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Should parents stay at home with their children?

(149 Posts)
Daddima Fri 10-Jun-16 18:09:46

Now, my children who have children say they " need" two salaries. From my perspective, this is to let them have two cars, nice house, good holidays, etc, etc. Okay, their working arrangements mean the children don't need much childcare ( apart from us very occasionally), but am I alone in thinking that the government should be providing a benefits system which recognises the value of a "stay at home " parent?

trisher Fri 10-Jun-16 22:38:14

Well I find it very strange that the generation who raised the parents of today are now complaining because their children "want it all" Wasn't that the philosophy they were raised with, the ideology of Thatcherism? There is research that shows nursery school is good for children and that they gain valuable experiences there.Even if one parent (and why should it be the mother?) chose to stay at home some time in nursery would be desirable. The fact that this also enables parents to maintain their careers and to continue to do the job they have been trained to do is a bonus. That we even think of this as some sort of special benefit is questionable. We accept that children's education should be free from the age of 4+ why shouldn't it be free at 3+. The only reason that it is paid as a benefit is because there is no state provision for nursery education.

Deedaa Fri 10-Jun-16 22:39:36

I don't think there should be benefits for staying at home, but I do think an average man or woman's wage should be high enough to provide a reasonable standard of living for their family if that is what they wish. Reasonable would not include multiple cars, foreign holidays or other bells and whistles. These would require a second income.DS works and his girlfriend stays at home with the baby. They have a privately rented one bedroom flat and we have to help with the rent because his wage doesn't cover the cost. No outings, no holidays. She tried going to work but her travel costs meant it cost them money - and then of course there's paying for childcare!

rafichagran Fri 10-Jun-16 23:14:12

No, I do not think benefit should be paid so one parent can stay at home. Do what I did if you can, ex husband worked during the day, and I worked P/T evenings and weekends when he was home. Why should my taxes and I work full time go towards their life style choices.

FarNorth Fri 10-Jun-16 23:30:17

The OP refers to parents but most of the replies are about mothers working or not.
Haven't we come a long way.

Gracesgran Sat 11-Jun-16 00:15:48

If we had Basic/Citizens Income at a reasonable amount parents would be able to choose.

Culturally I think the horse has bolted. Because we were obviously going to have fewer younger people governments have moved more and more towards people of working age being treated as an individual - not a part of a couple. State Pensions are a case in point - each partner has to pay for their own. This is what younger people see as normal now and, although it may change I cannot see it being with this generation.

thatbags Sat 11-Jun-16 07:11:24

I posted a link recently to an article about Basic/Citizens income. I think it's a good idea, though perhaps pie in the sky right now.

People's standard of living and their expectations are much higher now than they were even a generation ago. People want, and generally have, a lot more Stuff. It has to be paid for somehow. I think stay-at-home parents are often willing to do without a fair bit of Stuff (e.g. a car in my case, and holidays abroad) at least until their kids are at school.

What bugs me is that if you're a stay-at-home parent and people ask you if you 'work', what they really mean is Do you have a paid job? If you're a paid childminder looking after kids is a "job" whereas if you're a parent doing it, apparently it isn't. I didn't want anyone else to bring my kids up when they were tiny. I wanted to do it myself. I have no regrets in that respect.

Two or three hours a day at nursery school from the age of 3 is great for kids and their parents.

gillybob Sat 11-Jun-16 08:06:21

In an ideal world a family should be able to manage on one wage enabling one or the other parent to stay at home if they choose to. However from experience I know that this is often not possible as young families often can't afford to live on one wage.

It's all very well and good saying that mum should stay at home while the children are young. But what if daddy only earns basis wage?

f77ms Sat 11-Jun-16 08:17:59

I agree with the OP , Having children is a choice too , why then `expect` someone else to look after them . I was a SAHM till the children were at school , it was very difficult financially . Of course no help what so ever from Husband , it was considered my job . I agree with gettingon . Some Mums and Dads seem to want it all (not all) big mortgage , cars and holidays . Saying that, I will help out with childcare with my expected GC and have already offered as Mum will go back to work P/T . It wasn`t expected or asked for but will be appreciated .

