Does anyone else hanker after the 'good old days' when soldiers and officers had to apply to the CO for permission to marry and, more importantly, that it could be refused? (Though I am not sure that, even then, this would have stood up in a court of law!!) I am tired (well, OK, actually sick and tired) of the chain of command providing sound advice to the many soldiers of both genders who somehow see matrimony and, in particular, having a kid as the means to everlasting happiness, (Hmmm, OK then, as a means of getting out the block) only to find that parenting is not easy, it demands a lot of time and sacrifice and no, you can't go out and get hat-racked every night of the week without detriment to your offspring. I know that this is just as big a problem in civvie street (IQ tests for prospective parents perhaps?) but in our line of work it can have particularly far reaching implications, not least on operational capability. Don't get me wrong, I am not condeming all young parents - I have got a couple of very able, organised single parents who cope magnificently and who have recently deployed to the Gulf - but, blimey, I have also got some real admin horrors too! At the risk of getting too touchy feely, diverting yet more scarce resources and taking the whole Duty of Care thing too far, should we instigate parenting course that aspiring parents have to attend before they are allowed to breed? Just a thought. Put that chip pan down Kylie!!