The Impact of Working Mothers on their Children Left Behind
Love is not enough to live. And no mother wants to leave her child alone— but in the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar, it can feel like there is no other choice. There is an alarming high level of unemployment in the country and they want to lessen the burden for their family by choosing to sweat and earn money abroad. Today, many children grow up with parents working abroad as a domestic helper to provide them a comfortable life and a better future. Mothers usually want to be the ones responsible for raising their children themselves but they are forced to leave their children because they knew that they are unable to earn enough money at home or not being financially capable enough to meet their daily demands, especially when sustaining the needs of their families. They are willing to work anywhere, even abroad, as jobs in the Philippines alone won’t be able to ensure financial security and only provide limited opportunities for success.
Many domestic helpers working in Singapore have had to leave their children in the care of their parents or relatives and see them only virtually, on an annual visits or after years of working. For many domestic helpers, most of their time is spent in taking care of employer’s children while longing to see their own. This sacrifice is often the most challenging one that domestic helper face. It’s very hard to imagine but that is reality that they need to face. Mothers can miss out their children’s entire childhood and sometimes their relationship with their children remain damaged and distant, years after they return.
The children who are left behind are more likely to spend time without parental supervision at younger ages if their parents are working. The long-term separation with their children can result a negative education outcome which may in turn harm the children’s academic performance in school and increase the possibility of participation in risky behaviors as a result of parental absence. The increasing number of absentee parents becomes more alarming because without them, discipline is not enforced at home.
Mostly of the children experience depression, anxiety, helplessness, low self-esteem, feelings of abandonment, and other emotional and mental health problems, such as greater risk of drug abuse, early pregnancy, social dysfunction and involvement in criminal activities. Some children can also be vulnerable to abuse and predisposed to dangerous actions. But the most major negative impact is a feeling abandoned that cannot be compensated for by financial support.