One size does not fit all.

I am a single Mum to Charlotte who is six and a half and Rosie who has just turned 3.  I am not a single Mother through choice; I cannot imagine there are too many parents who would choose this difficult path to one of two parents sharing the role of parenting and the financial security this would usually bring.

My choice is to stay at home with my children, I look at it as a profession that demands the absolute best that I can bring to it and I do it with a bucket full of love for each of my precious children.  I also work from home as a freelance writer and photographer and I am also a sole parent beneficiary.

I knew I wanted to homeschool my children before they were even in existence.  I feel passionately about bringing up my children within the home environment, somewhere their needs and education can be met with love, respect and passion.

I would draw your attention at this point to the Human Rights Act of 1993 that states, “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children”. I believe this bill will be in breach of my human rights.  How can we only target one section of society because they are poorer than the rest, are we saying that somehow this section of society is less human than our next door neighbours because they don’t have a husband or full time employment to support themselves without help? I repeat it is not a path you would choose if you didn’t have to; Single parenting is hard, incredibly rewarding but hard.

I believe that a child’s ability to function throughout his life is directly attributed to their home environment. ‘Home is where the heart is’ I believe the saying goes. Home is where you rest your head at night; it’s a place where we find comfort, food and clean clothes.  As adults we have many roles in life and being a parent seems to be becoming less and less important.  Trying to force Mother’s back to work when they should be at home caring for their children is a loss of one of the most important tasks a person can undertake, to educate and care for their child and not feel pressured if that is their choice.  I understand it is not for every parent but it should remain a valid choice of career for Mothers. Our children after all are the future, what more rewarding or important task can there be in life than to bring these little people up to be incredible human beings?

You would not expect a government department to work without a manager would you? That person is present everyday to ensure that plans are followed; jobs are completed and that everyone is working the way they need to. It’s the same in my house, I am that Manager I have the time and energy to invest in my two little girls like no one else does, no one is more qualified than I am as their Mother.

My two children are thriving under home instruction and I find it more than a little difficult to understand a government policy which can possibly think that my girls would be better off in an over crowded classroom or fighting for a place in the local Early childhood education centre which isn’t even walking distance from our home, when I am willing and able to provide such a high level of individual tuition, activities and education for them both.

I would bring your attention to the study done by the researcher Dr Raymond Moore: ‘“Harold McCurdy, a distinguished psychologist from the University of North Carolina and a leading student of genius, says that genius is derived from the experience of children being most of the time with adults and very little with their peers. So when you start assembling children in very large numbers for long periods of time, you are on the wrong course for producing strong character and intellect. The more children around your child, the fewer meaningful human contacts he will have. Let me give you another example, the matter of adult responses. John Goodlad, Graduate Dean of Education at UCLA, came out with an article in the Phi Delta Kappan in March, 1983. He did a comparison of over a thousand schools and found that the average amount of time spent in person-to-person responses between teachers and students amounted to seven minutes a day. It doesn’t take much to see that if your child is one of 20, 25, 30 or maybe more youngsters in a classroom and the teacher is giving only seven minutes a day in responses, that your child is lucky if he gets spoken to once a day. If he is an aggressive or misbehaving child, he might get more attention. But when a child is home with his mother, he may get one, two, three hundred answers to his questions and ideas a day. So you can see right there where we are in terms of the sheer potential there is for the stimulation of intellect in a home.”

In further research I have undertaken I have found many reasons against sending my children to Early Childhood facilities. I will just mention two of the studies for you.  The first study was undertaken by The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and found that aggression and behavioral difficulties are linked to children being placed into early childhood settings from a young age.  The second study by Jay Belsky Birkbeck College, University of London, U.K. found that his analysis of research produced the conclusion that early and extensive non-maternal care carried risks in terms of increasing the probability of an insecure infant—parent attachment relationships and promoting aggression and noncompliance during the toddler, preschool, and early primary school years.

