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Responsible parents will go to work

PUBLISHED: 10:02 28 November 2008 | UPDATED: 21:54 05 July 2010

A SINGLE mother of five argued on national television on Monday that she and other lone parents were being bullied by the government to go out and get a job.

A SINGLE mother of five argued on national television on Monday that she and other lone parents were being bullied by the government to go out and get a job.

Single mothers, she said, should have the choice to work, not forced to earn their own money.

It was unfair to take away a lone parent's right to income support - rules that came into force this week - and make them look for work, she added.

She seemed a reasonable enough parent - one of her daughters sat beside her, well behaved and smart - but she had failed spectacularly to grasp a basic tenet of parenting; responsibility.

Not just responsibility for sending her five children to school and keeping them off the street but taking some responsibility to pay for the shoes on their feet and the food on their plates.

And the responsibility to set those children an example that to earn money, you have to put in a day's work - or at least try to find work.

Now I don't know this woman's circumstances - abandoned by an errant partner or a single parent by choice - but her point is pretty thin.

The new rules are too tame, if anything. Not nearly tight enough, according to mothers on my watch, outraged that work is a natural part of their parenting deal to help make ends meet and pay the bills.

Let's be clear here. The government isn't ripping babes from their mothers' breasts to shove them in nursery corners and forcing their mothers into 12-hour shifts at the coalface.

Lone parents don't actually have to contemplate looking for a job until their youngest child has turned 12. Hardly child abandonment. Twelve-year-olds in some parts of the world are supporting their own families.

But campaign groups - notice people have all the time in the world to campaign and make a fuss about anything affecting them, but no time to work - say the move will lengthen dole queues and create a new generation of latchkey kids.

Well, I look around the school playground at 8.45 and again at 3.10 and see many mothers, who have managed to find work to fit into the school day and even school terms. Employers are prepared to bend working times to be family friendly.

Everywhere women are dropping off their children at school, dashing off to work to work furiously against the clock until they run out at 2.30 to be at school to pick up the children and go home for homework and tea. And this is primary school.

Twelve-year-olds don't need their parents at the school gate.

What do these women do all day at home anyway when their children are grown up and out of the house for seven-odd hours? Watch This Morning and Loose Women until the children come home?

What sort of example is it to children to talk about a choice to work or choose to sit on their great big bottoms expecting the state to pick up the tab?

Children are being brought up by the state to expect to be kept by the state with work and earning a living as something that other people do. No wonder so many of our teenagers lack aspiration or ambition when their parents are perfectly happy to do nothing.

Timmy Mallet and Martina Navratalova sharing a “bedroom”, food and a loo in a jungle.

TV magic. I'm A Celebrity is compulsive viewing because it makes the totally absurd real.

A washed up mediocre children's TV presenter sharing the same status as an iconic tennis legend. An hour of that night makes the credit crunch bearable.

ON my Great Law Watch - the law is an ass - how can it be that the mother of Baby P has been granted anonymity for life for one of the most unnatural and heinous crimes while any man accused and charged with rape is named and, normally, can be identified by photographs in the media whether he is guilty or not?

Men's lives are ruined by false allegations - and the no smoke without fire branding - while this depraved woman has the privilege of protection.

EVERY woman wanted to reach out to poor Tana Ramsay this week.

A sisterly choir of “how could he? He couldn't, could he?” echoed across the land in support of the sparky, independent and gorgeous allegedly wronged wife.

Then, in the tradition of loyal political wives, she was dragged out in a dress-down Sunday look to stand by her man and face the media looking as devoted as she was before the story broke.

Then, her smiling by his side, the brute refused to deny the allegations to assembled reporters'; trivializing the issue by saying he was starving.

If I'd been Tana, I'd have wanted to wrap her elegant grey scarf around his bull-like neck and pull it tight. The arrogant swine.

If he wasn't going to put the record straight why did he put her - the mother of his four children - through it? Because he's a pig-headed, foul-mouthed selfish male.

