Children and hardship or career and money: Lithuania’s demographic situation surpassed the worst scenarios
on the first Friday, a national conference for families, experts and institutions was held at the Presidency of the Republic of Lithuania for the first time in Lithuania. In it, experts and parents raised questions, discussed and found at least preliminary answers regarding the demographic crisis in Lithuania, possible causes and starting point. The conference participants also talked about how many in the country demographics important human emotional levers.
“The state must help every father, mother and every child. We all try very hard so that no matter what kind of family – more or less affluent – a child is born into, it affects his future achievements. Let’s encourage ourselves and others to grow into happy people. Let’s grow Lithuania together”, says the first lady, the patron of the conference and the national initiative “I’m Growing Lithuania” Diana Nausedienė.
Children and hardship or career and money?
According to Asta Speičytė-Radzevičienė, the head of the national initiative Auginu Lietuva, who organized this conference, when the country’s demographic situation surpasses the worst scenarios, it is important to talk about the birth rate crisis, possible starting points and how to preserve and spread what you cannot.
“If we want to achieve change and save the country’s demographics, we need to speak loudly about the conditions that allow us to balance the family with professional activities and personal self-expression needs, and demand that families raising children fight against poverty and depleted financial opportunities. We must discuss adequate family policy, promotion of equal relations between the sexes, support of the family and society, and together search for answers to the most important question – what can we change so that residents in Lithuania want to start a family, raise and expect children”, says A. Speičytė-Radzevičienė .
Parents are looking for a balance
Mindaugas Žiupsnis, a father of four children, went on paternity leave after the birth of his third child. He emphasizes how important it is to speak out loud about family well-being and opportunities to create the best conditions.
“After the birth of my third child, I decided to take paternity leave myself. After all, children are the responsibility of both parents. Although, I will not hide it, I received various reactions from those around me. For example, when I went to the hospital with my child, I received unpleasant comments, as if I was a “super parent”. In our society, it has been accepted that a woman must sacrifice her career, raise children and take care of the family. It is because of such entrenched beliefs and negative reactions to child care that we need to speak loudly about equal gender relations in the family,” M. Žiupsnis shares his thoughts.
According to the head of the national initiative “Auginu Lietuvaų”, it is important to know where you can turn to and seek help when you are in trouble in the family.
“In addition to the topics of demography and parenting, it is also important to talk about the community, the role of the state and support for families on an emotional level. Emotional can make a person healthy to raise children. Taking care of babies requires a lot of patience and coolness – not everyone is ready for this life challenge. When it comes to emotional support, it seems like it should be enough in some sources. The whole big problem of emotional support should be solved by non-governmental organizations, municipal institutions, and state institutions. But when it comes to help “here and now” – we won’t find it so soon. You need to think carefully, and then look for who provides targeted help to solve a specific problem and where to turn. We have to create a welfare state, which would be obliged to guarantee a dignified life for every family”, says A. Speičytė-Radzevičienė.
As a result, she says, it is imperative that we not only speak out about the challenge of parenting and emotional health, but also use practical tools to educate parents and help them in their important mission. One such practical tool where parents and specialists can find reliable, science-based information in one place is the remote, educational platform under the name created by the national initiative “Auginu Lietuvaų”.
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