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German parents want more state support

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German parents want more state support
Photo: DPA
07:09 CEST+02:00
German parents are unhappy with family support on offer from the government, according to a new study. Most said they wanted more day care places and help balancing work and caring for children.

Almost 90 percent of the 1,000 parents asked by pollster Forsa said they thought the state should do more to support them. Another 54 percent said they had big difficulties juggling work and parenthood.

And 61 percent of those asked said that the current coalition government was not meeting its childcare targets, causing mothers and fathers to “lack in direction and vision,” said Marie-Luise Lewicki, editor-in-chief of Eltern parenting magazine.

Three-quarters of people asked said it was unhelpful that there were not enough day care centres for children younger than three. And in August when childcare laws change – the government will guarantee a day care place for each child – 48 percent said they would be demanding one.

The government will also be bringing in childcare subsidies called Betreuungsgeld from August, meaning parents who do not take their child's free kindergarten place will receive money to keep them at home. Forty-nine percent said they wanted the hotly debated, controversial payments.

And when it came down to gender roles in parenting, most said they were bored with the traditional male breadwinner, female homemaker set-up. Only six percent said they thought this was the best idea.

Yet 40 percent said they would like it if the father worked full time and the mother part time – looking after the house and children while not at work.

Thirty-eight percent said that splitting office hours equally, 30 hours each, and sharing housework was what they would like but in reality, only six percent actually said they did this.

And in 57 percent of cases the fathers worked full time while the mother worked part time. This was cited as being for financial reasons by 45 percent of those who did this. Both parents cutting down hours would be too expensive.

Returning to work was another topic that divided people answering the questions. While almost all said that going back to work as soon as possible after birth was not a priority, a quarter said a mother should return after a year. Over 42 percent said that a woman should wait for three years.

This was not unrealistic, said Lewicki, who added that going back to work too early after having a baby could be overwhelming.

DPA/The Local/jcw

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