A report by Nestle Plc has identified social and financial pressures as the biggest issues for parents in Nigeria and 15 other countries.
The report, Nestlé Parenting Index 2021, is the outcome of a first-of-its-kind study into global parenting experiences.
Commissioned by Nestlé as part of its ongoing commitment to support families in the first 1,000 days of life, Nestlé Parenting Index is a unique new way of benchmarking and understanding the experiences of parents across the world today.
It reflects the views of over 8,000 mothers and fathers of babies aged 0-12 months in the countries surveyed.
In Nigeria, which is ranked in the 12th position out of the 16 countries surveyed, the pressure is a significant concern for parents.
Other countries mentioned in the report are the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Romania, Israel, Saudi Arabia, India, China, and the Philippines.
About 70 percent of the respondents acknowledged that high levels of social pressure, unsolicited advice, and judgment from others often lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, shame, and 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.
“The Nestlé Parenting 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 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,” the report stated.
It revealed that Nigeria ranks lowest on financial resilience with 68 percent of respondents from the country admitting that raising a child has a strong impact on the family finances, especially with childbearing and healthcare-related costs.
On the supportive environment and shared parenting, the report showed that at least 50 percent of Nigerian parents agreed 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 caregiver 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,’’ it added.
However, the study noted that while the level of difficulty varies by country, there is no perfect place to raise a family as in every country surveyed, parents feel some form of internal and external pressure.
“This can materialise as judgment 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.
“Even in Sweden, which ranks highest with an Index score of 75 over 100, parents face challenges, with a lack of parenting confidence being their biggest concern,” the parenting index stated.
Thierry Philardeau, Senior Vice President and Head of Nestlé Nutrition Strategic Business Unit, Nestlé South Africa, said: “At Nestlé, we are always challenging ourselves to better understand the complexities of the parenting journey.
“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.”
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