Parenting success

07:00 16 February 2013

It is unlikely that Lee Emerson and I will be able to agree on certain key questions, as we approach them from different premises.

Based on a 30-year professional career in child welfare, including seven years as a university lecturer and researcher in this field, my starting point is that we need to understand what the needs of children are, and what kind of parenting will enable those needs to be met.

Having had three children ourselves in 18 months also helps focus the mind!

There is a wealth of factual research into successful and unsuccessful parenting that could usefully guide this debate.

Lee’s starting point is that the world was created by an intelligent designer (God).

From this premise he asserts we should look to that designer for guidance on how to live our lives.

There is a sense in which Lee’s comments are literally pre-judged, in that they are inherently based on these beliefs, rather than any factual evidence that I or anyone else may offer.

He is, of course, entitled to his beliefs.

Let me try to address the specific issues that Lee’s letter raised - gender roles in parenting; and the question of spirituality.

The research on parenting is pretty unequivocal.

Children can be, and are, successfully raised by straight and gay couples, single women, single men, heterosexuals, homosexuals, people of all races, and people with disabilities. (That’s why all these groups are recognised as eligible under English Law to apply to adopt.)

Equally, any of these categories can make a hash of parenting.

But that does not hinge on gender.

The research says the distinguishing factor is that successful parents are the ones who demonstrate a commitment to the parenting role.

They understand and nurture the child’s need for: love and security – the basis for all later relationships; new experiences - to enable cognitive growth; praise and recognition - to establish a realistic sense of self-worth; and taking responsibility - to enable growth towards independence.

I agree with Lee there needs to be a spiritual dimension to all this.

Lee writes (January 17) “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom”.

Personally, I prefer a humanitarian approach which teaches the important central principle of “respect for people”.

This works perfectly well in helping children understand the difference between right and wrong, yours and mine, and in conducting responsible later relationships.

My final comment relates to the “gay marriage” debate.

I think that all couples who wish to express their love and commitment should go through the same civil marriage ceremony.

Then, as with some other countries, those who wish also to celebrate with an additional religious ceremony could do exactly that.

It could simply be left to the Church to say who they wish to welcome - such decisions to be exempt from equality legislation.

Alan Swift

Exmouth

0 comments

Other News Stories

12:30

A binge drinker has been fined for stealing perfume.

Read more
12:01

Fire crews were called out this morning (Thursday) to reports of a fire at a home in Rolle Street.

Read more
10:50

Warnings of a potential nature and wildlife ‘catastrophe’ have prompted a motion calling for Devon County Council (DCC) to take action ‘before it is too late’.

Read more
10:30

Exmouth motorists have been given a stark warning of the dangers of drink-driving, after a car involved in a fatal collision went on display.

Read more
06:30

An Exmouth community group, which helps the unemployed find work, has been targeted by thieves.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:30

Images showing a semi-naked woman straddling a dinosaur model in an act of ‘gross indecency’ in Exmouth has sparked anger and disgust, prompting police to investigate

Read more
Yesterday, 12:30

A Lions golf day held in Budleigh Salterton has raised more than £3,000 for an appeal to provide children with better swimming facilities.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:37

Volunteers are being sought to help with this year’s Poppy Appeal.

Read more
Tue, 12:30

A four-year-old girl in Budleigh Salterton was left in tears after finding the bike she loved had been broken beyond repair.

Read more
Tue, 09:33

District chiefs are facing criticism for ‘ignoring’ a town poll calling for more consultation on proposed seafront redevelopment.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 11°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications