Unfortunately, many fail to understand that there is a dark side to ‘workaholism’ as it takes it tolls not only on workaholics themselves but also on their kids if they are married.
Commenting on the issue, a parent, Mrs. Yemi Sarumi, who spoke with PUNCH correspondent urged workaholic parents to always know that no job, however important, was worth more than their children’s happiness and well-being.
She urged parents to always find time for their children to make them emotionally balanced, adding that memories made at impressionable ages could not be forgotten and always fondly remembered.
“I had to grow up quicker than my age because I had siblings who depended on me to take care of them. I wore many hats – chef, butler, nurse and housekeeper rolled into one.
“It wasn’t always easy and I always needed respite but never got any. I didn’t exactly fit in with my peers because I was always way ahead of them in maturity. We hardly shared interests. They always wanted to play pranks and have fun but I was always too serious and responsible for them.
“For a long time, I was bitter and unhappy that I wasn’t given a chance to enjoy childhood. I eventually let go of the anger when I realised the lessons learnt would stand me in good stead in future.”
A working-class lady, Temidayo Fasanmi, urged workaholic parents to strike a balance between their work and children, saying if the children were not properly nurtured, they would grow to become nuisance to them and society.
“Workaholic parents are only after their careers and money without caring about the well-being of their children. In fact, they do not have time for their children and because most of them do not have time, their children tend to become wayward and criminals.
“There is an aspect in every child’s life that needs the care of the parents, but when they give more time to their career or business, rather than looking into the upbringing of their children, most of the children will lack parental care.
“As a result of such lack of parental care, you begin to see the children with people they are not supposed to mingle with. And as they are evolving into their teens, adolescence and adulthood, gradually, some of them begin to cave in to societal pressure and before one knows it, they become criminals particularly for the male child. But for the girl-child, some may turn into all manner of things, including prostitution.
“Parents are urged to balance the situation so that they will be able to raise wonderful children that will be able to represent them tomorrow without bringing shame to their family. Money is good, but money is not everything.”
On her part, a mother of two, Ms Nancy Briggs, said a situation whereby parents were engaged in taxing jobs without having time for their kids was not good enough for children’s upbringing.
She explained that such a development would always create crisis in the home, noting that gradually, if such crisis was not tackled headlong, it would aggravate to something more serious than the couple could handle.
The mother added that it was unthinkable for parents to be addicted to work to the extent that their kinds would begin to feel as if they were orphans, noting that such a situation would always haunt such family now or later.
“A situation whereby the mother and father are workaholics will always engender crisis in such a home. If the father is a workaholic, the mother should not engage in work that takes all her time. She needs enough time to ensure that the home front is not denied of good parenting.
“Because the parents are workaholics and are hardly available, the children may depend on other people for direction and guidance. By so doing, they may be copying bad things from other people, and before the parents get to know what is happening, problems would have been created.
“When they notice that their parents are too busy to listen to their challenges, they will not hesitate to go to their neighbours or friends, but you may not know if those people are envious of the family. Before one knows it, they could poison the children or do bad things to them.”
“Family is the foundation of a good society. If the family is having issues, certainly society will be affected. Children should not be treated as if they are orphans.
The parents may give the children enough money, there are still many things they need to make them better children. They need moral support, parental guidance and direction when they err, among other things.”
A father, Jones Nwaenwe, said the situation in the country had led to both parents working hard for sustenance to meet their responsibilities towards their immediate and extended family.
“Ordinarily, women are not supposed to be engaged in time-consuming job. But the situation of things has changed some of these things. In a situation where the father earns a meager salary, he wouldn’t be able to tell his wife not to work.
“The essence of parents working in a family is to earn more money to meet the family needs. Without being told, it has its own problems but what can one do? The little time we have, we inculcate the right attitude in our children. Agreed that lack of parental care will make some of them go astray, we will pray to God to protect them for us.”
A bank worker, who gave her name only as Jane, said as part of the measures to avoid the trap of ‘workaholism’ and absentee parenting – as her husband also worked in an oil company – they engaged a home help.
Jane claimed the home help took over the running of their home to the point that she started teaching the children some strange things – exposing them to porn films and visiting obscene sites on the Internet.
“I was surprised to see that our children started misbehaving. They preferred our home help to us. They suddenly preferred us to be at work all day.
“When I sat down to reason the whole scenario, my husband and I agreed that I should resign from work to enable me to have more time for the kids. My husband said even though I must work, I have to be self-employed,”
In her contribution, Nicholas Onyeagbor explained that since workaholic parents work long hours, and obsessed by their jobs and had the likelihood of a psychological disorder, a natural result would be that they would not be able to pay enough personal or emotional attention to their children.
Onyeagbor, who is self-employed, said,
“Even if all of a child’s physical needs are met, he or she is likely to suffer a lack of emotional nurturing which will leave him or her with a void.
“To make matters worse, these children garner little sympathy from others especially if they have parents who are successful, have money and nice things.
“The child of a workaholic is growing up inadvertently with some painful messages which are not obvious to her or visible to people around her such as ‘You are not important enough’, ‘You are not worth knowing’, ‘You are actually growing up in emotional poverty’.”
Speaking on the matter, a Professor of Psychology at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Bonke Omoteso, said parental neglect could lead to children finding comfort in places they were not meant to be.
Omoteso also noted that a situation where parents were not available to provide direction for their children because of addiction to work, the children would submit to peer pressure and start learning things their parents did not teach them.
She advised parents to strike a balance between work and raising kids, saying parental neglect would affect the children from developing the right attitude in life.
The don added,
“Children, who do not have parental involvement, will gradually begin to develop depression and with time, psychosis.
“It can also lead to children having wayward behaviour. If it is the girls, they can go into prostitution and other vices. For the male ones, the development may lead them to start taking to alcohol, drugs, stealing and fraud among others.
“Today, society is witnessing the ‘yahoo’ (Internet fraud) trend. Part of the problems that led young men to the vice is poor parenting and neglect by parents.”