Is it time for parents to go back to school?
As the new academic year begins and children and teachers return to school, a topic high on everyone’s agenda is the cause, consequence and lessons to be derived from ‘the summer of riots’, which saw our youth (and many older citizens) take to the streets for an orgy of looting and wanton destruction.
Whilst the debate will continue for some time, the finger of blame is repeatedly being pointed towards poor parenting as a main cause for the recent unrest. A survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the Metro found that the negative factors most affecting youngsters’ prospects were poor parenting (84%) and lack of moral guidance (83%). Schools have also been bought into the ring of blame with calls for more discipline, but interestingly the riots took place in holiday time.
So how do we address the lack of parenting skills and should parents alone be responsible providing the moral compass for young people? If good parenting can be taught, what is the role for education and when should it start?
One glimmer of hope on the academic horizon is the Government’s review of personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education, launched in July. This will look at what should be taught at school such as ‘the importance of positive parenting’ and whether elements of PSHE should become part of the statutory curriculum. Whilst this may go some way towards building a more civil youth and improving their prospects, it still begs the question of whether parents should also be returning to the classroom.
 YouGov poll of 2,075 adults for Channel 4/ITN, August 10-11, 2011 via link