Scottish Daily Mail
Parents warned: Don’t tell children they are naughty
SNP’s £500k campaign ‘is meddling in family life’
PARENTS have been told not to call misbehaving children ‘naughty’ and warned against shouting at sulking toddlers, in the latest Scottish Government effort to ‘meddle in family life’.
Ministers yesterday launched a £500,000 campaign which aims to give ‘helpful tips’ to families on how to stamp out children’s bad behaviour.
The Parent Club website tells parents that instead of using phrases such as ‘don’t be naughty’ they should set out what exactly the child should do. It also includes a series of guides on mealtimes, breastfeeding and ideas for games and learning.
According to the Scottish Government, the campaign has been launched to help ease ‘pressures’ on parents while acknowledging they already do a ‘brilliant job’.
But last night campaigners and politicians claimed it was yet another way for the SNP to ‘meddle in family life’.
The campaign follows the Government’s failed attempts to introduce a Named Person scheme in Scotland, which would have seen every child given a state guardian.
And last year ministers pushed ahead with a smacking ban despite only a third of Scots backing the move.
Simon Calvert of the Be Reasonable campaign said: ‘Many parents are fed up to the back teeth of politicians trying to tell them how to run their families. First there was the intrusive Named Person scheme. Then they pledged to criminalise parents who smack. Now they’re issuing government guidance on how to speak to your children. Who do they think they are?
‘If parents want advice, there are plenty of voluntary groups willing to help. Politicians and bureaucrats need to back off.’
Among the website’s many pages of information, a page on ‘behaviour’ states that ‘instead of saying “don’t be naughty”’, parents should be ‘specific’ and say, for example, ‘when we go to Granny’s flat, we’re polite – we try not to shout, and we don’t run around inside’.
It claims children are ‘more likely to misbehave’ if parents use words such as ‘bad’ or ‘lazy’ to describe behaviour.
The website tells parents they could ‘save a headache’ by avoiding these words and advises that one of the most popular tips to deal with ‘tod- dler tantrums’ is to ‘ignore’ the child. It says that ‘getting cross or shouting back... won’t help’ and suggests parents should ‘look away and wait for them to calm down themselves’.
Last night, the Scottish Government confirmed the campaign, launched by Children’s Minister Maree Todd yesterday, cost £512,000 in 2018-19.
A Family Education Trust spokesman said: ‘Parents are generally better placed to know how to respond to their children’s behaviour than the Government is. Saying “no” and calling out bad behaviour is an essential part of raising children to become well-informed and responsible adults.’
Tory MSP Murdo Fraser said: ‘The SNP needs to rein in this increasing tendency to meddle in family life. Parents don’t need to be fed patronising nonsense like this, especially not on the tab of the taxpayer.’
A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘The campaign offers practical support and tried and tested tips from parents to promote healthy eating and engagement in children’s learning at home. Early results are already extremely positive.’