I was pleased to read an article in the Courier Mail, Saturday April 18th 2015, “Force of Nurture”. The article reports on recent research from a US study published recently, which revealed that modern parents are spending more time with their children in comparison to their counterparts 50 years ago. Parenting research like this published study, has been following key indicators in parents self-reports of their invovlement with their children, looking at measures of invovlement and type of interaction, over a period of years, tracking trends in parent-child invovlement. According to the study, mothers are spending an average of 13.7 hours per week with their children, and for dads the figure is 7.2 hours, which is an increase from 10.5 hours for mums and 2.6 hours for dads in 1965. Well done to the dad’s, as this increase from 2.6 hours per week to 7.2 hours is significant and represents the rise of modern parenting – where there is acknowledgement for the need for involvement with both parents. Similar research conducted by the Australian Institure of Family Studies has followed Australian trends over many years, with recent figures indicating that for parents of children aged 5 to 14, mothers are spending 2.5 hours with thier children everyday, and for fathers the figure is 1.5 hours per day. As the article reports, modern parents are certainly more ‘savvy’ using innovative ways such as flexible work arrangements to allow them to balance both work and family life. I will suggest that, although not mentioned in this article, parents wh0 do well to juggle such responsibilities and actively parent their children, do so under a level of strain in order to manage such a juggling act. In other words, ‘it aint easy’. Once again, the research repeatedly asserts – it’s quality time, not just quantity, that makes a difference in the lives of children.
Well done to Daryl Passmore, the author, for writing this article (p.7 !) given the space in newspapers is highly competitive and often the negative news dominates.