Understanding psyche of millennials is key in lifting birth rate

Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo's response when questioned on whether young people are not getting their flats early enough to have children is, at best, amusing ("Minister's rejoinder to 'no flat, no child' belief"; Oct 12).

Yes, one does not need much space to have sex. In fact, it can be performed anywhere. But the problem is not about having sex. Rather, it is about having a roof over one's head when the baby arrives, especially with today's young, when living with parents is not a viable option.

We need to understand the psyche of the millennials.

My children and daughter-in-law are millennials. Their generation is one which has largely never experienced hardship. Most grew up with the help of foreign maids, and not having to do household chores. They are generally a pampered lot.

Making personal sacrifices and mindset and lifestyle changes when the baby arrives is a challenge, even with help from confinement nannies and maids.

Millennials are gung-ho. They travel free and easy, engage in extreme sports and take gap years. But raising children is something else.

They do not have to support their parents, and so have high disposable incomes. Peer pressure is high and there is a great propensity to keep up with the Joneses.

They do not baulk at spending $2,000 on a pram. My son and daughter-in-law spent in excess of $30,000 on gynaecological and private hospital charges for their firstborn.

The situation is exacerbated by their penchant to opt for private pre-schools, which charge exorbitant fees, children's gyms and other enrichment classes.

Against this scenario, millennials demand and expect a lot when raising a family.

Unless these are satisfied, the motivation to have children is low.

Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan