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Old 2nd March 2012, 10:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Want more babies? Then help parents be parents

Want more babies? Then help parents be parents



The parental dilemma is compounded by perennial calls for the elderly and stay-at-home mums to return to work.

Rachel Chan
Fri, Mar 02, 2012
my paper


LISTENING to Members of Parliament (MPs) debate on efforts to raise Singapore's fertility rate yesterday made me want to jump right in and give my two cents' worth.

As a young parent, I naturally hung on to every word about any work-life-balance policy or family-friendly scheme that could help me be a better parent in any way.

You see, for the past two months since I returned to work from maternity leave, I sometimes feel that my mum-in-law is my six-month-old son's surrogate mother.

After all, she and my doting father-in-law babysit Asher, keep house and cook meals while my husband and I - both in the media line - spend up to 12 hours a day at work.

By the time guilt-ridden me gets home to Asher, he has already been fed, changed and, on some nights, put to bed.

Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful to have a supportive network. But I don't think it's fair that someone else gets to experience the joy of being his primary caregiver. Think I'd be having Baby No. 2 because my in-laws can look after my children? You must be kidding.

Besides, that'd mean depriving one more baby of his mother's attention.

If social and financial burdens must first be shouldered by the family - as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong often reiterates - then I strongly believe that parents should be at the forefront when it comes to looking after their children.

In Parliament yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said the Child Development Account - a savings account where parents' deposits are matched by the Government; it is valid for a child's first six years - would be extended by six years, and its usage broadened.

I welcome it. But I also think it's another piecemeal measure that assumes expense is the overriding reason why couples are not having more kids.

The parental dilemma is compounded by perennial calls for the elderly and stay-at-home mums to return to work. Who, may I ask, would be left at home to care for our children? Nannies? Domestic helpers? Childcare and infant-care centres?

Must we outsource the care of our offspring so that we can buoy workforce productivity rates? And if mothers are expected to pull their weight in bringing home the bacon, how can society ensure a more equal division of childcare duties?

So, here's my wish: Can the authorities look into incentives that will allow parents to, well, have time to be parents?

As far as I could surmise from yesterday's proceedings, no one made any indication of legislating paternity leave - an idea proposed by MP Seah Kian Peng and Non-Constituency MP Gerald Giam. In addition, why not make it mandatory to offer flexi-work arrangements to workers with young children?

Such a sea change in attitude is necessary if Singapore - where the employment rate is high and employees work long hours - wants its population to go forth and multiply.

Mr Bengt Westerberg, the Swedish politician who championed fathers' leave in his country, told the New York Times this: What won the argument was not so much women's rights as rights for men and children.

"Fathers have a right to a more complete life, one that does not revolve only around the job and money. And children have a right to both parents," he said in the report.

How true: Children have a right to a life where their parents are their primary caregivers - not surrogates.

Source: http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2...02-331115.html

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Old 2nd March 2012, 10:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Want more babies? Then help parents be parents

Actually, Singapore setup so many childcare to help you with taking care of the child.

Note, that the Garment are not actually promoting you to stay home and take care of your child, they just want you to breed and put them in child care. That is why incentives are given for you to have your child put in child care centers. And we can't really afford to have stay home parents, with our aging population and your strong opposition in taking in more foreigners. Ask yourself, whose going to help the businesses makes revenue, no revenue for business, they won't even be here hiring our ass.

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Old 2nd March 2012, 11:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Want more babies? Then help parents be parents

ask they married why they refuse to have kids? i asked my friends they told me how to have kids when they have not even finish paying HDB rent? some told me that they work until 11pm and reach home at 12am how to have family life?

we have to ask ourselves how did this happen and who make it happen and the ones which create so much competition between the local is asking u to work your ass off in the day and have sex like rabbits in the night, u think everyone is machine or what.

as long as they refuse to believe, there could always be more than 10 years of debate but nothing will be solve because they refuse to believe in the fact and truth which is just outside of the wall of their millionaire mansion

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Old 2nd March 2012, 11:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Want more babies? Then help parents be parents

Cost of living is one of the factors stopping people from having kids, I guess ?

