Families of Indonesian Overseas Migrant Workers: Developmental Issues

     In a May article entitled “Families of Indonesian Overseas Migrant Workers: Call for Concern,” the concern about the psychological impact of the families left behind by Indonesian migrant workers was raised. A great amount of research could be cultivated from the aforementioned concern.

From a developmental perspective, several concerns could be identified in relations to the psychosocial impact of international migration on children:

  1. The roles of the Indonesian father and mother in parenting (the child, adolescent, young adult) on various dimensions of child-adolescent development,
  2. The functions of the family (based on our cultural context) on child-adolescent development,
  3. The impact of international migration on the family (i.e. issues concerning the struggle of parenting and addressing the needs of the developing child; possible marital strains or even divorce so that this result in single-parent or blended families),
  4. The differences in father-absent and mother-absent migrant families (perhaps focusing on the physiological and psychology responses of the children to the father or mother absence), and
  5. The roles of the extended family members (either as guardian or form of support) for the children left behind.

     The above questions reflect some basic research problems that need to be addressed, arguably more pressingly with a developmental point of view. The relevance and significance of such researches would have impact on a number of different segments of the Indonesian society. To begin with, the studies could relate to families who are affected by the economic and social realities of the present time. For the parents and their children, such studies could recommend creative ways to help them maintain or develop a more healthy, supportive and loving relationship. For the local and international organizations, governmental and non-governmental agencies, as well as various religious organizations offering counseling to migrant families, such studies could highlight issues important to the developing child.

Although matters about the family may be considered as private in the past, from what the literature suggests about the other countries whose citizens make up a large portion of international contract workers is that family issues will become increasingly public discussions.


By Angela Dyah Ari Pramastyaningtyas, angela_dap@hotmail.com