Iam64 Sat 11-Jun-16 08:42:20

In answer to the OP, No I don't believe "parents should stay at home with their children". Hardly any of the responses here refer to a parent, it's mainly focussed on the mother becoming a SAHM.

I don't believe that, other than child benefit, the government should fund parents to stay at home. The references to free child care are inaccurate. As janeaisnworth had said, the funding for 2 year olds is aimed at a small proportion of vulnerable children whose families are on certain benefits. The 15 hours nursery time for 3 year olds is no different the the "free" nursery education my children got at our local school where they started half time at age 3. The research is very clear, children benefit from nursery. It also confirms children in the category who qualify for 2 year funding will be those who arrive at school developmentally behind their peers without that intervention.
I dislike this criticism of young parents. Our expectations were greater than those of our parents or grandparents.

PRINTMISS Sat 11-Jun-16 08:43:46

I feel it is a pity that so many families find it necessary to find nursery care for their young children, but it is a way of life. I encouraged my daughter to "go for it", and she had a good job for which she had worked hard before her little boy was born. It broke my heart when she said she had a nursery place for him, I could not imagine handing over a baby of mine to someone else to look after. Times have changed of course and nursery care/child minding is the norm. Each generation will be different I suppose.

PRINTMISS Sat 11-Jun-16 08:52:56

Got carried away there. I would have appreciated some extra income when our children were small, and had it been there would have taken it. I do not think, however it should be a given, that by staying at home and looking after some one you have chosen to bring into the world, you are entitled to some sort of benefit.

annsixty Sat 11-Jun-16 08:58:07

My D, like me was a SAHM, things were somewhat different for her as they were living abroad for the first 3 years of her S's life. She had her D a year after they came back and again she stayed home. She did a degree when they were older but when her marriage ended when she was 48 with youngish children her chances of even a reasonably well paid job were very difficult. She works part time and we help out financially as much as we can. She and her ex provide the bread and buttrrt, we provide the jam. I feel strongly they should not suffer because of mistakes their parents made.
What I am really saying is that times are different now and mum's should perhaps look to their future. Things do go wrong.

harrysgran Sat 11-Jun-16 09:04:08

I do think parents have different priorities now and consider two cars holidays and material possession a necessity rather than a luxury as it would of been when my children were younger.

Pittcity Sat 11-Jun-16 09:10:11

I think that being a SAHM has to be a lifestyle choice.
I was, and still am, one.
At first we had nothing as DH'S salary covered the bills with nothing left for extras. Luckily now he has enough to keep us comfortably.
One unfair sanction is the removal of Child Benefit where one parent earns over a certain amount. I believe total household income should be taken into account.
DD2 has become a SAHM because it would cost more to work.

Marmark1 Sat 11-Jun-16 09:11:42

What I'v said before,No you can't have it all,someone will suffer for your arrogance,mostly the poor kids,they may well benefit from mixing with other children in nursery school,but not in part time orphanages.Children are a choice,they need a lot of care and attention best given by their parents.Give up a few luxuries and concentrate on your poor kids,they need stability,more than a holiday.And get married first,get a home together.My son was taught to accept the consequences of his actions.
Yes,I'm know marriages break down sadly,but it's too willy nilly sometimes.

Granof11 Sat 11-Jun-16 09:24:43

No one size fits all. If you can stay at home then do so, if not, don't worry about it. You can only do your best.

Iam64 Sat 11-Jun-16 09:25:48

Markark1 to call parents who chose to work whilst making good alternative arrangements for their children "arrogant" , to refer to their children as "poor kids" is unfair and unkind imo.

Judgemental attitudes are rarely helpful, I know we all feel judgemental at times but it is rarely a Good Thing.

thatbags Sat 11-Jun-16 09:31:03

As Granof11 says, no one size fits all. There are no 'shoulds'. It's up to each couple (or each single parent) to decide what they want or need to do.

thatbags Sat 11-Jun-16 09:32:18

Poverty has never been a reason not to have kids. Rather the reverse: as living standards rise family sizes fall. That's a simple fact of life, empirically proven.

