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"Single mothers with secondary school children should seek work" - BBC news this am.

(210 Posts)
mumblechum Wed 18-Jul-07 08:28:27

What does everyone think? Apparently 70% of single parents already work, and a third of those who don't have a good reason not to, eg have a child with a disability.

My first response (have always worked at least pt) is "of course they should, the lazy buggers", but a 12 year old child can't really be left to fend for themselves EVERY day after school, can they, and I don't suppose you could get a childminder to look after them for just 1.5 hours a day.

My own experience is that my ds (year 7) does need a fair bit of tlc still, especially with all the upheaval of changing schools, more work, making new friends etc.

What do you reckon?

Kif Wed 18-Jul-07 08:32:32

Well, I think it's fair, so long as there is equal understanding from employers, and provision local jobs with flexible options.

If it were me, I would, not least becasue I think it would psychologically prepare me for when the kids were leaving ho,e and becoming independent, so I didn't feel deserted. I think single parents are more vulnerable to making super intense bonds with their children, that they find difficult to let go of.

saggermakersknockturnalley Wed 18-Jul-07 08:36:09

IME children who have recently started secondary are the most difficult to find childcare for. Often unhappy to go to a childminder, too young to be alone for a couple of hours every day and no after school care.

Also there's the age old school holidays problem. I imagine for single parents it's a real issue.

I think it's quite a dangerous age for children. Lots of extra responsibilty and outside influences, often having not been given the skills to cope. All of my three children have lost friends in accidents in the this age group. Personally I thought mine needed me around even more at this age.

Whizzz Wed 18-Jul-07 08:43:33

I saw this on the news & it made me laugh -
On the same news item it was all about how grandparents should take an active part in school life as parents are too busy ! You just can't win !!

BrummieOnTheRun Wed 18-Jul-07 08:44:34

I think having at least one working parent in the household is absolutely essential for children.

They need to understand that there are bills that need paying and that in order to do that you need to work, and that working generally means getting up early even if you don't want to, working with people you don't necessarily like, and possibly doing a job you don't like. But you do it.

My parents screwed this up with my younger brothers who now virtually live on handouts (both in their 20s) and are incapable of managing their own 'finances'. They don't see why they should have to do 'menial' work even though they have minimal qualifications. You can't have a section of society with that attitude.

HOWEVER, it's absolutely critical that childcare/schooling starts adapting to the realities of work, and/or work starts adapting to the realities of child-rearing. They need to be 100% compatible.

Loobeeloo Wed 18-Jul-07 08:46:59

I used to be a store manager (in my previous life) and my concern would be what kind of job can you get where they would allow you to take the same holidays as school holidays/half term?

Unless you worked in a school anyway but not everyone could do that.

As a manager I know I wouldn't have been able to allow my staff with kids that much time off, it just wouldn't have been possible for me to do.

Ladymuck Wed 18-Jul-07 08:53:31

But loads of families with 2 parents working seem to manage? How do those with teenagers deal with childcare?

BrummieOnTheRun Wed 18-Jul-07 08:54:35

let's get the kids working after school and during holidays. being small can be a distinct advantage in some jobs.

saggermakersknockturnalley Wed 18-Jul-07 08:59:14

Two parents working here. dh works shifts, I work school hours term-time. It was engineered this way and we're very lucky.

Two income families can, I suppose, more easily afford holiday clubs and paid after school activities. But then there's the logistical issues........due respect working to single parents.

Freckle Wed 18-Jul-07 09:10:55

I have a 13yo who is at secondary school (also 2 others, but let's assume I just have the one). It's not just about after school, is it? What about the holidays? I'm happy to leave DS1 by himself after school for one or two hours whilst ferrying the others to activities, but there's no way I'd want to leave a 13yo (or even 14 or 15yo) alone all day during the week in the holidays.

