different set of circumstances with which to cope and very few families are even half a dozen in number. It is still very important for both parents to instill love and respect within the family and no amount of wealth on its own can bring about true happiness. Good parents should try to lead by their own good example in such things as honesty, politeness, kindness and fairness. Children should be encouraged to help in the home and do their best at school.

  • Comment number 100.

    Lord Northbourne: "A couple of you have mentioned the role of fathers. Yes of course, fathers are very important indeed. It is interesting to consider how we can get fathers more engaged in the early years. In this context I recollect recent American research of a survey of unmarried parents holding their first child in their arms. Over 95% of the mothers and a surprising 86% of the fathers wanted to make a go of being good parents to their child together."

 

Page 1 of 4

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.