I couldn’t believe it when I read the Sunday Times last week and on the front page was an article about children who are unable to walk by the age of three.

According to Louise Casey, the government’s Director General on troubled families :

SOME three-year-olds are apparently unable to walk because they have spent so much time strapped into buggies and left in front of the television

I imagine I’m pretty far from being part of a ‘troubled family’ and perhaps I can’t empathise with them (I once thought that a friend’s one year old that couldn’t walk was suffering developmentally) but what kind of parents think this is normal, why isn’t this picked up sooner and who is letting them get away with it?

It always surprises me that children are only monitored by health visitors until about 8 months and then could slip through the system until they go to school – especially if they don’t have their immunisations.  Again maybe I’m wrong and ‘troubled families’ are spotted and continually monitored, but this doesn’t look like the case.

And it gets worse, the Daily Mail picked up on the Sunday Times’ story, this time quoting National Association of Head Teachers general secretary Russell Hobby who said:

‘It’s an extreme case, but more frequently we hear of children who can’t speak when they come to school.’

He also went on to say that there are children who start school still wearing nappies. Nappies at 5 years old, surely that’s just laziness and expensive too, or maybe it’s lack of education!

I may be uncomplimentary towards these parents but there is actually something in it. As a first time mum I had no idea what to do and whilst there was lots of support for breast feeding, and my local SureStart centre was brilliant for entertaining and educative play, there were plenty of other things that I was clueless about and didn’t know who to ask – for example how do you teach a baby/toddler right from wrong, how do you phase out breast or formula milk at one years old? I’m pretty sure my doctor got fed up of seeing us and the internet couldn’t always answer my questions.  So who else can you turn to? I certainly didn’t know and as I said before, I imagine that I’m pretty far from the pen portrait of a ‘troubled’ parent.
In my opinion all parents need lessons in how to bring up kids. We no longer have a society where parents learn from their parents, and although the internet is a great information provider sometimes you can get lost in conflicting information.

About sarajanebrown

I'm a former journalist with online and offline, internal and external PR and Comms experience in a variety of industries.

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