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English / Japanese

[Department of Educational and Developmental Science, School of Education and Welfare]
Professor YAMAMOTO Rie

There is no such thing as a perfect human being or a perfect parent. What we need is a loose childrearing support network for sharing information and thinking about things together.

Childrearing is a Social Issue

 

I definitely cannot say that the environment surrounding young children these days is getting better. With changes in parents’ work conditions and lifestyles, society as a whole is shifting to a nocturnal lifestyle and the rhythms of children’s lives are being disrupted. Moreover, exam competition is beginning from younger and younger ages. Don’t we need to build an environment in which people can live carefree childhoods without worrying about money or the future? It’s also important for children to play with other children from different age groups, so I think we need to build more opportunities to get children to play with a wide range of age groups in their communities.

Parents being parents, the full responsibility of childrearing falls on the individual, with society saying, “You look after your child, I’ll look after mine.” Since they themselves live in a competitive society that has demanded perfection from them, they are unable to escape from perfectionism and end up frustrated over not being able to talk about it with others. But, as the saying goes, “Nobody is perfect.” There is no such thing as a perfect human being or a perfect parent. It’s important to tackle this as a social issue, not keep it bottled up inside individuals.

Building Networks That Cross the Government-People Divide

 

From now on, it’s important for universities to participate in what governments, NPOs, and citizen groups are tackling on their own and to promote these efforts through networks that cross the government-people divide. What I desire is a stance of sharing information, respecting one another, and thinking about things together from the same point of view, not a relationship where governments and specialists one-sidedly instruct the people what to do. I think what’s best is a “loose cooperation,” where the goal is the same but not uniform and where each organization can make the most of its individual merits, and I hope that universities, too, can draw on their unique expertise.

Currently, the Institute for Lifelong Development at our university is conducting consultation visits to elementary and middle schools in cooperation with the Seto Municipal Board of Education. By meeting children, we are able to make connections to our research, and the teachers are also able to encounter a third person’s viewpoint or opinion through the consultations, so we are producing results.

In companies as well, more people are finding meaning in adult education and contributing to society. Apart from financial support, I hope we can ask them for various other forms of support for households raising children, such as offering vacant spaces as childcare areas, assistance with advertising costs for activities, and discount systems at stores.

Today, when adults and children alike are leading busy lives, children and also parents raising children are looking for people who will listen to their feelings. I hope to see more ties built between people, such as adults who patiently listen to the voices of children or communities where people feel like they belong because they have someone around to ask for help during times of need, and I also would like to be a part of this process, so please contact me anytime.

Profile

Department of Educational and Developmental Science, School of Education and Welfare

Professor YAMAMOTO Rie

Areas of Specialty: Education Studies(Educational Methods and Early Childhood Education)

After her girlhood days, when she was fond of reading and good at athletics, she developed doubts in high school about cramming for exams solely through memorization and became interested in educational issues. Currently, she is involved in research on issues such as developing and supporting human relationships during infancy and childhood, and building networks for parenting anxieties and childrearing support. Among other positions, she is Director of the Office for Teacher Assistance at Aichi Prefectural University, Counselor at the Nagoya City Childrearing and Childrearing Support Network, and Chairperson of the Committee to Develop a Late Action Plan for Support Measures to Nurture the Next Generation in Nagakute Town.

Interview: KASUGAI Takashi; Writer: MIYAMOTO Yumiko

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