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Old 2nd March 2012, 07:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Want more babies? Then help parents be parents

Originally Posted by xose View Post
Actually, Singapore setup so many childcare to help you with taking care of the child.

Note, that the Garment are not actually promoting you to stay home and take care of your child, they just want you to breed and put them in child care. That is why incentives are given for you to have your child put in child care centers. And we can't really afford to have stay home parents, with our aging population and your strong opposition in taking in more foreigners. Ask yourself, whose going to help the businesses makes revenue, no revenue for business, they won't even be here hiring our ass.
as alluded to in the article, one believes that a sea-change is necessary to transform the economic landscape of this little island-nation -- may the fears of being labelled 'uncompetitive' be banished, as those in finland have already done ;-)

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Old 2nd March 2012, 08:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Want more babies? Then help parents be parents

The parental dilemma is compounded by perennial calls for the elderly and stay-at-home mums to return to work. Who, may I ask, would be left at home to care for our children? Nannies? Domestic helpers? Childcare and infant-care centres?
Wonder why is this woman so strange? There are so many calls for so many things must she abide to all those calls?

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Old 3rd March 2012, 09:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Want more babies? Then help parents be parents

Originally Posted by sunnyncool View Post
Wonder why is this woman so strange? There are so many calls for so many things must she abide to all those calls?
No, it's the mothers' choice.

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Old 5th March 2012, 08:48 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Want more babies? Then help parents be parents

How to increase the fertility rate when even the price of a tin of milk powder now costs so much?

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Old 6th March 2012, 07:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Want more babies? Then help parents be parents

Originally Posted by electrobeat View Post
How to increase the fertility rate when even the price of a tin of milk powder now costs so much?
The new parents would need support from the government.

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Old 7th March 2012, 11:57 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Want more babies? These might help

Want more babies? These might help

By Ms Jayavantsinh Zala
Wednesday, Mar 07, 2012
my paper


With regard to the article, "Want more babies? Then help parents be parents" (my paper, March 2), the Government might consider these suggestions to improve Singapore's fertility rate:

- Maternity and paternity leave of up to one year should be granted.

- No-pay leave of up to two years should be available to female employees.

This will enable them to return to their workplace at the same position, saving them the stress of finding jobs or losing seniority at the workplace.

- Mothers should be able to work flexible hours so that they can adjust their working hours around their spouse's working hours, allowing infants to be placed at day-care centres for a minimum period and reducing the financial burden incurred for day-care services.

- Cash incentives could be given for each child delivered within a certain time frame, say, on or before December 2015.

- Free travel on public transport for school-going children up to primary-school level.

- A large family allowance could be given to families with more than three children, as is the practice in countries like Australia.

- Bigger subsidies for the levy on foreign domestic workers until a child turns three.

- A quota of Housing Board flats should be reserved for couples with three or more children.

- Lastly, feedback should be sought from female employees and women's organisations on what facilities and concessions the Government should consider with regard to this sensitive but vital issue.

Ms Jayavantsinh Zala (myp reader)

Source: http://www.yourhealth.com.sg/content...ese-might-help

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Old 8th March 2012, 07:03 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Parents, it's up to you to manage time better

Parents, it's up to you to manage time better

Reader says there are those with more than three children and are coping well with their careers and family life.

Wed, Mar 07, 2012
my paper


I refer to the article, "Want more babies? Then help parents be parents" (my paper, March 2), by Ms Rachel Chan.

Ms Chan is fortunate to have such caring parents-in-law to take care of her baby.

The time that parents want to spend with their babies is created by the parents themselves, and not by anyone else. It is not fair for Ms Chan to write that "I don't think it's fair that someone else gets to experience the joy of being his primary caregiver" - she should manage her time better and rush home to take care of her baby, and not spend 12 hours at work.

I have met many career parents who make it a point to spend a certain amount of time each week with their children. I have also read articles on parents with more than three children and are coping well with their careers and family life.

