"Parents are hardly considered" - why Germany needs the Parents Hotline now

3 questions to Dr. Dieter Dohmen, founder of the Parents' Hotline

Article was written on 08.06.2020 by Ina.

The decision to close daycare centers and schools under Corona was just now in the public eye when Dr. Dieter Dohmen, an educational researcher and himself father of a son, launched the non-profit company ElternHotline. In an interview he explains why he finds it so important to be there for parents with his team of coaches, therapists, educators and social workers.

"Parents are hardly considered" - why Germany needs the Parents Hotline now

1. Many companies are in the process of closing down, or at least have to cut back considerably. Why did you start the Parents' Hotline during the Corona crisis of all times?

D.D.: Reconciling family, career and learning support is a real challenge even in non-corona times. I know this from my own experience as a father. The only surprising thing is that parents are hardly considered in principle. Parents currently have to reconcile work, household and learning support or childcare. They have to split up in their home office or after work - which is no longer a home office - or perhaps they have even become unemployed. These are enormous burdens.

2. What do you want to achieve with the parent hotline?

D.D.: We want to strengthen parents who have to face special challenges. Now in Corona times it is more than clear: How well parents get through the crisis with their children depends on their personal possibilities - which are different. Such a thing has to be thought through and needs support. This has nothing else to do with equal opportunities for all children and the parents burn out. You also have to look into the future.

"How well parents get through the crisis with their children depends on their personal capabilities."

Parents currently lack the reliable childcare provided by day-care centres and schools, which is necessary to enable them to work and to secure their livelihood; the children, on the other hand, lack the support they need. Especially those who grow up under less favourable circumstances. Replacement teaching with digital aids is not enough. After all, not every household can simply put a computer with Internet access at home for the child, explain complicated school tasks in German without any problems or clear rooms that are shared by several children. This Gap in the distribution of opportunities must be closed

3. How does ElternHotline support parents and their children?

D.D.: Firstly, we are personally there for parents when there is an acute fire at home. Our telephone number will be available in a few days and we will publish it on our website. There, all questions of everyday life can be answered discreetly and individually. Parents must be heard.

"Parents must be heard."

On the other hand, we want to cushion the long-term consequences of times of crisis, whether on a personal level or under a pandemic. To this end, we already provide targeted information on our website and on various social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. For example, we know exactly where to find suitable learning support for children of different ages, but we also offer information on stress management for parents, help with organisational issues, suggestions for leisure activities with children and so on. We prepare all this in such a way that parents do not have to go to any extra effort. We want to relieve the burden. With our project page corona-was-darf-ich.de we even offer a daily updated overview of the corona loosening relevant for families per federal state (corona-was-darf-ich.com). Parents no longer have to search for them themselves


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