“So Michael, Why is there so much poor parenting advice around at the moment?”
This was the first question I was asked in a recent media interview.
“That’s easy!” I replied.
“There is so much advice being administered by people with inadequate expertise.
Even some recent parenting bestsellers have been written by people who, apart from raising their own children, have little experience of parenting in general, no experience working with families, and zero training to work with children and young people. Yet they are referred to as 'parenting experts'. Go figure!”
The interviewer was stunned, but so be it.
I don’t think anyone can just write a blog or a book, run an online course or give some presentations and then call themselves a 'parenting expert'.
Before your follow anyone who calls themselves a “parenting expert” I think you should check that they have the following credentials:
- Significant hands-on experience working with parents and families.
- Knowledge of parenting education theory and principles.
- Training in working with and supporting parents and families.
- Deep content knowledge in at least five areas related to families and children (e.g child development, raising boys, the psychology of children’s learning) not just knowledge in one or two areas.
- Expertise in at least one tertiary recognised discipline related to the parenting field such as education, psychology and social work. A communications degree doesn’t cut it.
- Continuing study and immersion in the parenting area so that they have a great understanding of the past, the present and the future of parenting.
- Recognition from recognised parenting experts for their expertise.
- A wide body of published work related to the area of parenting.
- A long track record of working with many types of parents in a variety of situations.
Okay, I’m sure that you can add a few more qualifiers to this list.
I maybe a tough taskmaster but I think someone needs to be able tick almost every box above before they call themselves a parenting expert and start dispensing parenting advice.
There's quite frankly too many unqualified people giving parenting advice and conducting courses that we should be very concerned indeed.
Parenting is too important to take advice from novices.
For expert advice that comes from someone that fills the above criteria subscribe to Happy Kids my Free weekly parenting guide.
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