On September 10, 2015, when I read the heading of the Daily Telegraph Opinion Article “Parenthood is not a right: it’s a privilege” (Louise Roberts) it really stuck a cord with me. My immediate thought was “too true”. The article itself refers to freezing eggs and the timing of having children. However, the end of the article really made me think. It says: “having a baby is a gift and a privilege – a privilege that needs to be earned and worked for. It requires sacrifice and compromise. A child is not something anyone is entitled to order on demand, when and how they like. Parenthood is not a right, it’s a way of life.” This sentiment made me think of all of the divorced parents who squabble about access to their children, especially when the one parent inconveniently wants to change access/visitation times. While one parent’s required change inconveniences the other parent’s child-free time and plans, it really needs to be viewed as a blessing to have extra time with your children. More often than not, parents socialise with other parents. It doesn’t take much to tweak the majority commitments to be more family friendly. As adults and parents, we should see this as an opportunity to make memories and savour our children before they grow up and flee the nest. Time and access to our children is such an honour that we should prioritise our children over our social arrangements.
From the child’s perspective, changing weekends can be disappointing to them. As parents we need to deliver on promises and ensure we do not regularly disappoint our children. Paediatric psychologists often say that children are very resilient and need to learn resilience; however there are other and more appropriate opportunities to teach them this skill rather than being disappointed by a parent.
Children are partly a product of genetics, however, the greater part that shapes who our children become are environmental influences – what we subject them to and project upon them. Life is tough and children deserve to be handled with as much love and care, for as long as you can because having children and becoming a parent is the most rewarding, fulfilling role you can have.