Parental and Other Caretaker Roles

Indian family relationships are based upon expectations of interdependence and reciprocity. The older generation cares for the younger one until offspring are sufficiently mature to assume responsibility for elders. Men and their wives are responsible for aging parents and other patrilineal kin. It is wives and other women who are in fact the primary caretakers of children and elders. Multiple caretaking predominates; a woman is rarely alone to do all the caretaking and other domestic chores. In higher status households she may be assisted by servants as well as by other kin. Seymour (1999), for example, found that Orissan mothers, regardless of caste/class status or of rural or urban residence, performed from 50% to 58% of their children's caretaking. Fathers participated some by holding and carrying children, but rarely fed, bathed, or dressed them. Fathers helped with discipline and took an active interest in their children's—especially sons'—schooling. Other gender-based differences in parental attention are not noteworthy, although Roy (1972) mentions the intensification of the father-daughter relationship in middle-class Calcutta families preceding a girl's marriage.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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