Karen Winter Posted almost 3 years ago If raising children is one of the most important things we do in society, shouldn't the subject be directly taught in schools? I am hesitant to say we should have state "training" for parenting. However, I have many friends whose first real experience with a newborn was when they gave birth to one. As families get smaller and society gets more age-fragmented, many adults have had literally *no* experience with children before becoming parents. This is a recipe for trouble. Among primates, parenting is learned, not instinctive. Unfortunately, many of those giving "professional" advice are similarly ignorant. They are sociologists who have observed lots of parents but have none of their own. Or doctors who see a hundred kids a day....for ten minutes each. Or an upwardly mobile couple who have one perfect child and a nanny. These folks are simply not qualified to give parenting advice. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that it takes 10,000 hours to achieve expertise in any area. This is 2-3 years of 12 hour days, every day. Many parents simply don't spend enough time with children, any children, to achieve any level of proficiency with kids. Additionally, most of our education and training is for linear systems. In linear systems, cause and effect are controllable and predictable. But kids are the ultimate non-linear system: complex, chaotic, and ultimately unpredictable. So, how do we train great parents? First, train everyone in how to deal with non-linear systems. This would require a major overhaul of the school system. Second, make sure pre-parents have chances to interact with young children under the guidance of kid-experienced people. This would required that we re-create mixed age-settings, instead of segregating everyone by age and type. Third, learn how to be forgiving and non-judgemental of each other. A constant refrain among parents is "I never thought I'd be one of those parents who....." Parenting is indescribably complex. Those who have simple answers probably don't know what they're talking about, and often do more harm than good.