Thursday, April 26, 2007

Children for Germany

One of the main problem for politicians in Germany still remains: not enough children.

I'd like to say "that's not really a problem and it will pass", but, honestly, I'm not sure about that myself. There are just that many reasons why people in Germany don't want children any longer. As long as those reasons aren't gone, there won't be as many children born each year as would be deemed necessary.

Now, a lot of people probably will stare at me and say "well, you're a woman, too, and you don't have children, so start getting some". But, first of all, I'm not in a relationship at the moment, and, second, I doubt I could be a good mother anyway.

I don't get along well with children, I never have (even when I was a child myself). I guess I'm either not patient or else not female enough for it. I don't get these 'motherly' feelings either when I see children. And I don't feel as if something is missing from my life just because I don't have any. I know, my biological clock is ticking, I'm above 30 and should be thinking about children - but I doubt I'll ever will. And I guess those children that could have been mine will be quite happy about it - they'll surely get better mothers this way.

My parents aren't that happy about not getting grandchildren, but I guess by now they've gotten used to it. After all I've always said "I don't want children" and they've had more then enough time to come to terms with it.

But I'm not against children in general, very much unlike some people. I don't want any of my own, for the reasons I've explained above (and some others), but I'm more than happy for women who want children and have some. That's what I understand when I'm thinking of balance: I have no children, but a woman who loves to have children will have more of them. I think our society should start supporting those families a lot more.

Fact is, politicians are screaming "we need more children" a lot - and some groups are very aggressive when it comes to women who have an abortion (for whatever reason) -, but the moment the child is actually born, nobody is there to help the parents. There's not much support for a family in which, for example, both parents have to work and really need a place where the child can stay a little longer (kindergarten in Germany usually opens between 7 and 8 a.m. and closes between 5 and 6 p.m. - and quite often you have to pick your child up for lunch). Places in the kindergarten usually cost money in Germany which especially the poorer families (in other words: those where both parents have to work) quite often can't afford.

Quite often even our society is accused - rightfully in many cases - of being set against children. Children in theory are fine, but the moment they actually exist, in other words run around and can be heard, they are not welcome any longer.

Families with children have a problem in finding a flat - that's a fact. Even pets are more popular with a lot of landlords than children.

Women with children have a problem in getting a job - that's a fact, too. Most bosses seem to think "She'll miss work a lot because the children are sick".

Families with many children (4 and above, if you want a definition for 'many') are in danger of being seen as anti-social - that's a fact as well. Even though the parents may both work and earn more than enough money to raise the children, a lot of people immediately think "They just have that many children so they get money from the government".

So, under those circumstances, would you like to have children in Germany?

Then there's the whole 'social security' issue.

About 20 years ago, there were enough jobs for everyone in Germany - so the future of children looked bright.

Most couples stayed together for their life - so there weren't that many single-mothers and -fathers around.

More people than today got married - so it was harder to split up than for a couple today which might have lived together for 20 years, but can split up in seconds, because there's nothing official to do.

The way it looks now, there's no chance the low birth rate will go up until the people in Germany wake up and realize that in order to get children, there has to be a place for them.

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