Those who fail to read stories or sing to their youngsters threaten their children's future and the state must put them right, Children's Minister Beverley Hughes said.Amusing quotes on "supported."
Their children's well-being is at risk 'unless we act', she declared.
And Mrs Hughes said the state would train a new 'parenting workforce' to ensure parents who fail to do their duty with nursery rhymes are found and 'supported'.
The call for state intervention in the minute details of family life followed a series of Labour efforts to reduce anti-social behaviour and improve educational standards by imposing rigorous controls on the lives of the youngest children.Fasbos? Apparently, these are "Foetal Anti-Social Behaviour Orders."
Mrs Hughes has established a national curriculum to set down how babies are taught to speak in childcare from the age of three months.
Her efforts have gone alongside a push by other ministers to determine exactly how parents treat their children down to how they should brush their teeth.
Tony Blair has backed the idea of 'fasbos' - efforts to identify and correct the lives of children who are likely to fail even before they are born - and new laws to compel parents to attend parenting classes are on the way.
This autumn is likely to see an extension of parenting orders that can force parents to attend parenting classes so that they can be used on the say so of local councils against parents.How utterly alien! That could never happen here, right?
For the first time, parenting orders are likely to be directed against parents whose children have committed no criminal offence.
The threat of action against parents who fail to sing nursery rhymes was unveiled by Mrs Hughes as she gave the first details of Mr Blair's 'national parenting academy', a body that will train teachers, psychologists and social workers to intervene in the lives of families and become the 'parenting workforce'.
I refrained from singing to my kids because I believed that I sang off key and that I would cause them to have a poor sense of pitch. Was I right or wrong? I don't know. But I used my judgment. I also refrained from playing children's songs after I got the idea that rock and roll songs from the 50s and 60s were kind of like children's songs but were much more appealing. I can just imagine how I would have flipped out if some government functionary had tried to instruct me that I was wrong.
Of course, the government agent would have no intellectual depth about what was good and bad and no ability to discuss it. She -- it would be a she, don't you think? -- would only insist that I follow the instructions. And if the day comes when the experts decide that children need to learn how to think for themselves, will there be anyone around who even knows how to do it?