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Debunking Myths of Parental Time
November 27, 2002

– "The more you ask, the longer the way seems to be; the less you ask, the shorter your journey." –Maori proverb


The November 2002 issue of Work & Family Life (workfam@aol.com) provided a reality check on the quantity of time parents actually spend with their children, what they do during this time, and how kids feel about it:

* Parents are spending 4-6 hours a week more with their children than in the previous generation. A study done by Sandra Hofferth at the University of Michigan found that today's working moms spend about the same amount of time (26.5 hours a week) with their kids as at-home moms did in 1981.

* Research by Ellen Galinsky, found that the debate between quality and quantity of time is out of sync with reality. Both matter to children. We should be thinking of it as "focused time" and "hang around time," says Galinsky, because that is what matters to kids.

* Galinsky also found that children with employed mothers and those with mothers at home do not differ on whether they feel they have too little time with their mothers. "An at-home mother is not automatically an attentive mother, nor is an employed mother necessarily inattentive. It's pretty clear to kids that it's who their parent is as a person and what kind of relationship they have that matters the most," says Galinsky.

To provide helpful advice to your parents on the challenges they face in raising children, check out our electronic newsletter, Parenting Exchange at www.ChildCareExchange.com.


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