Why don't we have mandatory child rearing course in school?

Why don’t we have, say, required mandatory high school child rearing course like US History?

Because no dam gummint is gonna tell me how to raise my child! Dammit!

Multiply that by some effective number of voters, and there you have it. Some jurisdictions do have some kind of parenting education in health classes, I believe, in high school.

ETA: if we did have mandatory parenting classes, which theory of child-rearing would be the basis for the curriculum? There’s your problem, you see, people don’t agree on what the standard is. Hell, we can’t even agree that natural selection is a (so far) valid theory worthy of being taught in science class.

Just imagine the PTA meetings on this topic!

Recognizing the problem and taking that first giant step…?

I can certainly see how a lot of stuff beyond simple mechanics (how to change a diaper or install a carseat) would be too fraught with philosophical differences, but I’d sure as heck get behind a Life Skills class. Stuff like how to balance your checking account and make a budget, basic nutrition and meal planning, laundry and car maintenance 101, how to apply and interview for a job, etc. The basics of parenting could be incorporated into that.

I’m really doubtful it would accomplish anything. It’s hard enough to get kids to listen to health class stuff that can affect them immediately; in the U.S. the average woman has her first child at age 25, which is seven years after she leaves high school. And yes, fights over parenting methods are intense. I don’t see why it makes sense to have a kid wade through that instead of letting them wait until they’re ready to have children. It’s not like there is a shortage of literature or other parents to consult on the subject.

And possibly because some of us, even in high school, knew we weren’t going to have children.

I’m not sure how far you can take that line of reasoning. Most people do have children and few people become mathematicians or scientists, but most of us had to take some math and science classes in high school and I think that’s a sound principle.

How many read them, ie, specifically the ones that you would think needs at least minimal clue?

This thread question is in part inspired by how popular SDMB’s parent/childhood threads are. Obviously there needs to be more effort put into figuring out the best minimal child rearing method. My parents didn’t quite have clue, in a way, with their far flung stubbornness based on ‘this is how I was raised’ and/or ‘I will not do what my parents did’ bent. My mother cited many books she read on child rearing/child psychology etc but there were many conflicting theories; we didn’t have any uniform idea. Yes we had Dr Spock.

I’m not saying we currently have an agreed upon solid theory regarding all the nuances of raising children but perhaps we ought to put it on the table. I know just way too many folks without a clue having children and I see the children turning into invisible lost spirits of the society. When a child has both parents it isn’t easy to intervene. I so often want to ask ‘where did they get the license to have a child’ but there’s no such thing.

I can’t predict whether our modern effort would result in a forward step or a deja vu case of Dr Spock but at least put our heads together and come up with some kind of basic minimal guideline? Aren’t we doing that with what curriculums we opt to teach anyway? Yes, I can clearly see how this will turn into a political hot potato but this is something I’ve always wondered.

I can’t think of a more real life class, which can be tied into teen pregnancy/day care for the children of the students where they cooperate to raise the children while helping each other attend other classes.

Educating people who really need it (i.e. people who are dumb or ignorant) is a problem no matter how you’re doing it- books, classes, whatever. It’s hard to teach people who think they already know what they need to know about the subject. From that standpoint I don’t see why making kinds sit through an uncomfortable class is better than letting parents read what they want to read. I’m not sure you’re going to find a real list of basics everybody can agree on, nevermind getting it to the right audience. I do think a significant number of people read parenting guides, but even the ones who don’t do that can talk to other parents. Why is that inferior to a class?

I think you should consider the possibility that it used to be worse, not better.

You haven’t come close to backing up this assertion, and I can easily come up with many opposing reasons starting with there’s no evidence that there is a best method of child rearing. Add to that you won’t get any consensus from the public, and a large percentage wouldn’t want the government involved in any aspect of child rearing and you’re left with a bit of a non-starter.

The Plano Independent School District in Plano, Texas called that class “Independent Living” and it was an elective. I took it as a goof my senior year and was surprised to find that it was a useful course.

I took birth classes as an adult along with my wife, which we paid for. I found them very useful, and if they were provided in school, they also would have been useful (though I doubt I’d have paid attention as readily as I did as an adult with a pregnant wife!).

Ultimately shouldn’t we come up with some consensus that can be taught? Isn’t this something that we can improve on as a society or the status quo perfect as is?

Not all kids should have to take it. Some children have been taking care of siblings as long as they can remember so the class could be boring/redundant to them. Or, as someone mentioned above, perhaps a child may already know they never want to have children.

And, as also previously mentioned, there may be a long gap between high school and the average first birth age. I can barely remember what I ate for lunch today, let alone what I would have learned eight years ago in some class. If a child isn’t really interested in it, it’ll go in one ear and out the other just like other mandatory classes where one memorizes enough to pass the tests and forget all shortly after.

I took a parenting class in middle school (not by choice.) I passed the class with A’s but I swear to god, the only thing I remember from that class was watching Star Wars Episode 4 (it had just come out) and a friend eating my month-old hardboiled egg baby along with about 3 others after the project was over. I figured that if I ever choose to have a kid, I’ll read up on information and books on my own time when it’s closer to the actual child-rearing time and when I’m actually interested in it.

That would have been interesting at my high school. Around 110 students each year “cooperating to raise” maybe two kids. Would each student get two days a year with a kid or something?

The elective parenting class at my high school did a daycare for about one week a year, I think. I’m pretty sure most of the kids were the children of teachers. But those were all students who wanted to be doing that. How many parents with a real choice in the matter would give up their kid to a bunch of uninterested high school students taking a required course? (I’m not a parent and I plan to never be one, but I can’t see parent-me liking that idea.)

Hear hear.

The things people need for child-rearing - patience, love, understanding, compassion, empathy, etc - cannot be taught in the classroom.

Exactly. Any messages you are going to be able to convey that will stick long enough to still be relavent when they actually do have kids is going to be so basic (“Don’t beat your kids! Try to read to them! Eat food!”) that it won’t do a single thing- good parents are already going to be doing that, and bad parents are not going to do that simply because they once took a class in high school that mentioned something about it. People that raise their kids wrong aren’t doing so because they missed the details- they end up screwing up because they missed the basic points of providing a stable, loving home.

We have very, very limited time in high school to get a well-rounded education with. This simply isn’t a priority.

I recall that our programs for pregnant students includes parenting classes, which makes sense.

So what course are we going to drop to make room for the controversial course none of the kids will remember?

Always the way with the suggestions for teaching [whatever] at school.

Parent-me would have been fine with that for kids from the age of four or so, but it might well have backfired. Be a teenager spending the day with tiny kids then sending them home at the end of the day? That’s easy. It’s ridiculously easy to entertain young kids for a day.

It can also be an example of a little knowledge being dangerous; oh, I was fine with all those kids today, I’m sure I could cope with being a parent… Or I’m not going to be a parent but now I know how to be one and will tell all those parents where they’re going wrong!