The ‘untended gap’ widens
One of the many acronyms in popular use today is ‘DINK’ – Double income, NO kids”. Meaning a household where both husband and wife work and do not have kids. It’s a trend that has been gathering momentum.
In some households, this is a brief phase. But in some others, DINK status morphs into another version – “Double income, NEVER kids”. In this case, time-poor couples, who are focused completely on their careers and on each other, may come to the decision that the ‘brood’ is just not for them.
For a surprisingly large number of households though, I would apply yet another version of DINK status, but this time to mean – “Double income, NAUGHTY kids”! A bit cheeky, I agree. But true, nevertheless.
Declining attention from work-obsessed parents is now a common malady. Children are often left unattended after school hours or are at the mercy of ‘baby sitters’ or minders. Invariably, when these parents do get back from work, they are too exhausted to be able to share any meaningful ‘quality time’ with the children. Children will eventually choose to fill this vacuum with other pursuits, interests and friends. Unfortunately, unsupervised, they could end up acquiring a taste for deviant or undesirable behavior (‘naughty’ behavior, as we so often pass this as).
We call this the ‘untended gap’.
I grew up in a lower middle class family. My dad was the bread winner and my mom was the home maker. She chose not to focus on a job that could have supplemented the family income. Instead, she focused on devoting her time to the three of us – my sister, my brother and me. Mom, by just being at home when we returned from school, helped us de-stress at the end of an eventful day. From her perspective as well, catching up with what happened to us in school, and advising us when we needed it, helped her stay ‘connected’ with us as we grew.
In saying this, I am not being prejudiced against double income households. What I do feel strongly though is that the news of a 10th grade student in a city school committing suicide because of examination pressure should be a wake-up call to all of us parents. When attention is not given to our kids on a consistent basis, we risk losing touch with their world and that could have serious repercussions at some point.