OF all those at the top of the royal tree, I'm beginning to warm to Prince Harry. And even more to his girlfriend Chelsy Davy who makes waity Katy Middleton look contrived, affected and an empty vessel.

While poor William seems as dull as ditch water and as awkward as his father, Prince Harry has inherited his mother's “common touch” with special warmth that radiates and connects with people.

Chelsy has the natural confidence of someone comfortable in her own skin and not willing to change - not even The Firm.

But we all know the fate of the previous woman that tag applied to.

SOMETIMES you read a story or watch an interview and are incredulous how people manage to carry on getting through the days so horrendous their experiences.

Amanda and Phil Peak wake up every morning to an empty house after their two small boys were killed by drunken footballer Luke McCormick.

They went from a family of four to a couple once more, their boys of ten and eight snuffed out by dangerous driving.

Amanda is only 31, her husband, who suffered serious spinal injuries in the crash and is in a wheelchair, is 37 but they can have no hope of more children not that they could even contemplate it now.

Amanda had a hysterectomy two years ago for cancer and will never know the feeling of being a mother again.

But with great dignity, she accepted the news that imprisoned McCormick's girlfriend is five months pregnant.

She could have condemned him, ranted and railed but she didn't. She maintained the immense courage and composure she's managed throughout and said she hoped, by realising how precious life is, be a decent father when he gets out.

People like the Peaks are truly humbling.

I BET one area unaffected by the credit crunch will be all the pointless research and obvious findings funded and undertook in universities, institutions and polling organisations across the world.

A recent gem was the earth-shattering revelation - billed as the first study of its kind - that babies pushed in forward-facing buggies could end up "emotionally impoverished" and slower to speak because of the lack of face-to-face contact with the parent pushing them.

Never. How much did it cost to get that result?

I could have told them for nothing. Twelve years ago when I was shopping for a suitable chariot to transport my precious firstborn it was a nightmare to find a contraption that changed from a pram into a backward facing pushchair.

I wanted to talk to my baby not push him into the world to be nose-to-nose with drooling dogs, people's knees and car wheels. Those outward facing buggies looked plain cruel and yet another excuse for poor parenting.

Yet, by wanting my baby to feel safe and grow up an effective communicator, I was viewed as old-fashioned.

"Neuroscience has helped us to learn how important social interaction during the early years is for children's brain development," said university psychologist Suzanne Zeedyk. More common sense than science, I'd say.

Well, at least we got there - and I can say my sons were the trailblazers in their backward-facing pushchairs. The chatting and communication bit worked- they haven't stopped talking since.

BOYS are behind girls in every area before they even start school, the government revealed this week.

And the gap keeps on growing when they're at school because teachers don't take into account boys and girls' different ways of learning.

As a mother of two boys passionate about their education, my two penneth, for what it's worth, is different to the government's.

Boys and girls might have different styles of learning but they certainly get different treatment in the classroom. Boys invariably get a raw deal from the mainly female teachers who work in a feminised education system geared towards the success of girls.

Boys and their ways irritate teachers and too many women teachers haven't got a clue how to motivate boys let alone understand them.

They spend their days praising and rewarding the sweet quiet girls and punishing the boys for being their competitive, lively and creative selves. No wonder boys' confidence droops and eventually dies.

And, as for being behind when they start school, parents treat their boys differently too. Watch parents with different sex children. Invariably, the parents chat to the girl and let the boy get on with boy stuff. Parents make the effort to engage with girls more.

Not rocket science, eh?

THE showbusiness elite seem to believe it's their domain to remain “players” as they move onto their dotage.

At 63, Bryan Ferry is dating his son's ex-girlfriend who is 27.

Previously on dating age gaps, Ferry has said: “It doesn't seem weird to me at all. I know lots of people of different ages. I don't just hang out with people who are 60.”

No, Bryan, it's not at all strange a near pensioner dating a young woman in her twenties. It's just not that special. They're on Jeremy Kyle all the time.

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