While it is unrealistic for parents to be spending all their time with the children, it is important that if they leave them for too long with someone else, they are co-parenting with that person an expert has cautioned.
University of Botswana social work lecturer Log Raditlhokwa told BG Style that part of the problem today is that parents do not have the right priorities. He said that parents do not manage their time well and as a result are always busy for their children. He was responding to a question on the implications of parents leaving their children with maids.
Modern day parents are so preoccupied that they rarely have time for their children. The result, according to Raditlhokwa, is an entire generation raised by complete strangers. He said that unlike in the past, today parents do not value families. He lamented that many parents see the home as a parking stage where they go and watch tv after work, forgetting that the home is a first hand teaching institution.
At church, some parents still maintain that the maid should come so she can look after the children while the parents enjoy the sermons, which still shows lack of parental care. “Even when they are home, they are not available for the children. It is the maid who keeps them disciplined,” he said, explaining however that the maids are only there for physiological needs and do not have the proper teaching roles as they also have to cook and do other household chores.
Actually, some maids are bad roles, as Raditlhokwa puts it. They can use vulgar words in front of children, and also encourage children to watch tv instead of doing school work. He has observed that children of today grow as liabilities and do not display the right conduct. In the past, he said, children were taught to protect their family name and it goes back to how their parents raised them. The hiring of maids to raise children has killed the system as parents get more fulfilment from working than spending time with children.
He reminded parents, especially the working class, that the Setswana saying that ‘Ngwana wa setsenwa o roga mmaagwe’ is still applicable and manifests itself in today’s children and youth behaviour. The proverb educates that a child’s behaviour is a reflection of his mother. Malebogo Petterson decided to quit her job as an accountant to take care of her four children, while her husband continues working.
The decision was not easy but the best, she reckoned. “We give far too much responsibility to complete strangers by letting them do tasks that we should be doing,” said Petterson, adding that such children are denied a chance to learn appropriate behaviour. She revealed that even though her children would call their nanny ‘aunt,’ the bond her maid had with them surpassed hers. She said the repeated calling of ‘aunty’ than ‘mommy’ in the house made her think twice about her mothering skills.
She admitted to spending more time around her laptop and tv and bedroom than with the children during her working days.Even though Moagi Mmusi does not fully like the sight and thought of a maid raising his two children, he takes comfort in the fact that weekends are strictly family time.
Majestic nannies, a branch of the UK-based agency informs that many parents admit to what they call ‘executive guilt.’ Here they go through mixed feelings of not striking a balance as professionals and parents. Raditlhokwa advises that even though parents mean well by working to support their children, they should not neglect their parenting role by giving the maids all the work. He supported this with Proverbs 22:6 that encourages parents to train up their children in the way they should go as even when they are old they will not depart from it.