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Who's to Blame for the Lack of Children?

A recent study revealed that societal hostility towards kids is preventing many Germans from starting a family. DW-WORLD readers comment on the issue as well as fathers' rights.

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Not such a common sight in Germany any longer

Remind (Germans) what the Beetles said (or infered): Whose going to look after you when you're 64? This might at least make these selfish ones think of self preservation and hang up their condoms. -- Tony, Britain

To promote child friendly attitudes DW should take a poll of couples with and those without children to determine who are the happiest. It may come out that children bring happiness into life. The ancient Greeks considered children to be a man's most valuable possession. Is it possible that today's Germans are spoiled, don't want children so they can spend their money on vacations in the tropics? The Germans I meet in Costa Rica, where I spend half my time, seem to think so. My German grandfather came to Washington and raised a large family, in the 1800s and always claimed his children were his greatest joy. -- William McVeigh, US

For German society to become more child-friendly, several things need to happen. First, parents need to start disciplining their children. German children are little animals, just like children from every other country on earth. It is the parents' responsibility to train them to act properly. I have seen German children physically attack another child, or run around screaming, or roll around on the floor and almost cause a waiter to drop a whole tray of food, while the parent sits there and does nothing about it -- all in the name of "letting the children express themselves, and giving them their freedom." Is it any wonder these little demons are not wanted in stores and restaurants? Secondly, adults need to grow up and become real adults. The German attitude toward personal responsibility is pathetic. They all want to live together for years without making a real commitment to their partner. Grow up emotionally, get a job, get married, and then have children. People who do these things in this order have the most successful and fulfilling lives. Thirdly, all Germans (and everyone else) need to realize that society does not owe us a comfortable life. Save money, and then buy something. If we would restrain our spending, we would not need two incomes to make ends meet. My wife worked until the birth of our first child. The financial shock was significant, but we have adapted to living on one income, and my wife has no desire to rejoin the paid workforce. We will live on one income until the day she decides to find a paid job again. When that day comes, her paychecks will be for her to spend as she wants (since I am already covering our bills), and our quality of life will be even better. What a radical concept in this greedy, self-absorbed generation. -- Michael Kreger, US

Businesses and public facilities need to promote parents bringing their children to public places. Restaurants, libraries, the arts, etc. can all participate in encouraging people to have children by having special events that cater to families or at least make events or an outing more affordable or interesting for people with children. Having lived in Germany, I have noticed Germans looking down on children who may be louder or more active than adults--that behavior is just a part of childhood. -- Stefan Hughes, US

I noticed when I was a guest in German homes that children were rarely included in the evening. They went to neighbors or to their rooms straight after dinner; or ate separately and earlier than we did. In the US, when we entertain guests, children are simply a part of the evening and included in more joint social activities. -- Terry Morgan, US

It's a lack of selflessness and humility that reduces the birthrate in some richer countries. So what if you have to live in a cheaper apartment, drive a less trendy auto, and wear less "stylish" clothes to raise new loved ones. I'm a German American. I'd love to see a new generation of Germans in Germany. There is more German blood in America now than in Germany. In 100 years, Europeans will travel to America to see European culture if something doesn't change there soon. -- Joe, US

Fathers' rights I think fathers should have the right to know if the child they are supporting is their child. If the child is not their child the real father should be supporting the child. Fathers should not have to pay unreasonable amounts of child support. -- Christine E. Maddox, US











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