Good analysis and yet too narrow a view: the ninth family report sees the needs of 1.4 million large families too little
The family report succeeds in analyzing the specific challenges and burdens of today’s families. It clearly shows how the requirements of today’s parenting differ from those of previous generations. The family report clearly shows the economic dangers to which the majority of mothers are still exposed, especially due to gaps in old-age provision. He names the need to reflect the diversity of family reality in a legally contemporary way and thereby protect the children growing up in the respective family constellation.
The report clearly sees the state as obliged to continuously adapt its educational and care structure to the needs of children and families. The family report names the need to equip teachers and supervisors with expanded pedagogical skills in order to give the children the best possible development opportunities.
However, the family report ignores the large family with their specific needs and living conditions as part of the diversity of lived family models. The fact that families do not fulfill their wish to have a third or additional child out of fear of financial insecurity and permanent professional disadvantage is thought-provoking.
In Germany there are 1.4 million families with three or more children. Every third child grows up in such a family. According to the BIB, around two thirds of the mothers in large families have a medium to high level of education, which is why large families do not live the single-income model across the board or are poorly educated. The issue of reconciling work and family as well as the way back to work with a higher number of hours is often different for families with multiple children. “According to a member survey, mini-jobs are very effective for families with multiple children. On the one hand, as an opportunity to earn additional income with a small number of hours for very young children and as a “foot in the door” to the employer with the prospect of returning to work, “explains Federal Chairwoman Dr. Elisabeth Müller. “Abolishing mini-jobs does not help large families,”
Families must be able to find their way between personal wishes and practicable paths. Equating the mini job with a brake on re-entry and suspecting it of cementing economic dependencies does not do justice to the reality of life, at least for large families. “As KRFD we would like innovative solutions for re-entry, more flexibility between full-time and part-time positions, training formats for re-entry for mothers as well as training parallel to family work,” says Müller. Nothing speaks against giving the mini job a self-image that makes it not a brake, but a jump start.
The risk to mothers in particular is also due to the fact that upbringing and family work are not recorded as “benefits” in the social security systems. Your work does not pay off because it is not valued and recognized by society. Old-age poverty is prevented by accounting for childcare and care work when calculating pensions.
The ninth family report advocates compulsory all-day care on three days. This has caused irritation in many families. “The quality of all-day care varies, and so are the time options for family care. Parents who can and want to look after their children at home in the afternoon should continue to have this option, ”said Müller.
The KRFD expressly joins every initiative that works to improve the living situation for families. The corona pandemic in particular shows how important family-friendly living and a child-friendly environment are in times of crisis. The KRFD welcomes the explicit mention of the topic of living because it is increasingly becoming a dramatic issue for families. The explicitly named “land-use planning” and thus also the responsibility of the construction industry can provide real impetus. Inner-city living must also be possible for families! Concepts are needed for family-friendly living as well as for families to acquire property. A proven measure is the Baukindergeld, which should be continued and stabilized.
The corona pandemic has demanded pragmatism and quick learning from everyone. The boost in home offices must be used to establish additional working time models that make it easier to combine family and work. This relief should not, however, be reserved for people who are highly qualified, have academic qualifications or have the privilege of well-paid work. Flexibility and the willingness to experiment could also lead to a better compatibility of family and work or family and care in other professions – for example in the care professions themselves and their shift organization.
During the last year, it became clear, just like under the magnifying glass, how fundamentally resilient families are. Families caught people when all other social systems – from school to work – were out of step. Families need sustainable support and flexible solutions, so that they can remain stable and withstand stress – also in the interests of society as a whole.