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Should parenting classes be made mandatory?

by Vee (follow)
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In 2013, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported that 252,962 notifications of suspected child abuse and neglect were made to state and territory authorities from 2011 to 2012.

Though it may not be widely discussed, child abuse and neglect is still very much a problem.

One way to tackle this issue is to educate communities and provide support to parents and parents-to-be. There are numerous agencies that provide services such as these, but they must be sought out.

Perhaps, parenting classes should be made compulsory. Do you think so?


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I agree with all these comments in so far as they suggest that every parent has different ideas about child rearing and perhaps an inherent ability to raise a child. But, I imagine that there would be benefits from attending such classes where different methods of discipline and conflict resolution would be taught, and parents made aware of the different developmental stages of a child's physical and emotional growth. These classes would also provide a physical space for parents to share their own ideas and experiences and provide each other with support. Friendships could also be formed and opportunities for personal growth would abound - at least, that is my opinion.
by Vee
I also believe that there is always something to be gained or learned, even if it is simply validation of one's own ideas and approaches. To suggest that nothing could be gained from these classes is a bit arrogant, I think.
by Vee
I don't think is should be made mandatory. Despite the statistics, the parents that fall into this category are in the minority. It is not right to treat everyone as suspects of possible child abusers. There is also the fact that not every parent can afford such classes, and if they are made free, then it means more money out of the tax payers pocket. Then there is a question of time. How many parents have the time to attend these classes?

It should only be made mandatory if the parent is known/suspected to be failing at childcare. I do, however, think that it might be good if it were mandatory for teen mums.
I am a big fan of education of any sort and I always think that it is a dangerous stand to take when you declare to know all there is to know on a particular subject. We can all improve and grow in whatever task we are involved in.

We learn to parent from our parents which makes it a bit of a lottery really. Great if you had good parents not so great if you don't. The statistics indicate that there is a considerable amount of not so good parenting going on.

What concerns me even more is the volume of incidents which haven't been reported. In all likelihood they will exceed the reported events. Our society is really quick to talk about the rights of children but then becomes incredibly uncomfortable about 'intruding' into a family even when it is evident things are not right.

I can't see the harm that it would do for parents to be involved in a parenting class at the very least you will get validation of your skill set and the opportunity to meet new people.

It always strikes me as rather odd that we need to be licensed to drive a motor vehicle due to the potential danger to human life. As drivers we will also plan our trips so we arrive at the right destination.

Yet to become parents all we need is functioning anatomy and not a lot of thought. We have many unplanned pregnancies to prove that one!
Wanting to procreate and care for another human being I believe is a natural instinct however the skills to do it well are not so natural for some and I don't think it hurts to support parents with education. I would even suggest rather than wait till people are parents society would be best to introduce pre-parenting/ pre-conception classes so we can give all children the best chance possible.
It could be approached as other adult education in a collaborative way acknowledging the life skills and experience and diversity that each student brings. When we invest in our children everybody benefits and optimum childhood health and well being starts in the womb.
Well said Shelley, I completely agree with every point you've raised and actually cited some of those points in my own comment. There are aspects of parenting which are intuitive, but, like you've pointed out, we tend towards our own parents' parenting styles, which is not always a good thing. It certainly cannot hurt to try a class.
by Vee
No I do not think this should be made compulsory.

I think to some extent it is a natural thing and I do not think you can really teach anyone how to parent as we all have different ideas, and all bring our children up differently.

It is not something that can be taught.

I do not think this would help abused children.
by Finy
Parenting is an experience and you learn at every stage and age.While classes can help and provide pointers, every child is different and I don't think you can institutionalise it.So I don't think it needs to be mandatory.
I don't think classes would prevent many instances of child abuse as most parents love and want their children to do well. You can't teach that, it comes naturally. I would be offended if forced to go through a mandatory course because we all have different parenting styles and no one person is the authority on how someone else is raising their children as long as they are looked after and loved.

I agree with all of the posts so far - it wouldn't stop child abuse. Likewise, Australia a multicultural, religious-freedom nation, so the values and morals which are usually a huge part of parental style/expectations can vary significantly. I think we are already on the right track making certain actions illegal (eg. beating children) and these should be enough to dissuade parents from the basic no-nos without restricting their philosophical beliefs and values.
by kimp
I don't like the concept of mandatory parenting classes, but for some categories of parents, parenting classes would be useful and I believe could stop child abuse through ignorance. I read a recent example of a child that was 'abused' in America. This was not abuse in the typical sense, as the mother in question had not intended to abuse her child, she simply didn't understand how often her child should be fed. She was a teen mother, and she just simply didn't have the tools to look after her child. I can't imagine I would have had any clue about looking after a child when I was 16, so for some parents, I think extra education and classes could help prevent unintentional child abuse. We all bring up our children differently, and there is no one size fits all approach, but certain parents (potentially young or teen mums) might really benefit from safety and basic parenting information that we take for granted. So not on parenthood or parenting style, but basics such as safe sleeping, SIDS, feeding, first aid etc. Rather than mandatory classes, I think a one on one coaching framework would work well. I don't think we ever stop learning as parents, and I enjoy parenting workshops, but I'd likely not enjoy it if I was forced to attend.
YES, because there're way too many idiots becoming parents, & haven't a clue in any shape or form to look after the 'result' of their 'fun'!

Need a Licence for many things in life, but NOT to become a parent? Ridiculous!
Y E S !! We did Mothercare at school in the 70s . . why not keep it up?!
by Rice
That's my thinking. If I had known better, I would have done childhood studies at school!
by Vee
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