Most mums and dads have found themselves longing for an instruction manual at some stage in their parenting 'journey' but while that's one wish we're never likely to have fulfilled, what if we could get the next best thing: lessons in how to be a parent?
I know I'd sign up in a heartbeat. In fact, having dabbled in various parenting classes over the years, I'd go so far as to say that I agree with the idea that parents should have to take a course before they can have a child. And it seems those days might not be that far off, according to a Guardian report:
The government should give parents lessons on how to raise their children, according to Britain's leading public health expert. Prof John Ashton, the outgoing president of the Faculty of Public Health, said today's children are being neglected by schools and bad parents. He said the state must step in to help prevent the next generation being crippled by conditions such as anxiety, anorexia and obesity.
Comparing children to farm animals, Ashton remarked on the fact that between 10-15% of children suffer from "obesity, eating disorders, anxiety and stress" by the time they leave school.
He said: "So having produced healthy babies we then set about neglecting them. I can't imagine a sensible farmer doing this with livestock."
I don't agree that the health conditions cited by Ashton are necessarily the result of poor schooling or bad teaching but I feel strongly that most of us could do with some resources to help develop our parenting skills at some stage or another.
I found parenting classes invaluable and routinely draw on the things I learned and observations I made whilst being 'schooled' in the art of being a good parent, so I don't really understand why so many people are quick to reject the notion that parents should be offered classes in the task of raising a happy, healthy child.
But what's your view? Have you ever taken a parenting class and if so, did you find it useful? If not, is a parenting class something you would ever consider signing up for? Leave us a comment below or join the debate over on our Facebook page.