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FAQ / Life on Pern

Last updated 30th December 2006 by Bree

Weyrlife: Childrearing

At the Weyrs, female dragonriders foster their children as soon as they wish, with a woman they feel most likely to be able to cope with their child's needs and personality. Some foster immediately at birth, some wait until they receive medical release to return to full duty in a Fighting Wing. Because of the demands of being a full-time dragonrider, no female rider can act as a full-time parent to her children and still give both dragon and children the attention they deserve. The fostering system developed to ensure that children receive the best care and attention possible so that dragonrider parents can devote their time and energies to protecting the planet from Thread.

Since relationships tend to be more loosely based in a Weyr, male dragonriders rarely live with their children on a day-to-day basis, unless they have a weyrmate who happens to be a non-rider. With the high risk of death each dragonrider faces each time he/she flies in Threadfall, it is very important that children have emotional attachments to a foster parent to provide stability and support if their dragonrider parent dies in Fall. Non-rider women who have children by dragonrider fathers tend to raise their own children, rather than fostering them. Lower Caverns women would be highly unlikely to foster their children, except if they were simply incapable of giving them proper care and attention.

Weyrbred children have options of apprenticing, standing as a candidate, or going to work in the Lower Caverns once they reach age twelve or thirteen. Any weyrbred child will be allowed to stand as a candidate for any clutch with approval of the Weyrwoman, whether he or she has been Searched or not. Since even being Searched is no guarantee of Impression, children are encouraged to develop other skills, either by apprenticeship or by working in a needed capacity in the Weyr.

Some provisions are made for roleplaying. Riders are allowed to "partially foster" their children. An arrangement is made with a foster parent to look after the children at any time the rider is on duty, caring for their dragon, at Threadfall, and who steps in whenever dragon mating flights take place to make sure the children are looked after while their parent is otherwise occupied. This is essentially little different from regular fostering - the dragonrider parent just has more daily interaction with the children than other rider parents might have. This provision is made due to some incidents of riders fostering, such as Brekke with Mirrim.

The main thing to keep in mind when considering a dragonrider's life is that Weyrs are primarily _military_ establishments. Personal wants and needs are often considered secondary to the greater good of the populace and once a man or woman steps onto the Sands and Impresses, they have irrevocably made the choice that their life revolves around their dragon and fighting Thread. Unlike Earth, there is no release from duty.

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Referenced By: Life in the Weyrs

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All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are © Anne McCaffrey 1967, 2013, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author. The Dragonriders of Pern© is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with permission. Use or reproduction without a license is strictly prohibited.