Ms Chan is fighting for paternity leave and asks that "the authorities look into incentives that will allow parents to, well, have time to be parents".

Well, in Singapore, parents are already fortunate to have four months' maternity leave and six days' childcare leave, as well as tax incentives of all kinds, including for maid employment.

What about people who use their own leave to take care of their elderly, sick parents? There is no legislation to give these people extra leave to take care of their parents.

Ms Chan also writes that "children have a right to a life where their parents are their primary caregivers - not surrogates".

This depends on the parents - is the mother willing to sacrifice her career to be the full-time primary caregiver, or does she want to pursue a career despite being unable to find time for her children?

The nurturing of bonds with their children comes naturally to parents.

You do not need more carrots to be dangled in front of you to help achieve satisfaction from parenthood.

Ms Chua Kim Choo (myp reader)

Source: http://www.asiaone.com/News/Mailbox/...07-331986.html

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Old 9th March 2012, 10:47 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Want more babies? Then help parents be parents

but in this day and age...it's very rare for women to wanna sacrifice their career, no? thanks to higher education and stuff...

moreover, the cost of living is going up up and up...unless the father has an extremely high and well-paying job...both parents would have to work to survive...

So yeah, it's not as simple as the writer puts it out to be after all =/ it's not a simple case of 'sacrificing career for kids' anymore but more of a practical need ><"

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Old 9th March 2012, 10:57 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Want more babies? Then help parents be parents

Originally Posted by xose View Post
Actually, Singapore setup so many childcare to help you with taking care of the child.

Note, that the Garment are not actually promoting you to stay home and take care of your child, they just want you to breed and put them in child care. That is why incentives are given for you to have your child put in child care centers. And we can't really afford to have stay home parents, with our aging population and your strong opposition in taking in more foreigners. Ask yourself, whose going to help the businesses makes revenue, no revenue for business, they won't even be here hiring our ass.
the way you put it... make SGers sound like hamsters

they should help mothers who left workforce for a few years to start family, to eventually return to the workforce. this way, mothers can be mothers when they are most needed and maternal instinct is very strong after childbirth.

i know women who are graduates but left workforce to start family. they want to return to work when their kids are older, but find it difficult. this is a pool of untapped human resource which goes wasted.

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Old 9th March 2012, 11:03 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Want more babies? Then help parents be parents

it is not wrong for mothers (parents) to want to be with their child. this is natural human instinct. our society should develop based on holistic view of human life cycle, not emphasize on economy over and above everything else.

should environment change to suit humans or should humans change to suit environment? can we change a basic human need for family? we are first world country with top salary leaders. surely we can do better if we are a bit more flexible rather than falling back to excuses and assumptions as to what works and what does not.

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Old 9th March 2012, 11:11 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Want more babies? Then help parents be parents

Maybe because couples want to have 二人世界

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Old 31st May 2012, 05:23 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Want more babies? Then help parents be parents

Originally Posted by christmas_ View Post
Cost of living is one of the factors stopping people from having kids, I guess ?
Yes. Not forgetting

- expensive HDB flats
- Stupid HDB balloting system that do not encourage people to stay near their parent( I cannot even get a new flat which is just next block to my parent)
- No parent help to look after the children as they cannot retire
- expensive child care
- job insecurity ( some friends have permanently contract jobs)
- long working hour
- very crowded transport system.

the list goes on....

I am not a quitter I am still fighting all the above with my wife and kid. I will survive!

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Old 31st May 2012, 05:29 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Want more babies? Then help parents be parents

i totally sympathise with the 1st article

I wouldnt want my kid growing up in a childcare centre

I WANT TO RAISE ME OWN CHILD

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Old 1st June 2012, 09:00 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Help parents be children too...

Make parent-care leave a must
by Yvonne Low (Ms)
01 Jun 2012 ST


I understand that the Ministry of Health (MOH) will be introducing a series of enhancements to make health care more affordable and accessible, particularly for middle-income households with elderly family members.

