My neighbour’s child
What happened to being helpful neighbours to other parents?
Where I live there is a 6-year-old boy who lives alone with his father.

After work I usually find him playing with my son and one day asked where he stayed and who was at home as it was getting late and he showed no signs of planning to go home. He told me that he was alone at home, his dad was at work and had the house keys with him.

I was a little taken aback that such a young child could be at home all alone I wonder what goes on in the father’s mind when he leaves his house. Perhaps the father has no options, perhaps cannot afford to have a helper and doesn’t want one, I don’t know and don’t want to ask.

This got me thinking that things have really changed in terms of the support system for parents these days. Growing up I would be left with my neighbours to look after me if there was no one at home.

Are we so busy that we cannot help each other? Of course trust needs to be formed and you need to be sure that the neighbours or even your circle of moms are reliable enough to be left in charge of your child should an emergency arise.

No family structures

Most mothers I know do not have close family support structure as they work in cities far away from their homes. So why can we not help each other sometimes? Have your friend drop off her kids at your place and you do the same from time to time.

This is where as mothers we should come in and assist each other but it seems like people are living in their own world. In a case where the helper decides not to come back on a Monday morning after a weekend off it becomes chaotic and Mom would take a day off from work. Back in the day, you would go to the neighbour and ask them to look after your child or ask their helper to assist.

Going back to this father of the 6-year-old – for him not to come to my house or other neighbours and ask us to look after his son says something about how things have changed. The poor child has no one to ensure that he has had a bath, done his homework, how his day was. I’m inclined to offer for the child to be at my place until Dad comes from work.

We can be of support to each other if we open up a bit and have the spirit of Ubuntu in us.

Read more by Masanda Peter

How involved are you with your neighbours and their children?

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