• Warmth or Wealth of a parent?

My partner set me thinking last week with an article he sent me about a recent UNICEF research, which resulted in an analysis showing child well-being in the UK at the near bottom of a league of developed nations.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Unicef report says spending quality time with the kids must be prioritised over making money for the sake of the children's happiness

Botswana of course does not fall in the category of developed nations and was not part of the research, but I found it very interesting that some of the major issues that affected the UK, which at a pathetic number 19 out of  24 countries sampled,trailed behind other countries in its league such as Switzerland and Ireland, were common to us, a developing nation.

The eye opening research titled: “Why are British children so unhappy’  suggests that  the answer to that question is that  parents in the UK put too little attention on family time and too much on material goods.
Unicef paints a picture of Britain being a country that has got its priorities wrong – trading quality time of their  children for “cupboards full of expensive toys that aren’t used.”

“Parents in the UK want to be good parents, but aren’t sure how,” the research suggests. “They feel they don’t have the time, and sometimes the knowledge, and often try to compensate for this by buying their children gadgets and clothes.”

Being a working mother I can relate,makes me wonder what a similar research carried out in Botswana would reveal, considering that we seem to have such a large number of not only single mothers ,but single, working mothers for whom, juggling parenting and paid work (Looking after children can be an exhausting, full time unpaid work) has come to mean keeping a constant eye on the clock, and thinking of all the tasks  they could accomplish in a day’s work if they had more time.

“All children interviewed in the UK  said that material goods did not make them happy, but materialism in the UK seems to be just as much of a problem for parents as children,” the research concludes.

If the UNICEF reasech is anything to go by I would say UK  parents should consider themselves lucky are compared to me whose children demand both expensive toys and attention, not one of the above to the exclusivity of the other, which can be very frustrating.

The two boys seem to have such an insatiable appetite for  new but often not treasured toys, which often leaves me feeling compelled to work harder to increase the family income in order to afford what they want and at the same time they can be uncompromising and  relentless when it comes to  their demand for my attention. In fact I suspect that if they were to have their  way my children would still have the most  toys in the hood and still have their mother at home 24/7.

How do parents resist the materialism pressure plaguing our society and balance the time spent with kids and time spent at work? Any suggestion and comments can be sent to emangb@thevoicebw.com