Parental and Other Caretaker Roles

Mothers are responsible for childcare, but the actual care of small children is often provided by older siblings (girls and boys) or hired girls who are not in school because their families are unable to pay school fees. Mothers are usually warm and affectionate with children, and their punishments are likely to be verbal; mother-son and mother-daughter bonds are often very close. Fathers tend to be authoritarian and distant, are more likely to punish with beatings, and spend relatively little time with their children except for older boys, who usually eat the evening meal with their father if he is at home. Grandparents, especially grandmothers, tend to be indulgent with all their grandchildren, joke with them, teach them about sex, and give them treats. Many grandmothers are primary caretakers of children born to unmarried daughters or in situations where AIDS affects the parental generation; they, like younger women, struggle to make ends meet.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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