'Heavy handed' to punish parents

'Heavy handed' to punish parents

Reader Eunice Li Dan Yue has suggested going after parents who leave their children unattended ("Prosecute parents who leave kids home alone"; The New Paper on Tuesday, May 5).

This is a heavy-handed approach which will only discourage child bearing.

Understanding the differing needs of families in Singapore today is essential for the development of family policies and services that adequately support families in their child-rearing tasks.

Unlike the 60s and 70s when looking out for one another came naturally, and when the kampung spirit was really alive, the sense of good neighbourliness is clearly lacking today.

In those days, sharing a bowl of rice and sambal with those who could not afford a meal was the norm.

Sadly today, many neighbours do not engage in small talk and adopt an attitude that "if it is not my business, I do not need to know".

The parents of the toddler who was saved by the two construction workers have learnt a painful lesson, so let us not take them to task and cause further distress to them.


Bottom line: We have to stop punishing people to this extent if we want to become a truly gracious, caring and inclusive society - more so when the government often assures its citizens that no one will be left behind.

Policies that provide a slew of measures to help young parents raise their children are a far better option in encouraging procreation.

We must understand that some young parents could be facing financial problems and that placing their child in a childcare centre or hiring a maid would be too expensive for them.

This article was first published on May 11, 2015.
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