Call for parents to undergo ‘fit for purpose’ test

editorial image

A children’s charity boss is so appalled at the way some city parents treat their children he is campaigning for ALL mums and dads to undergo a fit for purpose parenting test.

Gary Payne believes even prospective parents should sit the test to prove their responsibility and commitment.

“I have personally witnessed unbelievable acts of stupidity from parents who clearly should not have children,” he told the Citizen.

“We need to ensure people who decide to become parents at least have the basic intelligence to give their children a chance in life.”

Gary, of Newport Pagnell, runs the Young People Are Our Future charity which delivers life skills courses to thousands of young people.

He also runs regular community parent and child courses designed to enhance small children’s confidence and teach them how to stay safe.

While the majority of Milton Keynes mums and dads are “great”, Gary says he has witnessed a series of horror stories stemming from parental negligence.

One example is a seven-year-old boy with learning difficulties whose father dropped him off in the car park – then disappeared.

The lad carried a note with details of his name and age together with an incorrect contact phone number.

“The father arrived 30 minutes after we’d finished – just as we were about to make a phone call to police and social services,” said Gary.

During another session, a mum hotly defended her habit of allowing her small children to go to bed when she did, at 11pm.

Said Gary: “Her argument was that as a teacher she was intelligent enough to know how much sleep her children required – despite the terrible behaviour of her children while the session was in progress.”

The final straw came after a young mum dropped her two children at a bus stop two miles away and left a voicemail asking if a course organiser could pick them up.

The youngsters waited alone for about three hours while their mum went to the cinema, said Gary. Afterwards she was furious that nobody had collected her children.

“These example clearly demonstrate it is time to educate them in some of the basic responsibilities of parenting,” he said.

“Many people blame teachers, the government and the media for the youth-related issues that exist today.

“Let’s stop pointing the finger and make sure those who decide to become parents are fit to do so.”