LifeSkills Handbooks Activity 57

This is a single activity session plan from The Lifeskills Handbook. There are 61 activity sessions in this book and this is Activity 57. The book is available from our resources section where you’ll also find downloadable storybooks, booklets and posters to help you in your work.

LifeSkills Handbooks Activity 57 – The Job of Being a Parent

Purpose of Activity:

  • To identify the qualities and resources needed for parenthood.
  • To understand the responsibilities of parenthood.

Life Skills: Critical Thinking, Communication, Interpersonal Relationships, Self-awareness

Important Points
Girls before the age of 18 are not ready, physically, emotionally or mentally to start having and bringing up children. If they do, they need lots of support. You may want to do this activity in more than one session.

Materials

  • Cut out or copy two job adverts from the local newspaper, listing qualities such as:
    • education and skills required
    • qualifications
    • experience
    • know how to operate equipment or machinery (e.g. computer)
    • other resources (e.g. driving licence)
  • and which gives other information such as:
    • work hours
    • salary and benefits
  • A list of suggested questions for the parent interview

Preparation

Before the session choose a boy and a girl who want to roleplay Romano and Marianna. Give them the roles and spend some time helping them plan how to act their roles.

Roleplay Romano

You are 17 years old and you live with your father in the room he has rented. He is a long-distance lorry driver so he is often away from home and you have learnt how to look after yourself. After primary school, you started a small business selling food and sweets on the street. Sometimes you make a little extra money and you have managed to save enough to buy a dress for Marianna. You love Marianna very much and think she would be a perfect mother and wife. Since you have met the person you love, you see no reason why you should wait and you feel being a husband and father will make you more mature. You are willing to work hard to earn more money. Marianna’s mother likes you a lot and you try and help her with small things in her business.

Roleplay Marianna

You are 15 years old and finished primary education a year ago. Since then you have been helping your mother with her informal cooking business. You go to an evening secondary school because that is all your mother can afford, but the standard of teaching is low and you think you are wasting your time. You love children and spend a lot of time looking after the baby daughter of your eldest sister. You met Romano a year ago and you really love him and want to have a baby with him. You think your mother would help with the baby but you haven’t talked about it to her.

Steps

  1. Using the posters or advertisements, explain how job advertisements work.
  2. In groups, ask the children to prepare a job advertisement for the job of parents of a six-month-old baby. Include all the qualities and characteristics the applicant should have. Also, include the work hours and the benefits of the job.
  3. Groups prepare advertisements on a large sheet of paper and display them.
  4. Allow everyone to go around looking at the advertisements.

You can have a break here.

  1. Explain that in this activity, two teenagers apply for the job as parents. Tell the group that it is the future year 2150. Because of the difficult time faced by children in the past, everyone now has to apply for permission to have children before they can get pregnant. They apply to the Child Development Office where experts interview them.
  2. Tell the group to imagine they are workers at the Child Development Office. Two teenagers, Romano and Marianna are coming to be interviewed as parents.
  3. Discuss the questions they would ask and write these on a chart. Here are some ideas:
    • Where do you plan to live with the baby? How much space is there?
    • How much money do you earn each day? Is this enough to look after a baby?
    • How will having a baby affect your relationship with each other?
    • Why do you want to be parents at this time of your life?
    • Do you have any experience with babies and young children? How much patience will you have when children make a mess or cry?
    • What help can you expect from parents, relatives and friends?
    • What would be the best thing about being a parent? The most difficult?
    • What job do you want in the future? How will having a baby now affect your goals?
    • What are your plans for continuing education after the baby is born?
    • How do your parents feel about becoming grandparents now?
    • Would becoming a parent now affect your relationships with your friends?

You can have a break here.

  1. Ask three volunteers to act as the Child Development experts who are interviewing. They should be polite and kind but also ask tough probing questions. Each expert can ask two of the questions selected.
  2. Ask the two children acting as Romano and Marianne to come forward. Give the experts 10 minutes to ask their questions. Then give other children in the group a chance to ask any follow-up questions.
  3. At the end of the interview, ask Romano and Marianna to leave and have the experts discuss whether they are qualified to become parents at this time. Hopefully, the children will reach the answer, ‘no’ but if they give the answer ‘yes’, help the experts look at the difficult situation of Romano and Marianna.
    • They have a good relationship now but they are young, inexperienced and in love. If their relationship ended, their child will not live with both parents.
    • Neither has much money. It takes money to support a child.
    • Neither has finished secondary school or has a reliable job. Becoming a parent makes it more difficult to improve their chances later.
    • Their families cannot give them extra money.
    • Marianna is young to have a baby. There are many health risks for her and the baby.

Final Discussion:

What are the most important qualities a parent should have? Does experience as a parent help you to get other jobs? Which ones?

Is it important to be ready to be a parent? How do most adolescents become parents? (Usually accidental and unplanned.) What pressure does this put on them? Are you ready to be a parent?

Find out more about the LifeSkills Handbook and how to purchase it!

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