Society 14 December 2015 16 1381
Oleg and Polina were both brought up in a children’s home where they fell in love and had a baby. Because they’re both just 15 years old, they struggle with parental responsibility. To make matters worse, the children’s home failed to prepare them for adult life: they have missed out on education and social skills. Lacking skills for independent life, they’re unable to provide for themselves and unaccustomed to studying. Even though they have to take care of a new-born baby, they can barely take care of themselves.
Yulia is a 48-year old mother of 7. She believes in the power of love, freedom and free will. She doesn’t impose strict discipline on her children, yet they all help her. She sold her Moscow flat to buy a rural plot of land and now the whole family has its own house and a small farm. They are living a self-sufficient lifestyle, close to nature but village life requires every member of the household to pull their weight.
When Yulia heard of Oleg and Polina’s young family and the struggles of underage parenting, she decided to lend a helping hand and welcomed them into her home. But the young couple are used to relying only on themselves and caring about their own interests, so for them it’s hard to trust others. Besides, they are used to being told what to do and the idea of team work is alien to them. From the start, they didn’t feel that they fit into this new, big family.
Yulia, however, remains hopeful that the homely atmosphere she encourages will benefit the couple and their baby. She believes it will show them what it’s like to be a part of a loving family, something neither of them have ever experienced before. Yulia expects the new environment, together with the example and support of the whole family, will teach Oleg and Polina how to be productive, to set life-goals and then strive to achieve them. They also need to learn how to take charge of their daughter’s future.