‘Don’t tell children they are naughty or lazy’, Scot Govt says

The Scottish Government has drawn fresh criticism for intruding on family life with its new guidance on how parents should speak to their children.

The SNP’s new £500,000 campaign centres around ‘The Parent Club’ website, which advises against using words like ‘naughty’, ‘lazy’ and ‘bad’. It claims children are more likely to misbehave if their parents use these words.

Campaigners say the Scottish Government is ‘meddling in family life’.


The taxpayer-funded website’s section on ‘behaviour’ said: “instead of saying ‘don’t be naughty’, parents should be specific and say, for example, ‘when we go to Granny’s flat, we’re polite – we try not to shout, and we don’t run around inside’”.

Speaking for the Be Reasonable campaign, Simon Calvert said: “First there was the intrusive Named Person scheme. Then they pledged to criminalise parents who smack. Now they’re issuing government guidance on how to speak to your children. Who do they think they are?

“If parents want advice, there are plenty of voluntary groups willing to help. Politicians and bureaucrats need to back off.”


A Family Education Trust spokesman said: “Parents are generally better placed to know how to respond to their children’s behaviour than the Government is.

“Saying ‘no’ and calling out bad behaviour is an essential part of raising children to become well-informed and responsible adults.”

MSP Murdo Fraser also criticised the new campaign, saying: “The SNP needs to rein in this increasing tendency to meddle in family life. Parents don’t need to be fed patronising nonsense like this, especially not on the tab of the taxpayer.”

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