Socioeconomic changes in Africa make it difficult for parents to provide the attention that their children need.
(Institute for Family Studies)
In the absence of comprehensive social protection and social security systems in many African countries, the family continues to be the main source of aid and solace in times of need, such as during illness, unemployment, bereavement, and in old age. Another critical function of the family is that of childcare. From the time a baby is born, female members of the extended family—mothers, sisters, and aunts, including those on the father’s side—typically assist in caring for the baby and the nursing mother, a practice that lessens the emotional and physical burdens on new mothers. As is widely documented, African grandparents also play a critical role during the later years of childrearing and socialization.
However, as many African countries continue to undergo significant socioeconomic changes that lead to union instability, economic fragility, and debilitating poverty, families there increasingly face circumstances that make it difficult for parents to provide the attention and affection that their children require to develop and thrive.
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