Although it is commonly believed that the time parents spent with their children influences their behavior or their academic results, a new study shows that the amount of time is not so important, but quantity is.
It is the first time scientists have conducted such a large study regarding this matter. The study will be published in the Journal of Marriage and Family in April. The researchers analyzed survey data and time diaries in order to track how much time mothers spent with their children. They linked this information to the children’s accomplishments regarding academics, behavior and emotions. As surprising as it may seem the results showed not only that the amount of time made no difference, but in some cases it could even harm the children.
It was also found that nowadays mother spend more time with their children than they did in the 1960’s or 1970’s. It is a surprising result taking into consideration the fact that now more women are working. This is probably a result of the assumption that the more time the mother spends with her child, the better. Another myth which the study denied is the one according to which the time spent with the mother is more valuable than the time spent with any other people. It looks like is better for children, especially for teenagers, to spend time with both parents. This will keep them more focus and away from problems. In fact the factor which can influence the children’s behavior is the mother’s educational level and the family income.
Another thing which the study drew attention to was the stress which parents experience. They may feel guilty for not spending enough time with their children, but this anxiety has a negative effect on the children. Mothers often feel torn between their work and spending time with children. Being stressed about spending time with their children leads to pressuring them. In addition mothers also have other things besides their children and outside the household, they have their own identities and own passions. The study advises parents to ease up their feeling of guilt and concentrate on spending more time with them at family dinners. The aim of the study would be to alleviate the guilt that parents feel and show them what is truly important for their children.
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