Thursday, 1 December, 2022

Are children safe with domestic helps?

Most of us are aware that the emotional, social and physical development of a young child has a major impact on their overall development and plays an important role in their adulthood. Hence, isn’t it significant to understand the need to invest in young children and take care of their well-being?

Children start learning from a very early age. They grab the idea of everything easily that happens around them whether it is the language, the facial expressions, the behaviour and all the things that the surrounding is filled with.

Likewise, when children are kept with a house help (mostly female), they are bound to learn everything from the person’s actions and reactions. A helping hand now has a high demand as it is not possible for most of the families to keep their children in day care centres which are quite expensive. The results of the teachings, most of the time, from domestic helps are not that very pleasant.

Some of them are like a parent who takes care of the baby as their own and protects the children from all the odds and mishaps whereas some make it completely the other way round. Parents keep their children with a house help to make sure that the children are safe and are taken good care of.

But, are they really safe?

Samira Rahman, a senior lecturer at the Department of Marketing and International Business, North South University, has two children who live with their grandma, mostly talks about how the helping hands tend to forget important things at times. They forget to pick up the kids from the school or playground, to give them food on time and many others and thus the child gets deprived from many things. She has seen children learning wrong things from television shows that the maids prefer to watch most of the time during their work and that also catches the eye-sight of the child.

She suggests creating a child-friendly environment at work places so that mothers can bring the kids to work and work along with taking care of their children. She also says, “Due to Internet kids are getting prone to things that they should not see.” She expresses how important it is for children to be raised by the guardians and most of the time of children should be spent with parents.

When the question was asked on what would they have done if they didn’t have any family member to keep their child with? Both of them said that they wouldn’t have worked if they had circumstances like that. They prioritise their children more than anything and their children’s safety matters to them the most. They also express how to keep the children in a safe environment especially with family members. Children should not get more attached to electronic gadgets as they would be built up as lazy adults and their eye-sight will also be affected negatively.

It is not possible to keep the children 24/7 in observation, but they should be given the highest priority and time as much as possible by the guardians.

Aditi Mahmud Mansur, a senior lecturer at the Department of Marketing and International Business, North South University, has a lot to say about the issue as she has seen one of her friend’s children stay with a helping hand when both the parents were at work. The house help had created a very negative idea of the parents in the child’s mind that later the child disliked her parents a lot and would not at all listen to them under any circumstance. She also said that one person looking at her own children was biased towards one of her children and looked after the other children for which the other child got deprived of care and affection.

She suggests putting up cameras so that the activities of the domestic help and child is always observed later because she has seen and heard of cases of her relatives’ children getting molested by the maids. These kinds of incidents create a huge negative impact on the mental health of children.

The children also get molested and also learn languages that they are not supposed to. They get attached to the maids more than the parents. Kids get bullied and stand alone from their friends’ group by using the languages of the maids.

Who is to be blamed?

The parents who are working only to make sure of getting a secured and stable future for children and also to keep up with the high living cost?

The maids who do not even have the basic education to take care of the children in an appropriate manner?

The other family- The secondary family members (Grandparents, uncles, aunties etc) who stay apart or most of them who do not have time to look for the kids when the parents are at work?

The solution:

If the day care centres operate at a more affordable range, more people can afford it and keep their children at a better place.

If workplaces provide day care centres for children then more mothers can work and keep their children at a safe place and close to them.

If there is at least one attendant (family member) with the child at home, then domestic help will look after the kid properly.

If CCTV cameras are installed at places which cover most of the places of the home, domestic helps will be alert and do their chores properly.

If strict laws are made against any kind of abuse on children by caregivers, then no abuse will take place.


Elora Majumder, a budding writer