Are we becoming worse parents?

With all the doom and gloom in the world today, and the reporting of tragedies unfolding around the globe, it’s tempting to believe the world is getting worse in every way. So are we becoming worse parents?

We hear a lot about family violence and other problems in the family too, especially during and in the aftermath of COVID-19. But, are things really getting so much worse?

Two of the best antidotes to feeling bad about the world in general – and about societal levels of violence, as well – can be found in Hans Rosling‘s Factfulness and Steven Pinker‘s Enlightenment Now. How, though, are we actually doing as parents?

Oxford website Our World in Data provides some outstanding, scientific analyses of the world in which we live today. It was a go-to site for many throughout the coronavirus crisis of 2020-21.

But, it does much more than that. And, the news for parents is actually quite encouraging!

Parents spend more time with kids

“In many countries,” the study tells us, “the amount of time parents spend with their kids has been increasing over the last 50 years. This is true despite large changes in family structure over this time, such as a rise in single-parenting and a large increase in the share of women working outside the home.”

“Looking carefully at the time parents spend with their kids and the forces that shape this time helps us understand an important aspect of family life and childhood development.”

Contrary to what some may think, then, mums and dads are both spending significantly more time with their children than they did 50, or even 10, years ago. Not only that, but in some countries, like the UK, dads today are spending more time with their kids than mums did just 10-15 years ago; the ideas that many of us grew up with appear to be in need of a significant overhaul!

Families more than ever take and transition through different shapes and sizes now. So the importance of supporting family relationships through change needs our full attention.