One-fifth of SA children do not live with biological parents
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One-fifth of SA children do not live with biological parents

According to StatsSA, only 33,8% of children in South Africa live with both parents.

Toddler playing with grandfather
Toddler and grandfather painting/ iStock

Although single parent families have become common in our country, quite a few children also do not live with either biological parent. This is according to a recent report by StatsSA which revealed that 20% of children in South Africa do not live with any of their biological parents.

According to the report, children are often left in the care of other relatives such as grandparents.

This could be due to work, divorce, death of parents or financial constraints.

It’s not always possible for parents to find work in the area where their family lives, and this sometimes forces parents to relocate and stay in areas that are close to work, leaving their children behind.

Parents who cannot afford caretakers are forced to leave their children in the care of grandparents or other family members.

Sadly, approximately 11,7% of children are orphaned.

According to Clinical Psychologist Jacqueline Tseke from Pretoria, not staying with parents can have a negative impact on children.

She says the child might develop trust issues and not have a good bond with his or her parent.

Jacqueline says from the moment a child is born, he or she expects care and love from the parent, but when the parent is absent, and not there when they are needed the most, the child might find it hard to trust.

She adds that even if they stay together at a later stage, they might have relationship issues with the parent. 

“The child’s bond with the person who raised him or her can be stronger than the one she or he will have with the mother. 

This is why sometimes you find children wanting to go back to stay with the people who raised them, such as their grandparents,” says Jacqueline.

She adds that the child might not feel loved by their parent.  

When it comes to parents, she says the danger comes with parents sometimes wanting to overcompensate for time lost.

She says they might buy things to try makeup or to fill the gap for being absent.

“For children who are not grounded, some can take advantage and manipulate the parent using that,” warns Jacqueline.

She advises parents to “get parenting in line. As much as you send money, make time for your child. The most important thing any relationship needs is time. It can’t be built on material things.”

She says spending time with the child will be more impactful and strengthen the relationship.

“Go see your child and make memories. Those are the things that when you are gone, the child will remember. He or she will remember the time and impact you made on them during your moments together,” says Jacqueline. 

READ: Child Protection Week 2019: Children’s rights

Image courtesy of iStock/ romrodinka

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