Wednesday 24 January 2018

Damned if you do, and damned if you don't

By Deborah Coleman - Straight Talking

A new report to be published by Minister for Children Katherine Zappone later this month is set to outline the effect that 'absent' parents is having on children.

It advises that busy parents are risking the health of their children by not being there and that research carried out concluded that many primary and secondary school children feel they are not being listened to.

As a working parent, I certainly find this disturbing but the question that most parents will certainly have is 'what are we to do?' Children have to attend school for a certain number of hours every day, and parents who have to or who choose to work also have to fulfil their commitments.

Being at work and trying to provide for your family is difficult enough without being deemed an 'absent parent'.

The report raises concerns about not enough 'quality time' being dedicated to children and family but I think this is a very individual thing.

Every family is different, has their own definition of quality time and has their own way of ensuring that they respond to their children's needs.

Equally, in families where both parents work, their routines can vary greatly from week to week as parents juggle the household responsibilities.

In a way it is positive if these needs have been identified but if the Government doesn't react and offer more support to working parents then what good is it?

It simply serves as a stick to beat already guilt-ridden parents with. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

As a parent, you second guess every decision you make and naturally you want to make the right ones for your family and that will serve your children well in the long run.

Providing for them is obviously key to this and whether you rely on childcare or are privileged enough to be in a position to do it all yourself then you must try and make every hour with them count.

This report is to feed into an overall drive to tackle childhood obesity in Ireland, something which has been a growing problem in recent years.

It highlights the need for issues such as nutrition and eating disorders to be addressed in schools as well as the approach towards physical education, both of which would be hugely beneficial to young students.

Wexford People

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