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AIBU to expect that the PM's adviser on parenting to be qualified?

(25 Posts)
JessM Sat 02-Mar-13 13:55:37

Have I got this wrong? Headline news on parenting - and who is the 'expert' - a female MP whose qualification seems to be that she is a working mother. Previously a management consultant.
So her "advice" is basically her opinions rather than it being based on any research into child development or parenting?

Eloethan Sat 02-Mar-13 14:06:13

I'm with you on this one Jess. Why are her views any more valuable than any other mother's (or father's)? I think this was the woman on Question Time the other day - I found her approach patronising and overbearing.

In the same vein, why is Michael Gove, who as I understand it has no background in education, making such far-reaching changes to the education system, paying little heed to the views of educational researchers?

FlicketyB Sat 02-Mar-13 16:11:00

You do not have to be 'qualified' (exams?, academic study?) to become knowledgeable on any subject. Many is the person who has become an expert in their field just by reading about it extensively, talking to those involved and thinking about it. The classic example is the late Sir Patrick Moore whose astronomical knowledge was entirely self taught.

I pay this MP the courtesy of assuming that this is what she has done. When you see the really stupid things the 'experts do and say (teachers, Social workers etc etc), like the disruptive boy whose teachers and head teacher locked him in a small room by himself for 40 minutes, I think this MP is as likely to talk as much sense as any expert. Since she doesnt come from within the system, she may be more likely to think outside the box and say what others wont say because it might affect their careers.

POGS Sat 02-Mar-13 16:28:36

Happens all the time.

Labours Alan Johnson was a post man, didn't stop Ed Miliband putting him in the shadow cabinet as Shadow Chancellor. confused Labours Deputy PM,John Prescott had a degree in knowing 'bugger all' and he was in charge of the country at one time. [confused[ confused. Tory Mc Loughlin is Transport Minister, he was a miner confused

Flickity made some good points.

Movedalot Sat 02-Mar-13 16:56:59

Well said Flick and of course all the information they need to reach their conslusions is available through their researchers and civil servants. There are times when someone outside the system can see things more objectively.

JessM Sat 02-Mar-13 20:44:05

She's entitled to her opinion of course. There does not appear to be an interesting bit of research in sight.
But what on earth makes this headline news - it's the sort of thing any member of GN might say to another over a coffee.

absent Sun 03-Mar-13 07:30:37

She's another one with the "we've all done it" – NO WE HAVEN'T AND DON'T SPEAK FOR ME. Plenty of parents are internet savvy – that's just a silly comment. She doesn't seem to be saying anything interesting or worthwhile. Why do we have to have a government advisor on how to be a parent?

I think the rot started when the noun parent became a verb and that's also when we were deluged with so-called parenting experts.

JessM Sun 03-Mar-13 08:32:28

Well there are some basic principles that work aren't there *absent" and there is also some well conducted research.
Many of the principles are well known common sense, e.g.
It is not good for children to be given everything they ask for.
Some of the more tricky ones, based on psychological research are less obvious e.g.
intermittent reinforcement of behaviour - random rewards - tends to encourage the behaviour more than anything. So if you give in to nagging at random intervals, they will continue nagging, on the off chance that it will work this time. (works reliably with rats, kids, dogs etc - this principle has strong scientific evidence behind it)

gillybob Sun 03-Mar-13 09:56:41

How can anyone be a parenting advisor? There is no right way of doing it and its certainly not an exact science. I know there are very many wrong ways of parenting but it is not some ex management consultant who is going to put that one right is it?

nanaej Sun 03-Mar-13 10:21:20

I think the fact that so many people were in uproar about the child put in isolation for 40 min and did not seem to appreciate that the child was not just a 'naughty boy' shows that people with some greater understanding about child development, psychology etc need to be advising decision makers.

I agree you can learn theory from books...I did when I was at college but it is nothing to what is learned from extensive first hand experience with a wide range of children/ families /patients/ running businesses etc etc etc..whatever the area of 'specialism' is being reformed. Everything is more complex.

If I had based my teaching philosophy on what i had read & my experience of my two daughters alone I would have been rubbish at my job!

absent Sun 03-Mar-13 12:22:48

It looks like another example of "I blame their mothers" to me. grin

bluebell Sun 03-Mar-13 14:07:41

POGS- what a very elitist post! Alan Johnson , for example, cannot be described as a postman. He was one for a while and then worked his way up. He held several Cabinet posts - he's overcome a hard life ( orphaned at 12) and just because you don't like his politics, you shouldn't be do dismissive of him - or others from working class backgrounds

bluebell Sun 03-Mar-13 14:09:52

He also dealt with his wife's affair with tremendous dignity

Riverwalk Sun 03-Mar-13 14:24:59

Cameron is a father of four children - he doesn't need a parenting adviser!

It's political window-dressing ..... giving this person, whoever she is, a title, to make up for the lamentable lack of Tory women MPs and members of Cabinet.

Mamie Sun 03-Mar-13 14:35:35

Well I don't think she is just there to advise Cameron himself! I think the problem I have with her "advice" is that it seems to be aimed at women who spend their time driving their children to lots of after school activities. Feels a bit out of touch with the majority, perhaps?
Have to say I would rather my politicians have experience of jobs such as postal workers, miners, doctors or lawyers rather than spending a short while in PR or the family business!

bluebell Sun 03-Mar-13 15:30:59

Jacob Rees - Moggs!!!

Eloethan Sun 03-Mar-13 19:51:02

+bluebell* agree with you re Alan Johnson. Perhaps if we had a few more politicians who've had to work their way up from ordinary backgrounds and jobs, we might get MPs and ministers who actually understand the average person's life.

nanaej Sun 03-Mar-13 20:58:55

Eleothan totally agree with you that people with practical experience of everyday work /life rather than 'professional' politicians has got to be a better option!

j08 Sun 03-Mar-13 23:18:58

I think the reason why parents drive kids to after school activities these days is simply because the activities are now available. And a good thing too. It enables the children to live much more interesting and fulfilling lives.

And what would be the point of councils providing leisure centres if no children were taking part in the activities on offer? Doesn't make sense.

vegasmags Sun 03-Mar-13 23:34:16

I'd be happier if the government got on with the job of sorting out the economy, housing, the environment and the NHS. Isn't that what they were elected to do? I don't remember reading in their manifesto that they would be wasting time telling parents how to parent.

Grannybug Sun 03-Mar-13 23:42:26


Grannybug Sun 03-Mar-13 23:47:43

Fed up with many of the so called experts in our country as so many of them have been found to have feet of clay. Instead of telling parents how to do their job politicians should get on with what they were elected(albeit by an ever decreasing number of people) to do and that is sort out the current mess we are in and start with the gap between high and low incomes . That might level up the playing field a little and see more ordinary folk able to join what is a disgusting political elite.

Grannybug Mon 04-Mar-13 13:07:21

Remember the definition of ex pert is an ex is a has been and a spurt is a drip under pressure

gillybob Mon 04-Mar-13 13:10:24

Grannybug grin

POGS Mon 04-Mar-13 20:03:51


Nothing 'elitist'in my opinion.

It was a perfectly rational comment to make to the OP. Wasn't the question basically why are/do M.P's get the title of 'expert' when they have little or no knowlege when commenting on a subject.

Alan Johnson was a good example regarding the point being made. He himself said on many occassions he had to do some serious studying once he was given the position of Shadow Chancellor.

What being orphaned or having marital problems had to do with the OP looses me. I was also wise enough not to make the point by using only Labour M.P''s.

I am annoyed you tell me I am dismissive of working class people. I AM WORKING CLASS. angry