In the Tribune of Sunday, December 10, the Minister of Solidarity and Families, Aurore Bergé, made several announcements around parenthood. She warns in particular that “failing parents” will receive a community service sentence. A subject that is already controversial.
The government, through the Minister of Solidarity and Families Aurore Bergé, is making several announcements concerning parenthood. In the Tribune of Sunday, December 10, Aurore Bergé announced “with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice” set up “community service for failing parents“.
But also “the payment of a financial contribution for parents of children guilty of damage to a victims’ association and a fine for parents who do not appear at hearings concerning their children“.
“Meeting the challenges of parenthood”
This decision was taken following the riots which broke out after the death of young Nahel, during the summer of 2023. Riots which were partly provoked by young people in groups, which included “30% minors”.
In addition to this shock announcement, Aurore Bergé also details the creation of a “scientific commission, co-chaired by child psychiatrist Serge Hefez and author Hélène Roques” with “demographers, magistrates, child psychiatrists, philosophers“. They will have “six months to make (me) concrete proposals”intended for “meet the challenges of parenting today“. The objective is to help overwhelmed parents and resolve family conflicts.
The minister also wants to start “a parenting tour of France” today, Monday December 11. “There is clearly an issue of authority to be restored, it is neither corny nor reactionary to say so. We can clearly see that parents can be overwhelmed, disoriented in the face of new risks: sedentary lifestyle, growing importance of screens too. And all social circles are affected” she admits.
Is this the right answer to give?
For Céline Quelen, general director of the Stop VEO association: childhood without violence, we must not trivialize the educational context of these children. “Aurore Bergé’s words are stigmatizing for parents who are often themselves lost in the face of their child’s behavior.” she believes. “These children need limits, a framework that meets their needs, with a “family” base in the broad sense of the term..
What can we propose instead of these repressive measures?
“Instead of this punishment, measures to support parenting would have been necessary, with discussion meetings for example, on the problems encountered, both for parents but also for adolescents, which would make it possible to raise words about their suffering, because I don’t know any parent who is happy to have a child who causes this type of problem” Céline Quelen advances again.
Comments also validated by child psychiatrist Laure Legardinier, doctor responsible for the Adosphere day hospital for adolescents, the child-adolescent CMPs of Saint Étienne du Rouvray, Grand Couronne and the ITEP of Serquigny. “The majority of parents are concerned by their child’s behavior. Those that aren’t are extremely rare – but they exist, there’s no denying it. This must be underlined and insisted on the dimension of help and guidance before thinking of sanctions.”.
A sensitive subject, in an already fragile climate
The child psychiatrist adds: “We may also be surprised by the media impact of this measure alongside the problems of caring for the condition of children in difficulty: devaluation of early childhood and teaching professions, disinvestment of hospitals, social assistance to children in crisis, pediatrics in agony, unsupported child psychiatry for the benefit of neurodevelopmental disorders…there is already a lot to do by strengthening social, educational and health systems”.
Moreover, the subject is already controversial, because three members slammed the door of the scientific commission, according to our colleagues from Monde, who report their resignation this Monday. Among them are the sociologist specializing in parenting Claude Martin, a family specialist, Irène Théry, and the research director at the CNRS Agnès Martial. Irène Théry explained that they had made this decision after discovering that their work had been presented the day before as a response to the riots last July.