My children are both thriving at home and I do not wish to separate them from one another. They are best friends and absolutely adore each other. At the present time they learn together with great enjoyment of each other’s company, although they work at different levels of course.  It would be detrimental to both my children to remove the younger of my children into forced ECE. At this current time I hold an exemption for my eldest as was even commended highly from the Ministry of Education for my enthusiasm “Congratulations on this application, a very full, thorough and well reasoned approach. Your enthusiasm certainly comes through. Nice to see you know the “big picture”, enjoyed the DVD” Steve McGregor.

I understand sadly that there are many parents out there, who are not just single but married, on benefit and not on benefit that do not have their children’s welfare at heart and these children need to be protected.  However I cannot object more strongly to the government’s assumption that sole parents on benefit are all neglectful parents who don’t care about their children’s health and education and in the words of the MP Paula Bennett need “A big stick waved at them” to be compliant to the new social obligations that make sweeping assumptions about our parenting abilities as single parents because we have had to ask for financial assistance.  What possible basis do you have for such severe discrimination and assumption of bad parenting against this small section of society?

There is no thing of greater importance in my life than my two children, their education and their health.  I do not wish to delegate my responsibility to educate and care for my children to anyone else.  Yet according to new guidelines after three warnings of refusing to bend to your will, the little help I get from the government will be halved and the big stick brought out to punish my little family.  Followed by involvement from other government agencies to further push and stress my beautiful family into submission.

On the issue of health I do believe children should be enrolled with a GP or at least have access to a doctor but not just the children of single parents but ALL children, again why is this issue aimed at sole parents only, yet more discrimination and judgements on our parenting abilities and freedom of choice for our families.

I do believe we have a right to choose if our children are to be vaccinated. I know this is a hugely controversial issue and the government is keen to get to its targets but at what risk? Let me site three interesting facts concerning vaccines and why it should be a choice given to all parents to make for themselves.

  • In 1975, Japan raised its minimum vaccination age to 2 years old.  The country’s infant mortality subsequently plummeted to such low levels that Japan now enjoys one of the lowest levels in the Western world.
  •  In Australia in 2005 the flu vaccine was suspended after an alarming number of children were showing up in A&E with febrile convulsions and other vaccine related symptoms just hours after receiving the vaccine.
  • Some of the ingredients that can be found in vaccines currently on the market MSG, antifreeze, phenol (used as a disinfectant), formaldehyde (cancer causing and used to embalm), aluminum (associated with alzheimer’s disease, parkisons and seizures), glycerin (toxic to the kidney, liver, can cause lung damage, gastrointestinal damage and death), lead, cadmium, sulfates, yeast proteins, antibiotics, acetone (used in nail polish remover), neomycin and streptomycin.  The ingredient currently making the press is thimerosol (more toxic than mercury, a preservative still used in many vaccines, not easily eliminated, can cause severe neurological damage as well as other life threatening autoimmune diseases).

To say nothing of the controversy that has surrounded the MMR for years and the tragic effects it can have.  As a family we know this only to well after watching a friend lose her child from the suspected effects of the MMR vaccine.

I would at this point draw your attention to a paper that MP Paula Bennett released where she stated, “Immunisation is a medical treatment and the decision should remain with the parent” I don’t think at any point did Ms Bennett say ‘except single parents on benefit’!  Why do we cease to get the choice? Are we now lesser members of society because we are financially vulnerable and in need of help from the country we live in?

I work as many hours as I can to help provide for my family. I am a writer and photographer and do as much work as I can to help my situation.  I imagine next to a lot of people the hours I work as a parent on my own, teacher to my children, and as a writer would make their working day feel like a part time job!  It is my hope that it won’t be long before we can fully support ourselves but until then I am at your mercy.

It is my hope that you will all individually consider the rights you are intending to take away from sole parent beneficiaries like myself and SAY NO to this bill, one size does not fit all.

I truly believe that this new legislation discriminates against beneficiaries and their children and violates our freedom of choice.

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