Saturday, 22nd September 2018
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Making Modern Families Work

The recent admission by the Government that they were thinking of paying Grandparents who looked after children while their parents worked 1,000 Euro a year is quite a large step in understanding how parenting styles have changed over the years.

While it is not yet known whether the Government will actually go forward and enact legislation so that this will take place it is interesting to see such thinking taking place and how it reflects the way in which many families manage the way in which their children are looked after.

It is also in a very real way a reflection in which the workforce has changed radically in the last number of decades. Some people can remember back to when women working in the civil service had to retire on marrying, now it is more than routine that a woman's working career is as as important as that of her partner's.

In fact it is important because many families would not be able to survive in today's economy without two people working in the household. A woman's work is just as important as that of her partner's. So that leaves the question of what is to happen when there are children thrown into the mix and what options families have open to them in terms of childminding before children begin their schooling.

Some families choose creches or childminders, or at least have no option but to choose those. Others look for people within their families to mind their children if it is an option and in a lot of cases it is.

Many grandparents are of pensionable age but still, due to familial ties and a sense of love and affection, choose to be childminders to their grandchildren. Whether any money changes hands for this service, and it is essentially a service even though it is within the family, is often open for discussion but the data would suggest that even if money is exchanged it isn't at the going rate and therefore that is why the Government is suggesting that it might institute a special payment for grandparents who mind their grandchildren.

Modern life can be difficult and complex at times and no where can the situation be more fraught then when it comes to families. The competing pressures of work and home life can be difficult and anything that can make things easier is to be welcomed. That is why having grandparents as childminders can be such an easy fit.

With all of the complications that come with modern life making things work can be hard so that is why many parents are more comfortable with their parents taking on the childminding role while they are at work.

It would be great to think that there should be some recognition of this work, a lot of it unpaid or underpaid, by the State. After all if grandparents are raising the next generation then there should be some acknowledgement of all the hard work that they do.

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