Supernanny Jo Frost: Could be damaging parents
Child-rearing experts such as Supernanny and Gina Ford are damaging family life by undermining parents' authority in the home, it has been claimed.
There was growing confusion among parents over how to bring up children because of the parenting advice 'industry', a leading sociologist warned.
He said relying on techniques from the so-called experts could be destroying parents' confidence in their own child-rearing abilities, weakening their control over their offspring.
Professor Frank Furedi also warned that the spread of the nanny state was adding to bewilderment among parents.
Professor Furedi, a sociologist at Kent University, was among academics to challenge increasing interference in family life at a twoday conference at the university.
He claimed figures including TV Supernanny Jo Frost, whose discipline techniques include the 'naughty step', portrayed mothers and fathers as incompetent.
He said: "They basically assume the high ground - 'I am the supernanny, unlike you, the incompetent, bumbling idiot'."
But he warned that the wealth of advice available, from Miss Frost and others including the no-nonsense author Gina Ford, risked demoralising parents.
"Parents who don't believe in themselves are not going to be very confident," he declared.
"The main thing is that it leads to estrangement. Mothers and fathers become estranged from each other and from their children. Rather than a family developinga strong sense of itself, it is looking too much to the outside."
Professor Furedi, author of Paranoid Parenting and the Culture of Fear, went on to accuse Labour of politicising parenting.
"Over the last ten years, virtually every aspect of childrearing is turned into a problem that requires their support or intervention," he said. "This undermines parents' confidence.
"Targeting parents has become a national sport. New Labour politicians appear to take the view that almost every social problem is caused by bad parenting.
"This allows failed politicians to avoid confronting their policy failures in health, education and community building."
He also criticised as patronising advice booklets published by the Government. For example, a 'Dad Pack' published last year advised men not to have affairs during their partner's pregnancy.
Professor Furedi added: "Parenting has become an industry. It's no longer about the relationship with your children, it's something for politicians and professionals to have an opinion about." Channel 4, which screens Supernanny, declined to comment on Professor Furedi's claims.
Laura clark: Dailyfemail