68% admit childbearing, health costs impact family finances
Nestlé, the food and beverage company, has rolled out first-of-its-kind study into global parenting experiences ranking
Nigeria lowest on financial resilience with 68 percent of parents admitting that raising a child has a strong impact on the family finances, especially with childbearing and health care related costs.
Speaking during a webcast participated by select journalists recently, the Senior Vice President, Head of Nestlé Nutrition Strategic Business Unit, Nestlé South Africa, Thierry Philardeau, said that the Parenting Index survey is to show commitment to support families in the first 1,000 days of a child's life as Nestlé Parenting Index is bringing forth a unique new way of benchmarking and understanding the experiences of parents across the world today, adding that, it reflects the views of over 8,000 moms and dads of babies aged 0-12 months in 16 countries.
Philardeau added that the index identified eight universal factors that impact parenting across the world including pressure (internal and external), financial resilience, support for working life, easy baby, health and well-being resources, supportive environment, shared parenting, and parenting confidence.
The survey shows that, "in Nigeria, which is in the 12th position out of the 16 countries surveyed, pressure is a significant concern for parents, with 70 percent of them acknowledging high levels of social pressure, unsolicited advice and judgement from others often leading to feelings of stress, anxiety, shame and even guilt.
"On the other hand, Nigerian parents feel well equipped to make informed parental choices, reporting that their preferred sources of parental advice come from family members and health care professionals."
On supportive environment and shared parenting, the parenting index report states that, "less than 50 percent of Nigerian parents agree that parenting responsibilities are equally shared in their households. This reflects the African culture which traditionally assigns the role of the provider to the men and primary care giver to women. Shared parenting is very topical today with calls for new dads to move beyond stereotypes of the past to become more equal partners in parenting. Nigeria is not left out of this conversation especially online."
The index further states that, " the most significant of these factors is pressure, something parents have little control over, but which has the biggest impact on parents around the world (contributing 23 percent of the overall Parenting Index score). In every country surveyed, parents feel some form of internal and external pressure. This can materialise as judgement from others (including via social media), the unexpected realities of parenting, guilt caused by self-criticism and feelings of loneliness despite living in a hyper-connected world.
As part of the survey, a Nigeria Mom of three, Cynthia who spoke about "mom-splaining" said, "we are the kings and queens of not minding our own business. It’s very normal to be on the street walking with your kid and if people feel like maybe you’re not holding your kid well, or there’s something wrong, whether you like it or not, they will tell you!"
While the level of difficulty varies by country, Philardeau said, the study reveals that there is no perfect place to raise a family, as even in Sweden – which ranks highest with an Index score of 75/100 – parents face challenges, with a lack of parenting confidence being their biggest concern
The Nestlés senior executive further said that the company always challenges itself to better understand the complexities of the parenting journey, noting that, "we believe that finding solutions to the universal pressures faced by parents today will help them feel better supported in the decisions they make during the first crucial 1,000 days of a child’s life.
"Through Nestlé Parenting index, we can create a roadmap for change and for the first time measure it – today and in the years to come. But we cannot create measurable change alone. We are calling on those who share in our vision to join us in making this world an easier place to be a parent and raise healthier, happier future generations."
According to Nestlé, this first edition of the Index is based on data from a survey conducted by Kantar in January and February 2020, adding that it's a nationally representative sample of mothers and fathers of babies 0-12 months, surveyed in 16 countries, revealing that the wave one involved 8,045 interviews, wave two included 900 interviews (300 in China, Spain and the US) to gauge early indications of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the Index and was carried out in July 2020.