miércoles, 5 de febrero de 2014

Talking point: Family life

This week's talking point deals with family life. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that ideas flow more easily when you meet up with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.
  • Do you come from a small or large family?
  • Do you have many relatives?
  • What’s your relationship like?
  • How often do you see them? When does your family get together?
  • Are you the youngest, oldest or only child?  What are the (dis)advantages?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of large families?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of only children?
  • Would you like to have a twin brother/sister? What are the (dis)advantages?
  • Has family life changed in recent years? If so, in what ways?
  • Has the role of parents changed? How?
  • Do you think the family unit will be as important in the future?
  • How many children have you got/would you like to have?
  • What size is the perfect family?
To illustrate the topic you can read the BBC article on this blog Is it better for children to have sibling? and watch the video Big family vs small family.

Why seven? I mean, why did you choose, sorry David, I have to ask that question to your mum. Why seven?
I didn’t set out with the intention of thinking I’ll have seven children. I set out, and had a child and then had another child quite quickly after the first child, and then we just, you know, it just they came along, just they came along. There was no great decision to suddenly say let’s have or not have another child.
Okay, and just the ages, where does David fit in? What are the ages?
David is the youngest of seven, so I have for 39, 36 I apologise for getting the ages wrong, there’s a lot of you. 33, 30, 23, 18, 12.
Equally we should ask the question why one?
I didn’t actively set out to have a child. It came along and then me and my partner were very happy and I’ve always wanted to work, he’s always wanted to work and the decision wasn’t financial, it was more to do with the fact I didn’t enjoy pregnancy. We were at high risk. I was considered a late mother when I was 34, and that was eight years ago, so we were at high risk with Down syndrome baby which only increases the closer you get to forty and multiply significantly after that age, so that was a decision on that basis really, not to have a child. Finances never entered it. I don’t think until you’ve had a child you actually realize the cost of raising a child, but it never entered.
Both of you in a way are saying the same thing which I suspect a lot of people circumstances are the same which is the notion of thinking through it in advance, you’re sort of calculating it, it’s not part of it, could it be the way things pan out?
Absolutely, yeah.
And what about the financial implications, because people inevitably think, well, you know, having seven must be that much more expensive, I mean, what are the finances. David’s shaking his head. You tell us David.
Go on!
It’s not that expensive. I mean, my mum asks me to pay for food and half of it she’s eating, so…
There you go, it’s simple!
Tell us what it’s like, I mean in reality.
Day to day I would say actually there isn’t that much difference really between having one, between having two, three, maybe ok by the time you got to seven that you are talking. I’ve got a large age group, it’s harder to say, you see, because I’ve never had say eleven, sorry, seven under-eleven-year-olds sitting at the same table.
The most you had at any one time is what within…
Four, five, well enough have five at home, you know, so yeah, yeah, even then at all different ages, all different stages of doing things that need… you don’t focus on it, you know. I’m not saying money is not important. Of course, money is important, you know, money needs to be made etc, etc, but I don’t think anyone says or… we can’t have another baby because, you know, it’s…
Do your children, and David, as very possible to you as well, enjoy the fact that they think that they’re benefiting from the fact that being part of a bigger family than say being an only child, I mean, we’ll ask your child thinks as well?
Yeah, because if you, I wouldn’t know, when you’ve got lots of brothers and sisters like it’s really easy to experience falling out and you get lots of knowledge and yet you’re able to overcome it next time you run into it.
Well, that’s interesting because, you know without wanting to fall into clichés, you know, people do suggest that about an… at the only child thing that they don’t have that backdrop around them?
No, I think it’s right. I mean Eve as an only child does sometimes suffer from a lack of confidence and from not having sibling groups. I mean, I come from a large family, so does my partner, he’s Irish catholic, say, it’s a very big family. My sister’s my closest and best friend but I…, so yeah I think it does develop other skills that Eve perhaps doesn’t have in terms of interacting but she does get those skills from school, you know, with after-school club where she socializes with children older so, you know, I do think that Eve would’ve loved a brother or sister, but it was never gonna happen.