I'm not a single parent and I think they have enough stress without adding to it by making them worry about any child between 11 and 15 yo being alone at home all day.

saggermakersknockturnalley Wed 18-Jul-07 09:12:46

The last bit of my post didn't make sense (nowt new there lol). I mean't due respect to single parents.

mumblechum Wed 18-Jul-07 09:18:53

So far as the holidays are concerned, although it's a ballache, I've always just had to factor into the budget an amount for holiday playschemes. If you're working, that's just a fact of life, tho' I've been lucky in only having to bung him in a playscheme for a total of 10 days, spread over the 6 weeks.

BrummieOnTheRun Wed 18-Jul-07 09:28:48

no woman would have invented:
- a working day that goes from 9-6
- a school day that goes from 9-3.30
- 6 bloody weeks of school holidays.

I think it must have been the same guy who invented the Pill and decided women would still want their periods.

Would we all be willing to pay more for wraparound care for all, though? because this, like most other things, is a cost issue.

mumblechum Wed 18-Jul-07 09:37:10


We wouldn't need (the state, that is) to pay for wraparound care, though, would we? That's what the salaries are there for (among other fripperies such as mortgages etc).

prufrock Wed 18-Jul-07 09:43:06

Yes they should, definately. For their own self-esteem as much as to reduce the welfare bill. But until there is real progress in employers providing satisfying, well-paid work that fits in with looking after children there is no way we can force them to.

nutcracker Wed 18-Jul-07 09:48:30

I am a single mum of 3, and I agree that parents of teenagers should work.

I do agree that finding care for teenagers is tricky, but the job doesn't have to be fulltime does it.

My aunt is a single mum, has been since she was 19 (with short relationships in between). She is in her late forties with 2 grown up children and 1 10 yr old. She has not worked at all since having her first child, and imo she has totally wasted her life, nevermind set a bad example to her kids.

The parents should work for their own self esteem as well as all of the other reasons.

nutcracker Wed 18-Jul-07 09:48:47

Oh, just repeated what prufrock said at the end there LOL.

saadia Wed 18-Jul-07 09:52:47

I think if people expect parents with school-age children to work then there needs to be a greater availability of flexible jobs which allow one parent to be around during holidays and after school. We are lucky that ATM I don't have to work but I realise that this could change and I do want to be working when ds2 starts FT school.

BrummieOnTheRun Wed 18-Jul-07 10:17:18

The part time jobs out there are crap.

There are hardly any part time jobs in my ex-role as marketing manager, and none outside london. It doesn't make sense when marketing is one of the functions that a small firm would best have on a part time basis, and it's cheaper than hiring contractors.

Did the bureaucracy involved in employing people become so great that firms just don't bother hiring part-timers now.

mumblechum Wed 18-Jul-07 10:29:19

Maybe I've just been incredibly lucky, but I've worked pt as a lawyer for 15 years now, for 6 different firms in 5 different parts of the country and have always just dictated my own hours (currently 9.30 to 2.30, 4 days a week).

There are pt jobs out there, but I suspect that the longer you've been unemployed, the less power you have to dictate what hours you're prepared to work.

SSSandy2 Wed 18-Jul-07 14:05:36

In Germany (where I live), as I've said before on a thread about this subject, single parents are expected to work at least part-time once their youngest dc is 3. They are expected to work full-time once their youngest starts school (so aged 6). THey're tough about it too. There's no way you could stay at home with a year 7 dc for instance. If they couldn't get you into full-time paid work fast, they'd make you do full-time unpaid work.

Hard to imagine a situation here where a single parent with secondary school dc would not be obliged to work full-time frankly.

SSSandy2 Wed 18-Jul-07 14:11:06

Mind you I don't want to advocate the German approach , I find it too harsh.

However, as far as the organisational aspects are concerned - For school holidays you can pay a small sum to have your dc occupied in the school all day (where the state-provided after-school clubs are held), so that isn't really an excuse here. What you pay for the after-school clubs and summer holiday care is income-based.

BrummieOnTheRun Wed 18-Jul-07 15:59:32

I guess there's an argument that the saving in the benefits bill could be channelled into providing cheaper childcare and better after-school provision.

expatinscotland Wed 18-Jul-07 16:00:09

Where's Xenia today?

purpleturtle Wed 18-Jul-07 16:03:09

working hard, presumably.

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