New York: For double-income-no-kid (DINK) couples, raising a child is the most difficult part. For them, creches and day-care centres in the marketplace are no less than playing the role of real parents.
According to a study, modern-day parents feel that outsourcing traditional parental duties is ultimately protecting parenthood.
Today, parents are increasingly outsourcing caregiving activities.
"The expanding array of caregiving services is blurring the boundaries between family and the marketplace and raising new questions about what is acceptable to outsource and how parents make sense of these sometimes contentious decisions," said authors Amber M. Epp and Sunaina R. Velagaleti from University of Wisconsin, Madison.
To better understand the role of the marketplace in modern-day parenting, the authors conducted indepth interviews with participants.
The interviews revealed that parents are more willing to turn to the marketplace for help once they have provided a strong baseline of activities that allow them to direct how care is given, protect their connections as parents, and assert their role as the primary caregiver.
"Achieving this balance helps parents maintain their feelings of responsibility, control and intimacy," Velagaleti said.
For instance, when deciding whether or not to hire someone to help plan their child's birthday party, parents might ask themselves if it is their job as a parent to do this (responsibility), how they might feel if the party planner does not do things the way they want them to do, and whether or not they should be the person who has created the excitement and joy on their child's face (intimacy).
Understanding this can offer insight for companies looking to better market their services to parents.
"Our findings run counter to the widespread idea that family and the local community should always be the first and second lines of parenting help," Epp noted.
The study appeared in the Journal of Consumer Research.