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BBC: Prime Minister Offers Free Parenting Classes

David Cameron, Prime Minister of the UK, has put party differences aside and really gotten to the root of the general people. Cameron focuses his time on the general public and their happiness, rather than financial woes, and has been a large part of improving teaching standards in the UK.

Cameron is very relatable because a huge part of his political identity is that of being a family man. With his wife Samantha, they have had four children. Thus he knows first hand what it’s like to be a parent, and the struggles that go along with it.

The couple actually lost their first child to medical difficulties and one of his daughters was born prematurely. Cameron can truly identify with the parents of the UK. Although he received negative coverage for taking paternity leave after his children’s births, I think many parents can understand the need.

Cameron’s new focus has evolved from support for teachers to support for parents. Despite criticism of a “Nanny State” and that it’s a waste of tax payers money, he recently announced a £5 million initiative called “CANparent.” His plan will support parents with children under age 5 by offering free parent education and advice. Parents will be able to use up to five £100 vouchers at supported organizations that provide parenting classes.

Parents and those with careers in childcare have access to these vouchers, which they can pick up at a local drugstores, children’s centers, community centers, and schools. There are plenty of supported local classes during nights and weekends. The classes are 8-week sessions, which is a lot of time to gain support and seek advice. Parents can also use the vouchers for online and phone support as well as one-on-one sessions.

One of the supported organizations is Parenting UK. It is a membership-required Web site with an incredible amount of resources like online videos, forums, consulting, various publications, and much more.

They go over everything from actually cooking a meal together as a family to establishing routines to sleep issues. Also covered: behavior, nutrition, and proper development.

Cameron was quoted saying,

“I would have loved more guidance when my children were babies. We’ve all been there when it’s the middle of the night, your child won’t stop crying and you don’t know what to do.”

Not only does Cameron think all parents should receive parenting vouchers, but also tax breaks for childcare. The courts can also require irresponsible parents to take these classes.


Why do parenting classes and asking for help have such a stigma? We go to classes to learn to be better cooks, dancers, students, etc. What is the big issue parents face in asking for help when it comes to their children? It doesn’t mean admitting failure, it means actively seeking ways to work through common problems that arise with almost all children.

Do you think it will take more than vouchers to create better parents? Would you take advantage of free parenting classes if they were offered in the US?

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Speaking of Marriage

Winifred M. Reilly, M.A., MFT

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