A bit of a depressing piece in today’s Daily Telegraph about parents who “abdicate” their responsibilities by parking their kids in school all day.
Some mothers and fathers “dump” pupils at breakfast clubs and pick them up late in the evening because of the demands of work, said Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers.
Britain’s so-called “back to work culture” – which has also prompted many parents to place children in nurseries from a young age – risked undermining family life, he said.
He said: “Some parents are abdicating responsibility for their children. They dump them early in the morning at school and are late picking them at the end of the day. There is definitely a lack of care.”
Gosh, you think? Sure, most kids in this kind of situation (or those left in daycare for up to 8 or 9 hours a day, five days a week, before they’re even one year old), will learn to cope and turn out OK. But good grief, what kind of parent are you? There are cases where parents absolutely must work. But I’d be willing to bet they’re not the majority; rather, most working parents think they must both work if they are to afford a lifestyle that is, and should remain, out of their reach. It’s not the same. I know plenty of moms who’ve decided to stay home to raise their own kids (some of them work part-time from home), even if it means not buying a big-screen TV or going camping instead of flying to Disney. It’s a matter of deciding which is more important: your kids or your stuff.
We all know this, including most parents who abandon their kids for up to 10 hours a day, every single day of the week. That’s why they tend to get a touch aggressive when you question (or, dear me, criticize) their way of life. What do you think the British children’s minister [uh? a children’s minister? it’s almost as funny as Quebec’s minister for social solidarity…] had to say to Mr. Brookes?
But Beverley Hughes, the children’s minister, insisted Mr Brooke’s comments were “unhelpful”.
She insisted that more schools were now offering wraparound care to give parents greater opportunity to return to work “if they want”. In a speech, she announced a new £13 million scheme to help vulnerable families in 15 areas. It includes more advisors to help parents organise childcare.
Unhelpful, really? Whereas professionals who advise parents on how to “organise” childcare…
Tanya, offering insight: What does it means to go to the daycare provided as ‘wraparound’ programs in elementary schools? Well, the child arrives at school at 7:30 am and has breakfast with schoolmates and monitors. A full day of school ensues. At quitting time, those children enrolled in the afternoon daycare program slip into another classroom to carry on in a classroom setting for another 2 or 3 hours. Granted, that’s a worst-case scenario. But it’s not as rare as we’d like it to be.
Everything else aside, how tired do you think that 8 year old is come supper time?
Rebecca adds: Whenever raising the minimum wage is discussed, advocates for the working poor point out how hard it is to raise a family on minimum wage x 40 hours/week. Why don’t we just tell the poor to work an extra ten hours a week to boost their household income? Maybe because we recognize the toll that would take on their home lives. So why is it ok for some kids to spend 55 hours a week – “wrap around care” (ugh, what a term) is offered at some centres near me from 7 am until 6 pm – at school or daycare? The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was founded upon the model of the RSPCA (animals), in part to highlight the absurdity that housepets had more rights than children under some jurisdictions. Maybe the Solidarity Rallies on May Day should start demanding a more humane workweek for 5 year olds.