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Why Would a Parent Need a Parenting Class? Dispelling the Myths Surrounding Parental Development.

by Margaret Bell | October 19, 2016

Life is journey – sounds like a cliché but it is true. We grow, we develop, we learn, we nurture, we foster within us a sense of growth, of adventure and of responsibility. These are the fundamental truths of life learned as we go.

As children and young adolescents, we hold the belief that time itself is the key. We think that – when the day comes when we get our finances in order, progress along a career path, or handle a mortgage and raise children – we will simply know what to do. We believe it will all fall into place. The passage of time and the experience that comes with it will deliver us the tools we need.

Part of the tragicomedy of growing older is the realisation that this is just not true. While experience plays its part, there is so much more to learn about life, and additional resources are often required to accomplish this.

The Myth of the Natural Parent

This is why parenting classes are so important. Recently, I spoke with ABC’s Matt Wordsworth on the network’s Lateline Program. We looked at former UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s proposal for national parenting support and coaching throughout Britain, and how these plans were shot down by opponents critical of his alleged ‘nannying’.

It is a pity that such a positive proposal is greeted by so negative a response, particularly when the potential benefits are so great.

Australian society is changing. Within the last 25 years, the percentage of males of working age currently in employment has stayed roughly the same, while for women it has grown significantly, narrowing the traditional gender gaps in the workplace. As the average Australian family now has two dependent children, this underlines the juggling act that families must undertake on a daily basis, balancing the necessary work-focus with the responsibilities of raising children.

Modern Support for a Modern Age

Rather than representing a move towards a ‘nanny state’ and the images that phrase can conjure in the minds of people, governmental support for parents is a positive step towards safeguarding the future of our society. In modern Australia, this is more than a desirable contribution from our governors; instead it is a necessity.

Chain Reaction Foundation is able to provide parenting courses free of charge at our Centre in Western Sydney, Mt. Druitt Learning Ground. This is thanks to the support of a generous benefactor who enables us to offer our services to those that need them most. Cost is always going to be a factor for parents, who often find that their resources are stretched to the limit as it is. Because of this, we would like to see direct governmental assistance for programs like ours across Australia, giving all Australian parents the access to this sort of support.

And, of course, it need not – should not – end here. We are living in the digital age; organisations in advertising, healthcare, education and a wide variety of other fields are all flourishing online, utilising the technologies afforded to them by modern society. A socially-responsible attitude to parenting should be no different.

Until our government is willing to offer the same level of support to parents, we will struggle to grow and develop as a society as we race against the clock in the digital age. What do you think?

Margaret Bell, AM - Founder and CEO of Chain Reaction Foundation.

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Image Credit and Video Interview here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-16/panel,-margaret-bell,-dr-david-hawes-and-georgina/7854334

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