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A Family Is No Longer A Family

Posted Jul 21 2008 10:19am

I was struck the other day when I overhead a comment made by amother about her daughter. It appears her daughter was pregnant and about to give birth. The comment went along the lines of "she is too young to be a mother, she really isn't ready for it".

Fair enough. I imagined herdaughter to be a teenager, maybe single - sign of the times I guess. But no, her daughter is in her early 20's.

Now that got me thinking. If she isn't ready to be a mother, when will she be ready? When she's 30?

We are in a society now that is actually failing to teach our childrenhow to be parentsfor the next generation. We are no longer passing on 'parenting skills' and this is occurring due to a number of circumstances.

The first is simply the lack of siblings.Big families are no more. Most families are either one or two child families and those children are often only a couple of years apart. I have met young women who have never changed a nappy (diaper). Never had the opportunity to bottle feed a baby or help with bathing.

When these young women finally have their own child, everything is new. No wonder they are nervous and feel as if they arenot prepared to be a mother- they aren't.

The other problem is the duel working parent situation. Both parents are working, the youngsters are often sent to day care or to a friend to care for them. Once they get home, its the TV to baby sit whilst mom prepares dinner. The kids are shunted off out of the way - they are not even learning the basics of cooking or cleaning.

As families, it is those moments together; whilst cooking a meal; or helping to bath the baby; or helping give baby a bottle; or helping to change a nappy; that the foundation for so many life long skills are initiated and developed. I am not just talking about our daughters either, our sons are also missing out on these important lessons.

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