Run programmes to teach skills needed by young parents

A mother holding her daughter in a park.
A mother holding her daughter in a park.PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO

I appreciate Manpower Minister Josephine Teo sharing her own story about the personal work-life choices she made regarding parenting during that important stage in life (Young parents want to continue other life pursuits, says minister, Aug 13).

As a baby-boomer mother of grown-up children, I can relate to Mrs Teo's concern about the work-life choices made by young people. Having interacted with many undergraduates, I understand that many worry about work-life challenges when they start working.

The survey findings in the news report are concerning - only a little under half of all Singaporeans (45 per cent) feel able to meet their work, family and personal responsibilities.

I believe there should be a programme that equips young adults to be better prepared to handle personal and family matters when they step into the workplace.

One way would be for universities to run such a "right start for work-life success" programme just before undergraduates start their final year of university. Other organisations such as alumni associations can also run similar programmes for youth.

One version of the programme can be attended by couples who intend to consider marriage. Another can be run for young adults who are not in a relationship but want to be equipped to interact better with others.

The topics covered in the programme should include managing a dual-career family, utilising flexible work arrangements, personal work-life effectiveness as well as how to improve relationships, for example, through conflict resolution. Such a programme would give participants the confidence and skills to work towards marriage and starting a family.

Government agencies can also give a presentation on the various programmes available to support couples, for example, housing grants.

This will help some to work on getting married and starting a family sooner, instead of being plagued by worries about work-life stress.

Yeo Miu Ean

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2019, with the headline 'Run programmes to teach skills needed by young parents'. Print Edition | Subscribe