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The Forum > Article Comments > Losing the wisdom of the ages > Comments

Losing the wisdom of the ages : Comments

By Daniel Donahoo, published 1/6/2005

Daniel Donahoo argues that by having children older many potential grandparents are missing out.

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Dear Daniel

Thank you for a delightfully refreshing article!! What a contrast with Sylvia Else's recent article about the worth or not of fatherhood: "Is being a father worth the risk?"

I admit to being a "baby boomer". Clearly your sentiments emulate my background and that of my husband. We are therefore biased in favour of your article.

You have articulated what my husband and I regularly discuss over eve meal. I loved the picture you painted of your son with his Pa and sitting on Great Gran's knee. Reminded me so much of my cherished childhood - even though we came from a poor farming family.

We live on the Sunshine Coast Q. We constantly see middle aged holidaying parents (around 40-50 years of age) carrying their toddler children around the area. The parents seem to give, give give. But there is something missing. Children do not seem to have a concept of the notion of NO. How can they, when their parents do not say NO? In the main, children wear designer clothes, as do their parents. They do not seem to understand the notion of play - after all, play is the "work" of children!

I am glad that I did not gain tertiary qualifications until I was a working adult - and by distance education at that. My apprenticeship into nursing was a good start for me. And my husband had his apprenticeship in sign writing. We went to the University of Life before embarking on tertiary qualifications. There is a richness in ye old fashioned trades that universities cannot replace (even though I have been a Senior Lecturer at a Vic University).

My regret is that I did not travel as I could have. But there's heaps of time for that anyway. My husband (a 10 pound pommie) has seen more of Australia than most Aussies!

Going without is not that bad. Our first meal table was a very large collapsable ironing board! What great memories!

I bet your children are not fat. I bet they play backyard cricket and the like.

Kay
Posted by kalweb, Thursday, 2 June 2005 6:05:32 PM
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Despite the amount of taxpayer money spent on social science research, I have not seen too many studies undertaken into the value of grandparents or extended family to a child.

However there is the probability that grandparents would play a significant part in the formation of the childís identity, and not seeing their grandparents or having much contact with them, would mean that the child looses out on a part of its identity.

There would be some children who see their grandparents quite frequently, as those grandparents become a common child carer, while other children would seldom see their grandparents because they live in another town, or the childís parents have separated, and the childís father is removed from the childís life. Removing the father also removes one set of grandparents and extended family at least.

Only 4.4 % of separated children see their non custodial father daily, 22% weekly, 27% between once a year and fortnightly, and 30 % less than once a year or never http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/0/a790ff34bb1f14eaca25699f0005d616?OpenDocument. If the child does have contact with the father, only about 50% of those children will sleep over.

If there is so little contact with their fathers, then the children would likely have even less contact with their grandparents. Under the present system, the father is considered irrelevant, so the grandparents are even less relevant, and their wisdom and experience is of no real benefit to the child.
Posted by Timkins, Thursday, 2 June 2005 8:06:05 PM
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Dear Timkins - you seem such a sad soul. Do you spemd your life quoting rats 'n stats?

Daniel was speaking about "real people". He was speaking about human love.
Posted by kalweb, Friday, 3 June 2005 1:51:55 AM
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Klw
Iím often accused of not using enough anecdotal evidence, or not saying things such as ďGet a lifeĒ etc to other people, but the statistics I mentioned previously are now occurring to about 1.1 million children in Australia (1 in 3).

There is now minimal love. Itís now all legality, and someone has to have enough time and money to go through the legal system so that they can have contact with their children. This applies mainly to fathers and the fatherís parents (or the childís grandparents)

Of course without contact, there canít be much love, and if the situation continues or gets worse, then many children will have to learn their wisdom and experience through the education system or a TV set.
Posted by Timkins, Friday, 3 June 2005 8:36:59 AM
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Kay, why the attack on Timkins?
He is talking about real people too. The ones who want to be a part of their kids (or their grandchildrens) lives who are denied the opportunity due to a disasterous family law system. He was talking about kids growing up barely knowing their fathers or paternal grandparents dispite the desire of those people to be a real part of their lives.

It is true that Damiel did not address the points that Timkins makes in his posts but they are relevant to the issue of grandparents roles in kids lives. Possibly a much bigger issue than having kids later in life. Timkins did not attack Daniel or his article.

If Timkins is sad it might be because he has good reason to be, perhaps you could try understanding his pain.

Daniel, another interesting article. Good stuff for us all to think about.
Posted by R0bert, Tuesday, 7 June 2005 10:31:04 AM
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Firstly go back to the 60's when the pill became available and women had control over there bodies for the very first time. There was no thought to the impact of fertility when this drug was brought onto the Australian market.

Go forward in time to the 80's when magazines promoted you can have it all, education, career and once you achieved financial stability the family.

Also take into the consideration women that juggle working full time and the price her family pays for living this so called dream.

Then there is the divorce, no one told us the pressures of having it all! If I remember correctly in the 60's you had to be separated from your partner for I think it was 5 years before you could apply for divorce it is too easy to divorce in this country today and hey if you can walk away from the pressures then why not! Let somebody else worry i.e. the taxpayer about your dysfunctional family. People are to stressed trying to have this so called dream 2.5 children, the home, the new car in the driveway, and don't forget all the trimmings like furniture. How many young couples move into a house with nothing now a days.

Infertility in this country is a real issue and the fact that women are having babies later is also a sign of magazines promoting this new ideal lifestyle, and of course we can not let the government off here encouraging women to work has also helped there pockets out with the taxes that women pay. If every woman gave up work what impact would this have on our country?

So who's paying the price here grandparents? Just add guilt to the pressure's of parenting. I'm really sorry but I'm sure parents do not want to go back in time and if this means women are older in having children then get over it.
Posted by applesglen, Friday, 10 June 2005 5:41:54 PM
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