A couple of weeks ago I part of a focus group of parent bloggers. We came together to discuss what we felt was the “biggest challenge(s) facing parents now days”.
Around the table our common thread was both blogging and being parents. We had different ideas and some common themes. The discussion was varied and the content sometimes emotional and all the views very valid. I’d had time to give the subject matter some thought and I dithered between two areas. I asked a friend and she came up with two completely different angles.
What do I consider the biggest challenge? For me, as a parent, I am passionately concerned about the growing divide in the UK. Having worked in one of the poorest wards in the country I know that with poverty comes poor health, poor mental health, social exclusion, lack of opportunity and educational attainment. Poverty has a grim domino effect.
It’s easy to make judgements from afar about how other people live and in my view the Government and the media encourage this but it is far from that simple:
People are poor for many reasons. But explanations which put poverty down to drug and alcohol dependency, family breakdown, poor parenting, or a culture of worklessness are not supported by the facts.
Over the next year the Government will embark a series of significant changes to the welfare system combined with spending cuts that will see further reductions in funding and job loses in the public and voluntary sector. The sector that supports the vulnerable and needy in our society. Not just the poor but care for the elderly and disabled. Commentators have noted that the UK is becoming a country more and more divided. The suggestion that people don’t want to work isn’t my experience. I live near communities where they still struggle with the impact of the closure of the coal mines. Recently I came across an elderly man who’d worked in the pits his whole adult life and once laid-off never found another job, not for want of trying.
As a parent the insecurity of the current times is a challenge. I’m concerned that my son is growing up in a society increasingly divided, as a parent how do I explain that? What impact will that have on his future opportunities? On us as a family? Employers want specific skills. I’ve struggled to find a job in the sector in which I have experience. Financially we have managed but the future is uncertain. The economic global storm clouds gather and when I attended the focus group the teetering situation in Greece and other European countries threatened to bring tumbling down a host of other economies in their wake. The dark clouds may have moved on but where is the blue sky? I saw this photograph (click here) in a newspaper of a family in Greece. I found it deeply upsetting and the image stayed with me. I fear the shadow of future and images of desperate families abroad transplanted to our own streets.
You might not agree with me. What is your biggest parenting challenge? One friend felt it was retaining her sense of self. Everyone has something different. What are your thoughts?
The Idea Architects who organised the focus group are interested to know what you think. As an incentive to comment, everyone who leaves a valid comment will be entered into a draw. The winner receiving £25 by bank transfer.
‘what do you consider the biggest parenting challenge?’
To Qualify for entry to the draw. Please leave a valid comment relevant to the subject and add the ages of your child/children.
Terms and Conditions
Closes Friday 13th July 2012. 12 noon.
The comment will be drawn at random from valid the comments received on this post.
The prize is not transferable.
I will contact the winner via the email address attached to their comment.
If I receive no reply with 4 days a further person will be selected.
A bank transfer will be organised by the Idea Architects in the sum of £25 (sterling) and the selected person will need to supply bank details to them.
Disclaimer: I received payment for contributing to the focus group. The words and opinions in this post are all my own.