So I am surprised that there is no move to introduce parent-care leave, similar to childcare leave.

While childcare leave may help boost the fertility rate, parent-care leave could address the issue of an ageing population.

I am 35 and my husband and I provide care for both sets of parents living with us.

My father-in-law has heart problems and needs constant visits to the Singapore General Hospital. My husband and mother-in-law take turns to accompany him.

My mother has rheumatoid arthritis and cannot move around without help.

I accompany her for check-ups once or twice a month and when I cannot because of work, my husband steps in.

My paternal grandmother, who was immobilised by a stroke, also lives with us.

My father, who is retired, accompanies my grandmother for her medical check-ups.

We have one maid.

I understand that civil servants get two days of parent-care leave a year, and I am waiting for the Government to make this compulsory in the private sector, rather than as an option.

My husband and I have no children yet, and have undergone assisted reproductive procedures, but with no success.

We want children of our own, but our commitment in caring for elderly family members leaves us with no opportunity to do so.

I had to take many days off for my in-vitro fertilisation process. It will be a great help to us if the childcare leave of six days is extended to cover the care of parents too.

Call it Childcare/Parent-Care Leave.

Between my husband and me, that will amount to 12 precious visits in a year to the doctor for our parents and my paternal grandmother.

http://www.straitstimes.com/STForum/...ry_805634.html

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Old 2nd June 2012, 09:40 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Want more babies? Then help parents be parents

No substitute for parents in raising children
by Leong Hoe Nam
02 Jun 2012 ST


Many readers have aptly voiced concerns on work-life balance and making free time a priority in relation to the nation's low total fertility rate ('Tough 'social choices' ahead'; May 22).

I agree and would add that raising a child requires the presence of parents. Parents carry the responsibility of teaching and demonstrating the moral values to their children. This responsibility cannot be delegated to schools, religious bodies or voluntary organisations. And certainly not the Government. Grandparents are helpful and godsent. But self-reliance is best whenever possible.

The reverse of empty nest - where the parents are constantly away - may create social misfits of the children. The unregulated Internet, the dysfunctional characters on television become the social norm for the child.

The absence of a visible, living and loving role model will only breed a generation of self-serving, arrogant individuals. This is the last thing Singapore needs. This is the perfect recipe for a socially irresponsible society.

Growing children need visible parents, not proxies. The issue of work-life balance and free time thus extends to beyond childbirth and total fertility rate.

Given the two, which is the greater evil? One of children growing up with absent role-model parents or a country with low total fertility rate?

http://www.straitstimes.com/STForum/...ry_805945.html

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Old 9th June 2012, 02:13 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Want more babies? Then help parents be parents

Promoting early child-bearing aimed at protecting women's health
04 June 2012 ST


While Dr Andy Ho has acknowledged that the concerns about social egg freezing are valid, he highlighted that it is ultimately a personal decision ('Let her freeze her eggs'; last Thursday).

He says it is up to the individual to decide whether to preserve her fertility and if she will bear children, with whom, how many, how often and when. And no one else should make that decision.

As a doctor, promoting early child-bearing is aimed at protecting women's health to reduce the risk of complications and life-threatening diseases like cancers later, which many women do not realise until it is too late.

Probably based on views similar to Dr Ho's, social egg freezing has been allowed elsewhere, and Singapore would look forward to having such a programme endorsed by the Government, sooner rather than later.

Encouraging a woman to have a child before age 30 does not mean that she must be home-bound and have as many babies as possible, as insinuated by Dr Ho. Surprisingly, such an agrarian mindset still exists in Singapore today.

Tough as it may be, young mothers here continue to pursue their careers, and husbands play an active role in caring for the children while grandparents often lend support.

However optimistic Dr Ho may be, only time can prove that social egg freezing will not lead to later marriages and pregnancies, rising cost of child-bearing, negative impact on the waning birth rates here and, in the longer term, related problems of our ageing population.

Dr Tay Eng Hseon
Thomson Women Cancer Centre


http://www.straitstimes.com/STForum/...ry_806842.html

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