Mothers go through the pains of pregnancy, and then experience labor and birth; through it all they possess a strong dedication to perform a wonderful job with their partners in raising these tiny beautiful children, and help them grow to become strong independent adults. But certain realities go against the plans affecting the families’ tranquility, which result in some horrific trauma that could be changed, but never ends.
Some repetitive accidents involving children during their early years have resulted in deaths or psychological problems in which children inwardly paid the price of living behind masks of phony confidence, alienation and restless.
Lately, there have been many stories where families have been struck with child abuse incidents, like Tala, the four year old who was found murdered on her bed by an Indonesian maid, another housemaid who stabbed her employer 70 times before killing the woman’s two-year-old daughter, a 36-year-old Filipina maid was accused of having sex with her sponsor’s eight-year-old son, as well as forcing the kid to have sex with his 12-year-old sister.
Who is to be blamed for such traumatic incidents? Parents, maids or maid supplying agencies? If we consider neglect as a form of child abuse, a form which elicits other forms of violent practices, we’ll ascertain that families holding the highest percentage of child neglect are the families that have live-in maids or the ones that spend longer hours with the employers’ families.
Based on the “Child Protection Research” that was conducted by the “Arabian Child Foundation” in October, 2012, over 80% of child abuse is caused by someone the child knows and trusts (Tucci et al. 2006), and to children mostly under the age of 4 (Grivna et al.) which holds family members accountable for having their children encounter such horrific incidents.
In majority of the cases, the maids are from different nationality, culture, ethnicity and religion to the employers. Why doesn’t that concern the parents? What on earth possesses parents to leave their children in care and supervision of strangers? Some mothers have no excuse whatsoever to not go out without their children.
Perhaps, some of them affirmed clearly that they can’t fully commit their time for their children or otherwise they could not enjoy their shopping or coffee. The question for reflection is who are the victims at the end, the innocent children? If children are left with trustworthy family members that would be more justifiable but leaving these children under the strangers’ mercy, with no supervision and training on child care, makes them more vulnerable to commit crimes like physical and sexual abuse, stealing and breaching of trust.
Maltreatment of maids also pushes them to perpetrate inhuman acts like neglecting and abusing their employers’ babies as an act of revenge. Some mothers treat maids obnoxiously without taking into account the consequences of their act. Children are the easiest victims when it comes to revenge as they are extremely weak and cannot defend themselves. No one is perfect at the end but we expect employers to treat their maids humanely to avoid endangering the best creation of the universe!
The most common type of maids’ abuse includes inappropriate touching, sexual harassment, or forcing the exposure of inappropriate scenes. That was vividly described when a maid was caught on camera raping one year old boy where she sat on top of the baby and stifled his cries with pillow. Unfortunately, some parents profoundly rely on their maids to take care of their children, which have become an increasing phenomenon in many families.
The effects of such abuse can be life-long and it can harm a child’s health, growth and cognitive wellbeing. There is no reason for anyone to leave their child in the care of a stranger especially during their first few months. It is not meant to criticize maid’s services for child caring and rearing errands, many maids do their best and love children as their own.
Nevertheless, we need to realize that our children who are being raised by the maids are our future generations therefore we need to take full responsibility of raising them based on our religion, tradition, culture and values.
According to maid service agencies, it is imperative to provide a comprehensive child safety, caring and rearing training to all the housemaids before their exposure to the child. The component of training should include how to take good care of children in order to avoid mishap and tragedies.
Moreover, most imperative is to soften the feeling and attitude with housemaids and impose the responsibilities according to her means, potential and capabilities. Some maids are hardworking and loyal and consider themselves a part of the family and perform their tasks honestly. However, this does not proclaim that they should be given full control over children’s education and wellbeing, which is actually the basic role of the parents.
Today, enough evidence has accumulated to give you just such a formula: Children value themselves to the degree that they have been valued. Every child has the right to a secure life, permanent care and emotional stability. Make a memory with your children, spend some quality time to show your tender loving care; Toys can’t replace those valuable moments that you share with your children.
Written in collaboration with Arabian Child organization. Visit www.arabianchild.org for more information about early childhood education in the United Arab Emirates.
A loving mother of a son who has changed her life and put it into perspective. Ayesha is a senior social media specialist, a Global Leader for young children in the Arab region, and a writer in few Arabic publications. Her column is written in collaboration with the Arabian Child organization, and offers inspiration and an in-depth exploration of early childhood development.