I am fed up with the discussion about “a too low birth rate in Germany and what the state could do about it“.
😉 Consequently, I take part in said discussion.
First and foremost, in my opinion the state should normally leave it to the individual persons to decide how many children they want. Even a population policy that seems rational or reasonable – perhaps for strategic reasons – like in China has two sides. I cannot “ethically” judge it.
But I get particularly upset whenever I hear the cry for and the discussions happening in this country about child-care centres (note the abbreviation Kita!) and child care subsidies. Consequently, I will now write down my own ideas.
You should not separate a child from its mother too early in life. The child might suffer early fear of loss. Which might then prevent the basic trust we all need so very much in life from being built up properly. Being a layman, I do not know how long the necessary time for a close mother-child relationship should be. However, I believe when we are talking issues of this importance, we should always try to “err on the safe side“. And this means that, in this case, actually “a little more” might be better than too little.
Consequently, it is a good idea for mothers to have the opportunity to spend as much time with their toddlers as possible. In a rich, modern and humane civilization, this should be possible. Society, enterprises and the state just have to want it.
In my opinion, there might be a correlation between the number of child-care places and the number of births, the former might even explain the latter. However, I do not think there is a causal link. It is just possible that in a “child-friendly“ society, there is more readiness to invest in something like a child-care centre. To me, it does not really sound plausible that a couple decides whether or not to have children dependent on whether or not there will be a place for their children in a day-care centre.
Something else – and perhaps this is more relevant – gets more and more obvious in my perception. It is not the women who decide how many children a couple will have! In my environment, there are quite a few couples where the woman would actually have liked to have or have had a child (or even more than one). And mostly the man is the power behind the decision against children or for only one child.
Women – being the balancing and partner-oriented creatures they are – accept this. They love (and fear) their husbands and do not wish to cause emotional difficulties with their “inappropriate and irrational demands”.
Perhaps the women find it a little easier to accept the male demands and abstain from having children in a “reasonable decision“ because it is also quite comfortable not to have children. It certainly makes the course of life less complicated (see career and self-fulfillment) and thus seems to have quite a few advantages.
To me, it seems a wrong assumption that women in our cultural area decide how many children they are going to have and that their decision is based on what infra-structure the state provides or what career chances remain for them. No – it is the men who mostly determine how many children there are in a partnership. Why don’t you just ask a few of the couples you are friends with how many per cent of the “mutual decision” were the man’s?
(Translated by EG)
Future is female!