I do not profess to be a great parent, but I do get upset when i see the following problems in children in my course of work that could be avoided if they only had consistent adult influence in their lives.
1. Not completing their homework.
2. Not packing their bags.
3. Failing every subject ( especially if they are not suffering from learning disabilities).
4. Defiance towards authority ( especially when both parents are working or absent for whatever reasons.)
5. Forgetting to come to school, or chronic lateness ( especially if both parents are working, or absent, or worse, overseas)
To me, many teachers are now forced to do the parenting job, because many parents are not doing their job as parents. And the poor teacher with children of their own sometimes even neglect their own children to care for their charge in school, which is not fair for the teachers.
I do understand that some parents need a double income to get the family going, but for families who can get by with a single source of income, i would think that the best option for families with very young children would be to have one parent stay at home or work from home. To me, money can always be earned at a later juncture, but once a life goes astray, it will take tremendous effort both from the family and from the society to bring it back.
As for those who have to work out of necessity, like single parents, I just have the greatest sympathy and respect for them. Chances are they would not have the family support to care for their children, and they do have to be the sole breadwinner. I cannot offer any simple solution to that, but I am hopeful that help can be at hand, if they can form support groups with friends who are stay at home or work from home mums or find alternative reliable help.
Making parnting work sure takes a lot of effort, and much personal sacrifce. But these are lives at stake, and these are our children, and they are definitely worth it.