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Problems faced by young working parents in a nuclear family
In our country, India, where universalization of marriage and childbirth is a norm, most educated youth, irrespective of their work designations get into wedlock and become parents without realizing the actual meaning and expectations from this role. Employment stresses on the one side, compounded by the burden of travel on the other side, due to easier affordability of dwelling units in the outskirts of the metros, make parenting a challenge in most households.

Parenting is a full time responsibility, which demands not only the physical presence and social commitment to the family; it also mandates the emotional connectivity with the children.

After six months of maternity leave, most parents are caught unaware about who would look after their child. Choices begin with request to the respective grandparents, but on numerous cases, this does not work out as a feasible option. As a result, many parents resort to paid care takers who are willing to work for 12 hours a day depending on their need for employment.

Leaving one’s child with paid care takers has its own problems as well. It is essential to recruit people, who have a clean background with respect to safety and reliability; unfortunately we do not have competent agencies that involves in such work.

Before the recruitment is made, there are a number of question that deserved to be answered as one is leaving the fate of the child in someone else's hand. What should be the educational qualification of the caretaker, what should be the age of the person, should the person be from a local neighbourhood or from a far enough place so that the person has no local contacts to move with, should the person be in-house or a part time employee, should the person take care of all other additional responsibilities within the household are only some of the questions, which needs to be looked into.

Once the decision is made to carry on with the day to day care taking, the next question of what should be done in the event of sickness, who takes the child for a consultation, who stays back with the baby for supervised care and support arises. The parenting partners are pushed into a dilemma between taking leave from work to letting the child be with the care taker all alone. Sometimes arguments about gender equality crop up bringing rift in the parenting partners.

Some parents choose the option of working from home during such instances with the added help from the caretaker. Some parents choose to take the option of leaving the child with the caretaker in a day care center for a payment on such days. Some parents maintain a constant connection with the house all through the day even while at work. It all depends upon the respective parents, as it is their child.

Some parents have taken the step of installing cameras in strategic places within the house with connection to their computer at work to understand the situation at home. Though all these measures might give sense of well being that the parents are having control over the situation to a large extent, the child is left to fight the sickness all alone emotionally. Guilt, regret, disappointment and frustration at not being able to giving time either to work or as parents, pushes many young parents into high level of stress, which burns them out very quickly.

Children, as they grow up get used to self-engagement like watching videos instead of interactive inputs from adults around and thus lose on the normal developmental milestones.

Seeing the quality of intellectual stimulation to their own intelligent children suffer, some parents resort to outsourcing of such stimulation to structured programs outside their homes. Many kids do gather some skills in addition to freedom of thought and expression, but some children do better with the emotional attachment, which can be given by their own parents.

Unless India has numerous part time employment opportunities for young mothers who want to make use of their education they have acquired, parenting by nuclear families would continue to be a challenge with the associated day to day chaos.

Dr S Yamuna is a Paediatrician and Adolescent Physician based in Chennai. She can be contacted at

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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