Leaving children with nannies or caretakers for a major part of the day "poses a threat to their safety" and can also negatively affect their behaviour, the police have warned parents. The police said doing so can be considered an act of "negligence" as it leaves children vulnerable.
The Abu Dhabi Police on Saturday launched an awareness campaign to educate families about the negative effects of leaving children under the care and supervision of nannies and maids for extended periods of time.
Colonel Saeed Hamad Al Kaabi, acting director of social support centres at the force, said: "The police are conducting campaigns and awareness programmes for families to protect children's psychological, physical and public safety. The centre is focusing on protecting and caring for families and children. Our commitment is to use the best police practices and precautionary measures to ensure that children receive the best standards of family stability."
He appealed to parents to not leave their children with the domestic help for long hours, explaining that the country's law will hold them responsible for negligence and failure to do their duties. He stressed the need to take necessary measures to ensure children's safety and wellbeing.
According to Al Kaabi, most nannies do not possess the required skills to raise children and deal with their character development, "which negatively affects their psychological, health and behaviour". He urged mothers to provide care and closely monitor kids and protect them from risks.
Risk of losing kids' love
Parents risk losing kids' love if they don't spend enough time with them, said psychologists practising here. Nasir Al Riyami, a psychologist and hypnotherapist at the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, said leaving children with relatives and nannies is a growing trend "as we live in a busy world". But families need to be aware of the risks involved. "Parents should know that they are at the risk of losing child attachment," said Al Riyami.
"The child will feel neglected and this will affect their attachment towards parents. After they grow up, most of these kids will choose to spend time with other people and not their parents. Parents may need to sacrifice and spend time with their children for proper upbringing and to strengthen the bond."
On the child's safety and security under the care of nannies and maids, Al Riyami said parents need to know the caretakers well enough to hand them over the responsibility of taking care of their kids.
"Parents should accept nannies as part of their family because they are left with the responsibility of taking care of their children while they are away," he said. "Nannies and maids should be treated with respect. Pay them well and give them gifts for their services as this will boost their morale and eventually help in giving more attention to kids."
Dr Dolly Habbal, a PhD in clinical psychology at the Advanced Cure Medical Centres, highlighted the mother's role in child's upbringing in various aspects - religious, social, and psychological - stressing that the "present trend" of families leaving their children to be taken care of by others is "not a good idea".
"Raising a child is something important and requires parents' physical presence to instil good values, monitor what they do and watch on TV and teach them good morals and values," she said. "Significantly relying on domestic help to raise a child also negatively impedes a child's linguistic development.
"A mother's duty includes taking good care of her child. Families should limit the role of domestic help to house chores."
The psychologist noted that leaving kids to maids and nannies may affect their behaviour and actions.
"Upbringing of a child is parents' responsibility. They shouldn't let others do it for them or they will lose their love as they did not spend enough time with them," said Habbal.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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