Hard Choices for Working Parents?

The Children’s Society is warning of the dangers of the “aggressive pursuit of personal success”. On the publication of a report entitled A Good Childhood. Searching for values in a competitive age, Kathy Sylva, Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Oxford has said that parents and families must take more responsibility for the choices they make about how they live their lives as their decisions could have far-reaching implications for their children’s development. 

The report says the belief among adults that the prime duty of the individual is to make the most of their own life, rather than contribute to the good of others is causing a range of problems in children and young people. These problems include family break-ups, teenage unkindness, commercial pressures towards premature sexualisation, unprincipled advertising, too much competition in education and acceptance of income inequality. 

Professor Sylva said, “The message as a panel that we really wanted to convey was not to say families are terrible. Families are not really consciously considering their choices.”    

One of these choices is childcare, which gets two pages in the 240-page report covering research in the UK and US about the benefits to children of group daycare and the importance of high-quality childcare for young children’s development when both parents work, whether formal in a day nursery or with a childminder, or informal with the child’s grandparents. However, the report added, “The development of a child depends much more on the quality of the relationship with the parents than on whether both parents work. Crucial are the warmth, understanding, interest and firmness which parents bring to the relationship with their child.”

Do you think your children suffer because you work? Or do you believe that they have a better start in life than you had? Tell us what you think.

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