Are we living in the end of times? After all, daily we see news articles of mother’s drowning their babies, teenagers disrespecting themselves and all others, parents forgetting about their children in hot cars, and more. But, does this mean we need to have mandatory parenting classes?
What do the statistics say about the so-called need for parenting classes?
According to a 2011 report called the America’s children: Key national indicators of well-being, approximately:
5 percent of U.S. children aged 4 through 17 were reported as having serious socioemotional or behavioral difficulties, and 21 percent of U.S. children in approximately the same age group were living in poverty
(Download PDF at http://www.childstats.gov/pdf/ac2011/ac_11.pdf)
As a conservative-leaning, libertarian preferring, not-so-vocal pro-life mother, I have to say no, even if there are kids who have difficulties, it doesn’t mean we need mandatory parenting classes for all. Just because someone is in poverty, it doesn’t mean they’re GOING to be beat or neglected. Can we help ensure there’s access to da
y care or that fathers and mothers can split time early on to be at home with the baby, rather than forcing a mother back to work when the baby is just 7 weeks old, causing stress in the family? Can we look at not just ASSUMING a risk means it will happen, and instead focus on rights and responsibilities of people and government?
Here are five reasons I don’t believe in mandatory parenting classes.
- First we’ll look at this basic right of freedom. Nowhere in the Constitution of the United States is there a spot where it says “the state has the right/responsibility to ensure the well-being of all children and in doing so shall ensure all parents take classes to ensure they understand how to take care of a child.” Of course, we do all realize that kids don’t come with instruction booklets, but it doesn’t mean the government should write one. There are already concerns from many that the government is overstepping into individual rights. From health care to government data collection on vaccines – are freedoms of individuals being limited when the government makes mandates?
Differing beliefs (ie, whose values are right?)
- Since the United States is not a nation of ONE belief, it is hard to say that there’s a way to truly teach beliefs on how to parent. Of course, knowledge always changes and no one wants to hear “well 5 years ago the government said eggs were bad and now they’re good” any more than we want to hear “well when my first baby was born, the government-approved child rearing class said co-sleeping would kill my baby, and when my second baby was born that wasn’t in the class.” Right?
- When the government is involved, often there are corporate backers involved. Every one knows most congress persons are “bought” by big companies, so I’m sure that there’d end p being advertisements throughout these classes. Then we’d not just need “baby friendly” initiatives for hospitals but also for government approved parenting classes. I can name a few companies who’d love to be in on writing the curriculum for parenting classes! Imagine “Parenting 101 sponsored by Britax” and “Parenting 102, brought to you by Monsanto” or “Intro to Breastfeeding by Nestle.” As it is, decisions on “approvals” are made based on research conducted by extremely partisan, or “funded” research. Money talks people.
Life, liberty and property (not the pursuit of happiness)
- We’re guaranteed these things right? Life, yes children have the right to life, and parents have the right to make their own choices, but it doesn’t mean government should be determining what we should buy or shouldn’t for parenting. Let’s focus on the UN initiatives for rights of children, and WHO initiatives for marketing of breast milk substitutes before we start ensuring home birth midwives are referring their clients to an approved class since they’d miss the ones at the hospital. Of course, that’s also a slippery slope.
Parenting classes may not work
- Here’s the thing. Plenty of parents are referred to parenting classes and even those who’ve PREVIOUSLY shown they need help in parenting can’t get their kids back, or do get their kids back and aren’t successful. I’m not saying that many of the programs don’t work, but MANY do. But these are parents who specifically were deemed to be IN NEED of services. I don’t see why most parents would need it.
Now, in my generally conservative leaning, keep the government out of my home beliefs, I do see a societal benefit to free parenting classes. The government could offer more parenting classes online or at least ensure parents have a break so they don’t snap. Mothers are forced back to work before they have established a breastfeeding relationship. Moms are back to work while their hormones aren’t “in check” and then they have to deal with guilt because they “have” to work but don’t have child care.
When it comes down to it, there’s really no right way to parent. I don’t like seeing headlines of parents losing their kids because they use marijuana in a state that allows it, only to then have the baby die at the hands of a foster parent any more than the case of the parent who doesn’t seem to realize that parenting IS a responsibility. But, I do believe that in the US, we have freedom. Sometimes people are all-out dumb asses, but do we really need to have ALL people get training for something because a low percentage of people either don’t have a brain or don’t know how to use it?
Note: If you are in need of assistance, reach out. Find a trusted individual and get helps. Don’t be super-woman. You don’t have to do it alone. There is NOTHING shameful about admitting you need help. In fact, that shows strength.