Perception on Role Differences between Parents
There are varied opinions from parents regarding parental role. Most of the parents expressed that role differences exist between the father and mother in children’s development and well-being. But the roles are equally significant. Most of the parents (especially fathers) said, “The role of the mother is greater than father. It is determined by society. Father has to go out for earning livelihood. The mother is with the child very often, so the mother has more responsibility.” Participants expressed that the mother role are feeding, nursing, cleaning and talking to them and advising them as they felt that mothers have many inherent qualities such as patience; they understand children better; they are more caring and they have a closer connection with their children. The participants also stated that father can involve sending and bringing the child from school, providing financial support, taking children to park or other outdoor, making decisions about schools and teachers.
On the other hand, some participants stated that there are no roles differences between father and mother in children’s development and well-being. They mentioned that it is the responsibilities of both parents to contribute to daily caring activities. They stated, “Now both parents are employed. When there is no mother, the father need to play the role of the mother. When there is no father, the mother should act the essential role of the father. In the days before, mothers played maximum role, and fathers ended up just buying things. Mother used to do all that. But now it’s not possible. The children’s development and well-being should be ensured by both the parents.”
Perception of Father’s Involvement in Children’s Development and Well-being
All of the participants agreed that father’s participation is mandatory for children’s development and well-being. Mother never meet up the father’s place. They said that father should be involved with the child from an early age. Otherwise, a distance is created with the child as he or she grows up; which impedes the child from forming an unconditional relationship with the father. They opined in this manner, “If the father is not involved with the child, it negatively impacts on child’s development and well-being. The child might think my friend’s father would take him around and my father would not go. His father brought him to school, and my father does not. His father feeds him, admires him, why my father does not do it! Does my father not love me?”
All the participants perceived that the father should be involved with the child from an early age. Otherwise, a distance is created with the child as he or she grows up. Which impedes the child from forming an absolute relationship with the father.
The Relationship of Father and Child in regards of Children’s Development and Well-being
Most of the participants identified that the father-child relationship should be friendly for boosting the children’s development and well-being. To them father-child relationship should be heartfelt and cherishing for children’s appropriate development and well-being. One of the parents expressed this patterns of responses, “The relationship will be such that the child can share everything with the father. This is the demand of the era. The father needs to know what a child is doing outside, what he is doing at school, what he is doing at the mosque. If he is rigid with his parents in the house, then the parents cannot notice if the child has been offended by anyone. Whether being abused by someone.”
Few of the parents reported that they viewed their relationship with their children both as friend and discipliner. One of them stated, “I think sometimes the father plays role like a friend and sometimes being tough when needed. Not everything can be made by friends. Again not everything can be done to be a strict father. It is not just a matter of fear, fear in focus of respect which if needed will be like a friend.”
It is very interesting that majority of the parents mentioned it causes problems for the children when both the parents are at work, At that time the children are mostly depended on the domestic helper or the grandparents. Most of the cases, the domestic helper are not trained or not old enough for caring a child or too old to care a child and moreover they are not sympathetic to the children. Furthermore, the working parents cannot give them time, the attachment with the children do not grow properly, children are not be given enough attention and affection due to parents tiredness. Most of the parents agreed that because of their job, they have to stay outside for most of the daytime. In this period the children do not get their parents, they become upset, feel neglected. This can hinder their mental development. As the caregiver are not caring, the children do not get the proper nutrition and they get sick easily. Moreover the children learn inappropriate behavior and language from the domestic helper. At the time of focus group discussion one of the mothers became very upset and stated, “One day my daughter told me, mother please cut my hair, didi (the domestic helper) grabbed my hair while beating. By hearing that I was very upset. But I didn’t tell the didi anything. I had no choice.”
Conversely, very few parents mentioned that they did not face any problems with both parents working. They also told that they give quality time when they return home from office and always be connected with their children via phone and give instructions to the caregiver. They said, “People say that working mother’s children are not developed properly. But if an incognizant mother (who is unaware about child’s development and care) is with the child for 24 hours, there will be no gain. If she can’t take care, children are not developed appropriately.”