Floorish Newsletter πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦β€πŸ‘¦ Parental Presence Privilege

Welcome to the fifteenth edition of the Floorish newsletter dedicated to providing you with insightful data, ideas and views on diversity, equity and inclusion. In this newsletter, taking no more than 3 minutes of your time, I aim to keep you informed and inspired with thought-provoking content, practical tips and inspiring stories.

On our boat journey returning to Newcastle upon Tyne, my son and I were the first two people at the soft play area early in the morning. It was clear that I needed a coffee. While chatting with the woman who served me, she asked about my son’s age. Upon hearing that he is three, she noted that he was the same age as her son. She then disclosed her experience of being separated from her son for most of the year, as she worked on a boat while her mother cared for him at home in the Philippines.

Her sacrifice illuminated a profound truth: the invaluable gift of parental presence. It served as a poignant reminder that being able to share precious moments with our children is not a given, but a privilege to be cherished. For many, pursuing better opportunities often comes at the cost of enduring separation from their families. They navigate challenges such as time differences, cultural disparities, and limited communication while striving to provide for their families. 

Parenting, as I’ve come to realise, is a journey marked by diverse experiences, shaped by the intricate tapestry of culture and economic circumstances. From the challenges faced by migrant workers to those enduring long work hours, the struggle for parental involvement transcends borders. Yet, amidst these obstacles, their resilience shines bright, underscoring the urgent need to address systemic inequalities that perpetuate separations. 

  1. Navigating Parental Presence Globally: This simple exchange at the soft play area reflects a broader narrative seen in different parts of the world. Economic migration often necessitates prolonged separations, as seen in countries like the Philippines and Mexico, where 25% of households have at least one parent working abroad. This highlights the profound impact of migration on family dynamics.
  2. Balancing Parental Involvement: Furthermore, challenges in parental involvement manifest differently across cultures. In countries like India and the United States, long work hours are common, resulting in limited time spent with children. Cultural expectations play a significant role in determining the balance between direct childcare and providing financial support.
  3. Impacting Child Development: Such circumstances can significantly affect child development. Parental absence during formative years can impede healthy attachment and socioemotional development. Moreover, lack of parental involvement is associated with poorer school performance and heightened rates of delinquency and antisocial behaviour.

Upon my return to the workforce following a four-month absence, I find myself grappling with the reduced time I now have to spend with my two boys. It’s a challenging adjustment, prompting occasional reflections on the choices I’ve made. Yet, I can’t help but acknowledge the privilege we enjoyβ€”the ability to contemplate such matters without the looming fear of struggling to meet our basic needs, as we’re positioned comfortably high in Maslow’s pyramid.

However, having a parent present is a significant privilege often taken for granted, especially considering many families struggle due to financial constraints. This serves as a stark reminder of the inequalities present in our society.

Moreover, each family’s experience is shaped by various factors such as culture, economics, and social dynamics, highlighting the necessity for inclusive solutions tailored to different circumstances. Fostering supportive workplace environments and strengthening social structures can greatly benefit families overall.


I hope these insights have sparked your curiosity and I invite you to share any data, ideas or views you believe should be highlighted in future newsletters. Stay tuned for the next edition.

Warm regards,

Floor Martens

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