Par­ents must face up to their re­spon­si­bil­ity

Western Mail - - WM2 / VIEWS OF WALES - AW Jones Llan­drindod Wells

AT a time when we are all try­ing to bal­ance our spend­ing and look­ing for­ward to an ever-un­cer­tain fu­ture we have a scheme where all new ba­bies will be “given” a wel­come pack in the shape of a “Baby Box”.

When will it all end? Ev­ery week there seems to be a new scheme to help new par­ents “cope” with their new­borns, their pre-school tod­dlers, their school-age chil­dren and their young­sters in fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion.

We are con­stantly hav­ing so-called “child poverty” thrust down our throats at ev­ery given op­por­tu­nity. Per­haps th­ese same peo­ple should look around the globe and see what real child poverty is and not put that same la­bel on chil­dren who live in a coun­try where all lev­els of ed­u­ca­tion are free, health­care is free, their par­ents are helped out with tax cred­its, child al­lowances, ma­ter­nity leave (mother and fa­ther), hous­ing pro­vided by the state if needed and a coun­try where food and drink are read­ily avail­able in myr­iad forms and funded by the Gov­ern­ment if re­quired.

I have yet to see in this coun­try a child strug­gling 25 miles to a school (if there is one avail­able) in ragged clothes and no footwear. I have yet to see in this coun­try chil­dren who are so poorly fed they are con­stantly cry­ing with hunger or drink­ing from filthy wells.

Poverty does not con­sist of not be­ing able to have the lat­est phone, tablet or games con­sole, nor does it mean that be­cause Mummy and Daddy haven’t got a 52-inch sur­round-sound tele­vi­sion with satel­lite and smart tech­nol­ogy or the lat­est model of what­ever car they pre­fer that they are poor, and the rest of the pop­u­la­tion has to some­how ad­dress that un­for­tu­nate state of af­fairs.

Would it not be bet­ter to en­cour­age new par­ents to at­tend cook­ery classes so that they can pro­vide de­cent, healthy, and above all cost-ef­fec­tive meals rather than a con­stant diet of ex­pen­sive, fat­ten­ing take­aways and snacks?

It is now time for par­ents to face up to that old-fash­ioned con­cept of “re­spon­si­bil­ity” as it is their life­style choice to have chil­dren and it is there­fore their re­spon­si­bil­ity and not the state’s or any­one else’s to look af­ter their child.

There was a bill­board cam­paign in the United States I saw in the early ’80s while on hol­i­day there, a simple mes­sage that pro­claimed to all “Can’t Feed? Don’t Breed!” – a mes­sage which I and prob­a­bly many oth­ers are grow­ing to en­dorse more and more.

> Pon­typridd old bridge. Pic­ture taken by Keith Jones

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