Time for Parenting...
...because raising children is a full-time job
March 2003 Newsletter
What the Papers Say
We start this section with a cracker of a broadside form Minette Marrin writing in THE SUNDAY TIMES soon after Cherie Blair tearfully admitted, after her disastrous Bristol property debacle, that in juggling her busy life 'sometimes some of the balls get dropped'. Entitled Children are the victims of juggling mother syndrome, Marrin writes:
"I'd just like to point out that I am a very, very
busy person and have lots of balls in the air: I am deeply devoted to
my children. my family, my husband, my many trips abroad, my charities,
my beauty treatments, my gym and my hectic social life, quite apart from
my work, and if I write anything misleading in this column, then all I
can say is I'm sorry. Obviously all this isn't good enough for some people.
I hate to say this, but I have learnt it the hard way,
and I do believe it: women's opportunities have led to the serious neglect
Britain's increase in illiteracy, innumeracy, truancy, street violence, unmanageable schools, teenage mental illness and suicide (especially among boys) and the explosion of drug and alcohol abuse among school children rich and poor has coincided with what? With working mothers and child neglect.
I don't want to think this. I always wanted to have the
same chances as any man to succeed. I don't underestimate the sacrifices
involved for an ambitious woman. But experience has convinced me that
even if you have two people to bring up children together, you cannot
have two demanding full-time careers.
Children at risk from stressed parents
Children at risk from stressed parents the OBSERVER reported
on a four-year study at Harvard Medical School which found that children
of parents who rated their stress levels as high when their children were
12 months old were likely to show behavioural problems by the age of four.
Unsurprisingly, parental stress was closely linked to the breakdown of
the traditional extended family support network.
Starting school too young can be bad for children's education
The NEFR suggests starting school at six could mean children staying longer in formal education later. Most countries in Europe start at six, and several not until seven. The study claimed that early formal schooling could "increase anxiety and have a negative effect of children's self-esteem and motivation to learn." Most European countries have a strong kindergarten or nursery system where children from three to five can begin their learning and socialisation in a more informal atmosphere of play.
Since 1997 there has been a massive expansion of nursery education. The NFER list several pitfalls to early schooling, saying that unlike in pre-school settings,reception class teachers allow children to spend proportionately less time on tasks of their own chosing; they are physically less active and spend less time exploring their environment. Drink problems?
Scientists who studied 302 twelve and thirteen year-olds
from affluent backgrounds, reported the MAIL, under the heading Pushy
parents drive middle class pupils into drink found that lack of parental
contact where both parents go out to work is one factor in middle-class
children turning to drink and drugs. Pressures of schoolwork and fears
of not meeting parental expectations also made them more susceptible to
depression. The presence of adults at home was found to be a key factor
in happiness at home and success at school.