Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It Takes the Government to Raise a Child?

In the UK, "[a] network of around 80 "super nannies" is being set up by the government to show parents how to control their unruly children." This seems like bad joke, but it's not:

Super nannies are to be despatched to estates in Norwich and Yarmouth to curb the bad behaviour of troublesome youngsters. Police and family support agencies in Norfolk have welcomed a £4m government plan to send experts into homes in 77 troubled areas of England to help families raise their children. Under the scheme, parents worried about their child's behaviour will be able to get help in the hope the youngster will be better behaved and have a happier childhood. Frontline staff tackling anti-social behaviour will call on experts to provide help to families with parenting classes or on a one-to-one basis.
Does anyone really think this is a good idea? Who are these "experts" and what will they be teaching? I'm a little afraid to find out.

UPDATE: I suppose this all could have been interpreted as an innocuous waste of the government's time. But apparently the people behind it are serious about it:

Parents could be forced to go to special classes to learn to sing their children nursery rhymes, a minister said. Those who fail to read stories or sing to their youngsters threaten their children's future and the state must put them right, Children's Minister Beverley Hughes said. Their children's well-being is at risk 'unless we act', she declared. And Mrs Hughes said the state would train a new 'parenting workforce' to ensure parents who fail to do their duty with nursery rhymes are found and 'supported'.

I have a sense that the Brits are going to think twice about this once they see it in operation. It's just a matter of time before a government official does something outrageous, and maybe then the scheme will come crashing down.

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