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What Should Be

Public health authorities like the American Academy of Pediatrics, the CDC, the NIH, and the Harvard Center on the Developing Child should put together a list of parenting behaviors and practices generally recognized as supporting the healthy development of children.  Then these organizations should partner with the Ad Council to create public service announcements to communicate these behaviors and practices to the public.  I’m thinking billboards especially…radio and television too.  These psa’s would not have an end date.  They would become a permanent fixture of our culture.  In manufacturing there’s a concept called continuous quality improvement.  Well, this would be an effort to continuously improve the quality of parenting.  Our children and children's children deserve this.

In its own unique way my nonprofit Advancing Parenting is already doing this.

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To extend your manufacturing analogy - we need adaptive feedback from the actual service users (parents and kids) and the current ways of obtaining it are deeply flawed. It's not the "evidence-based" is bad, but it's often done, I argue, extremely poorly. So much bias and prejudice in metrics of success. Non-inclusion of non-dominant culture. Not using ethnographic techniques. Huge list I'm slowly working on.

The feedback loops are currently, with respect, atrocious. At least that's my perspective from the sectors and communities I work within.

One problem is the this ... " generally recognized"

There's a huge movement of lived experience individuals pushing back against aspects of status quo knowledge. And regardless of which side anyone falls on, I think it's fair to call the situation and the knowledge base "contentious".

There is a lot of power imbalance and bias baked into even the public agencies and the research, even despite good intent and occasional effort to acknowledge it. It's somewhat comparable to (and at times directly intertwines with) issues like systemic racism. There are problems baked into the systemic core of how we think about and practice parenting as a society - very broadly speaking.

I would love nothing more that a concerted effort to embrace this state of affairs. Do some genuine stakeholder consensus building (very difficult work, but it's been done in other fields). Give the hard questions the space they deserve.

One barrier is that so many seem to be so busy trying to bandaid and patch holes in the already sinking boat so it doesn't sink any further. Which is valid. What happens is that, too often, it's frame as an "either/or choice". Instead of thinking of it as "yes and" approaches.

We could throw more resources to genuine consensus building (which is not the same as simply declaring one's one viewpoint unilaterally correct) and questioning openly and respectfully why there's so much non-consensus. We can do this and do the bandaids. But we mostly seem to not do this or invest hardly any resources into it.

That's my two cents on things.

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