Gracesgran Sat 11-Jun-16 09:34:05

After reading this thread I have just been looking for a forum for feminists I can join smile[that's a sad smile]

narrowboatnan Sat 11-Jun-16 09:34:25

I think parents - doesn't matter which one - should be able to stay at home. DH and I both worked and my DS went to his friends house after school but my DD went to a child minder. She hated it. She started wetting herself she was so unhappy. So I made different arrangements which worked out better. When they were in their teens my DS still went to his mate's house but my DD had a key and became a latchkey kid. She told us later that she hated coming home to an empty house and I felt so very guilty. She has children of her own now and is self employed so is at home for them, which is so much better for them.

Luckygirl Sat 11-Jun-16 09:35:42

I have nothing against nurseries after a certain age - I hate to see tiny babes there - it does not seem appropriate to me. It seems to have become the received wisdom that nursery is beneficial and a good thing - it is for some and not for others; and I find this rush to hurry children through their development wholly unnecessary. They are only children once.

Everybody's circumstances are different - but the SAHP should not be sidelined or their value underestimated. I know many parents who would love to be at home with their children, but cannot do so financially. Nursery care should not be the norm.

Care for your child at home or have a foreign holiday? I know which I would choose.

Support for SAHPs is a reasonable option - it might reduce the MH problems of children and save the gov money in the long run. There are parents whose skill in that job is limited and the support for nursery care makes sense - but they are in the minority.

gettingonabit Sat 11-Jun-16 09:42:21

Pittcity I became a sahp too because it would have cost me more to work.

It's a ridiculous state of affairs really. Many women (and it's still mainly women) go back to work even though they don't actually earn much by it. They keep their hand in, maybe. Many women (and still mainly women) don't want to work but feel they have to, to fulfil the expectations that society is now placing on them of being part of a "hard working family".

Care work, whether it be paid or unpaid, is not valued. I felt like a pariah when I was a sahm, even though I'd built a successful career, paid off a mortgage and ticked many boxes.

I wanted to be with dd when she was little. I wanted her to mix with her little friends and spend all day in the park or at the beach. I was able to take a carful of little ones on trips and picnics because I wasn't struggling to keep balls in the air like working parents were. No doubt those parents were envious of me.

But now? No. I can't get back into the sort of work I trained so long to do. In fact, I can't find any decent-quality work at all. It's the price I've paid for looking after my own child.

I have no regrets, really. I think you should do whatever's in the best interests of the child. People see "best interests of the child" differently. Some see it as full-time nursery and wrap around care. Some see it as enhanced opportunities for learning. Some see it as nice cars, holidays and "stuff".

I see childhood as a happy, easy going time full of play, friends, and loads of time to just hang out in the neighbourhood. Just like my own childhood, in fact.

Nelliemoser Sat 11-Jun-16 09:52:34

My daughter stayed at home on mat leave twice until her sons were about 10mnths. They have generally enjoyed nursery after being upset to start with. DD now has to prise DGS1 out home now.
They are lucky that they have a very good nursery which has an outstanding rating. DGS2 settled quite well considering he was poorly a lot during the first few months. Lots of new bugs around.
I did not do that when mine were small but housing costs were far more manageble on one salary in the early 1980s.
The quality of the child care is so important however it is done.

michellehargreaves Sat 11-Jun-16 09:52:41

I agree with Luckygirl, I hate to think of tiny babies in nurseries. My DH visited a nursery one day as part of his job, it was new,light,bright and the staff seemed to be professional and kind. In the baby room, there were a dozen infants crying in their cots. He asked if they cried all the time. The answer was that because it was Monday and the babies had been with their parents for the weekend, they were all feeling sad (abandoned? ) and lonely. They would be alright by Tuesday. I felt so sad for them. Babies have no concept that time is finite, and these poor little mites have to suck it up. I was a SAHM and my children all went to nursery school for 3 hours a few times a week when they were 3 years old.
If it were possible, I think perhaps parents might be helped to stay with their babies for a year or two. And whilst I understand that having children might be considered a lifestyle choice , it seems hard that the baby is the one who suffers. Separation anxiety is real.