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Big Sister will make a bad problem worse

for immediate release
from Parent.org

Big Sister will make a bad problem worse.

Parenting lobby group, Parent.org, has concerns about the Te Ara Tukutuku initiative being proposed by Dr. Kiro, and believes that it will fail dramatically as it is fundamentally anti-parent.

"What Dr. Kiro is saying with this initiative is that she doesn't trust any parent to care for their children so wants a government agency constantly looking over their shoulder, ticking boxes," say Parent.org's chair, Steve Gore.

"It is an excellent idea for parents to seek regular evaluation, but when it imposed on them without their buy-in by taking a snapshot view of their child, as Dr. Kiro is proposing, it sends the message to all parents that government expects them to fail to raise good children, and is waiting for that to happen so they can step in. For parents who are struggling this may simply be a signal to give up. This is the wrong message at the wrong time," said Mr. Gore.

"If we want good outcomes for children we need to focus on parents, not children. We need to define success for them rather than constantly showing them failure, we need to give parents an environment rich in opportunities to become skilled and knowledgeable, find heroes to inspire them, leaders to lead them, and give them space to parent well," said Mr. Gore, "We don't need to send them a message that government is watching and waiting for them to fail."

The group points out that in all other environments, such as business, sports and the arts, government celebrates leadership and innovation and promotes skills and knowledge, but in parenting it focuses only on failure. This focus is supported by a media that hunts out parenting villains with ghoulish enthusiasm, ignoring the hundreds of thousands of parents that do well, and thereby defining failure but not success. Dr Kiro's initiative will do nothing to improve this environment but rather help set it in stone.

"The reality of parenting is that it is a long, tough process. If it were easy and we could do it overnight the kids would have left home before they started school," said Mr. Gore. "Despite being so challenging we offer parents just eight wellchild visits and expect that to be enough for them to turn a screaming baby into a functioning, contributing adult. However, to even think about a management career three years tertiary training is just a starting point. Parenting is still viewed as a 'natural' thing that doesn't require skills and knowledge and that is a message that needs to change, starting in the beehive. The resources that Dr. Kiro wants to put into this could be better spent on something simple to boost parenting such as making parenting books and courses tax deductible, giving them the same status as business skills and knowledge - it is a joke that we have a knowledge economy when we put parenting skills and knowledge in the same basket as knitting lessons."

"The returns for our country from transforming the parenting environment to inspire success would be incredible." said Mr. Gore. "Parents are the key to everything that is good and everything that is bad in society. If we and make it easier for parents to achieve success we could have a society that is the envy of the world, enjoying enduring prosperity and social harmony."


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