Study: Time Spent with Your Kid Means Less Than Quality of The Hang


Apparently American parents spend more time with their kids than any other parents in any other country. I for sure thought Swedish parents – with their endless maternity and paternity leave – would win the parental hang time race but the Washington Post attests to American exceptionalism. Rah rah. So how come American parents and especially mothers – who get the luxury of hanging out with their kids regularly – feel like they don’t spend enough time with their kids? Relax, America! A new study suggests doing meaningful shit with your kids is more important than trying to hang out with them incessantly.

From Washington Post:

In fact, it appears the sheer amount of time parents spend with their kids between the ages of 3 and 11 has virtually no relationship to how children turn out, and a minimal effect on adolescents, according to the first large-scale longitudinal study of parent time to be published in April in the Journal of Marriage and Family. The finding includes children’s academic achievement, behavior and emotional well-being.

Look at that. Your kids basically don’t even need you. They’re good. Especially if you’re not feeling 100:

In fact, the study found one key instance when parent time can be particularly harmful to children. That’s when parents, mothers in particular, are stressed, sleep-deprived, guilty and anxious.
“Mothers’ stress, especially when mothers are stressed because of the juggling with work and trying to find time with kids, that may actually be affecting their kids poorly,” said co-author Kei Nomaguchi, a sociologist at Bowling Green State University.

I mean you shouldn’t act like your kid isn’t there though:

Plenty of studies have shown links between quality parent time — such as reading to a child, sharing meals, talking with them or otherwise engaging with them one-on-one — and positive outcomes for kids. The same is true for parents’ warmth and sensitivity toward their children. It’s just that the quantity of time doesn’t appear to matter.

Just be cool.

Image via Shutterstock

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