The UK government plans to commit significant resources to strengthen British family life by offering new parents training in how to best take care of their children. Prime Minister David Cameron said that making such resources available to those who needed them was long overdue, pointing out how “ludicrous” it was that typically people received more instruction on driving a car than raising babies.
The program, which will cost the government £4.3 million is launching on the web today, and welcomes parents to sign up online for email and text messages for parenting tips deemed useful by the NHS. In addition, the funding will also be made available for free voluntary parenting classes and even relationship counseling to help those overwhelmed by the demands of newborns deal with inevitable stress and fatigue.
Although nothing has been made public, statements made by Cameron have observers predicting that another family-friendly initiative on the horizon will offer families a tax break for child care such as nursery school tuition or hiring of a nanny.
Mr Cameron, who has been stung by criticism that his policies have alienated women voters, said that the plan for parenting classes was not a manifestation of the “nanny state” and sought to preempt criticism that the Government should be focusing on the economy, by declaring that parents “shape” society.
“These are the big, gritty issues,” he said.
An influential study found that 85 per cent of new parents wanted more practical help on how to care for their babies, he added.
Although the Internet has a lot of website dedicated to helping new families, the information is often contradictory and occasionally even medically counterindicated. Since the government sponsored Service for Parents will be overseen by the National Health Service, any tips offered will be medically vetted and will contain advice to get mothers and fathers through the pregnancy, the birth and beyond.
Videos, which can be accessed on smart phones and tablet computers, include help with relaxation techniques and messages from young fathers encouraging other men to attend the birth of their children.
The digital information service, which has been nicknamed “digital baby” in Whitehall, will also send tailored information to parents at different stages during pregnancy and their baby’s early childhood.
In response to the PM’s announcement, The Daily Telegraph ran a poll on their website asking if the readers agreed with Cameron’s view that parents occasionally need a helping hand, or whether they believe that government shouldn’t interfere in the relationship between parent and child. Nearly 70% of the respondents saying that parents should be allowed to bring up their children without state interference.