Children’s Perspectives of their Responsibilities in Household Work in their Families in the Sekyere South District of Ghana
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There has been a lot of research about children’s household work. However, most of these researches in developing countries give less importance to children’s views and rely mainly on perspectives of adults when talking about what children do. It is for this reason that I decided to look at children’s unpaid household work mainly from children’s point of view. The main purpose of the study was to explore the everyday life experiences of children who take up many responsibilities within their own families in the Sekyere South District of Ghana. It examines the role children play vis-à-vis the position they occupy in their families and the society at large. The study also examines how a lot of workload on children in households can affect their education and social life. With increasing cost of living couple with high poverty in rural areas parents (adults) try any means possible to get money and food for their families leaving much of domestic work in the hands of children. The study made use of both children and adults as informants, though children were the main informants. The aim was to get in-depth information about the topic. As a qualitative study, it made use of qualitative methods which included participant observation, interviews and focus group discussions. As a framework the study is guided by the new sociology of childhood. In addition, some concepts and perspectives that have been employed to guide the study include responsibility, children as social actors and childhood as socially constructed children’s rights in relation to their work and gender. The findings from the study suggest that several factors and reasons make it impossible for parents to release their children from household work. It was also realized that in spite of children’s significant contribution to family economy, many of them feel that they do not get the needed respect, support and care from their parents. The study also revealed that in relation to household work both adults and children are co-participants. They complement each other’s role. Findings from the study also indicate that many children willingly and enjoy participating household chores. The study concludes that one, unpaid household work can be exploitative and also harm children like waged work. I argue that adults and children must be seen as depending on each other in an effort of sustaining families. Also children’s voice should be listened to with respect to what, how and when they ought to perform household chores.