John Richardson is a worried man. He has been married to his wife for the last ten years and they have two children, John Junior, aged nine and Jane who is six years old. The father is employed as military cadet in the air force while the wife is an undersecretary in the department of trade. Both are rarely at home and thus they have thought it wise to enroll their children in a boarding school. This means that they are only able to spend time with their children on limited occasions such as school vacations or brief stopovers at the school.
The real challenge is that even during school holidays, the parents are still very busy and thus they are often forced to send the children to their grandparents’ home or hire a caretaker for them. This explains why Mr. Richardson is concerned; he feels that it is their responsibility as parents to guide and teach their children in the best way to live. This story is just a representation of what has been taking place in many families worldwide. In the generation we are in, couples have opted to spend much of their time working so that they can meet their needs and become richer.
This has meant that their children have to be left in the hands of the caretakers (or house girls), relatives or admitted to boarding schools. This research paper is aimed at showing that children who spend time with their parents will be better placed to tackle life’s challenges than those who do not. Reasons why parents and children do not spend time together Researches that have conducted have all come to an agreement that children of the parents who are employed spend less time with their children than of those that are not.
The studies that have been done to examine the relationship between employment and the time that the mothers have spent to directly care for their children have showed that mothers who are employed spend less time in family care (physical and nonphysical). However the studies specifically did not consider any other time that is spent with a child apart from for the purposes of child care. Parents may spend time with their parents in helping them in household chores, in eating and playing.
The shared activities are said to be very significant since the children develop in areas of human capital such as learning physical and mental skills, human relations skills, fair play concepts plus many other values (Bryant and Zick p. 227). The studies also showed that mothers spend more time in direct care of their children than the fathers. As the children grow, fathers were noted to spend more time with their sons than with their daughters. In the contrast, it is mothers (who are housewives) who usually spend more time in different activities with their daughters.
Others reports have shown that mothers may spend more time with their adolescents than the fathers do and gender differences are manifest in activities that have particular interests such as watching sports, picnicking or building; otherwise in general activities such a as eating together, fathers may take meals with daughters and mothers with their sons and the vice versa (Dubas and Gerris p. 416). Studies by Goss and Nock conducted among the New York families revealed that mothers usually shared about three and a half hours per day with one of their children, with the fathers sharing only two hours a day.
Goss claimed that “Fathers shared about half as much time as mothers in the household work, one third as much in child care but nearly three fourths as much in nonworking activities and at mealtimes” (Bryant and Zick p. 228). The time that was spent with the children generally depended on whether the two parents worked at day time or at night and also on which day. Activities done by the parents such as dressing up a child, assisting him in homework or reading to her or him can be classified as direct child care.
On the other hand, conversations during meals between a parent and a child or calling her through the phone, may not be regarded as direct child care. However these conversations should not be regarded as unimportant as they develop the child’s human capital (Bryant and Zick p. 229). Another important point that was gotten from the studies indicated that educated parents are more likely to spend time (family care) with their children that the less educated, this being because they have learned of the benefits that result from taking more time in caring for their children (Bryant and Zick p. 35).
With many sociologists, psychologists, policy makers and parents all agreeing that before a child can develop into a well adjusted and productive citizen, there should be great parental and societal investments of social capital, money as well as time. Previous studies that have been conducted have showed that the activities done together by a family and also the time spent together have positive effects and benefits in the prevention of risks common during adolescence adjustments.
It was noted that the more time children spent with their parents (and families), the more they achieved better and also the lesser problems they were involved in. Studies showed that the time that children spend with their parents declines across all cultures when they attend school. However the time children spend in their families as they proceed towards adolescence varies depending on the cultures (Dubas and Gerris p. 415). What children learn from their parents?
Since people are emotional beings, they need nurturing relationships; this explains the fact that emotions are the medium through which children learn the art of problem solving. These relationships enable the children to learn how to think. During the process of interactions, the child would develop an affection towards its mother, first by behaving his or her wishes and desires, and then pictures them in the mind and finally labels them with words. This is the beginning of a child using symbols in thinking.
The mother teaches the child to remain calm and be balanced within so that he or she can pay attention to the external signals. The child is then taught to be attentive for a longer while as he waits for more signals from the parent (Daims, par. 3-4). The child will reach a point of turning away from the father or mother and starts doing the basics without depending on the parents. This is said to give the child a self esteem feeling and thus the beginning of cognitive awareness. The child reaches the point where he knows what to expect from either the mother of the father.
In modern times, there has been an increase in the use of institutional love for the children; however this type of love is not of greater depth or meaning as compared to the love that is provided by the parents. For example in school or day care centre there is a constant changing of the members of staff thus such a system cannot provide proper relationship. Parents should interact with their children so that the way a child relates with the world individually can be met and so that the child’s weaknesses and strengths can be matched with guidance (quiet) and modeling (Daims).
When parents spend time with their children they provide them with an appropriate intellectual environment where a child can make a progress to adulthood. That is why children should not be allowed to spend so much time in watching the television or much homework as this would interfere with other needs of a child such as family time (Daims). When children spend time with their parents, they will learn discipline. Though physical punishment should be discouraged and be taken as the last resort, discipline that would bring new lessons should not be avoided.
Always the parents should have concern and patience when they are dealing with their children and in the process teach them empathy. It is vital for the parents who are working to set time when they will be spending time with their children immediately they arrive home. Parents always teach their children certain expectations, by them and of them and this enable the children to grow and learn on how they can live with other people in a graceful manner (Daims).
When parents spend more time with their children, the former would be in a position to shape the character of their children thus developing children who can understand what roles they should play in their families; that they should be responsible to their families and that they should always be near their home. Also they can learn to appreciate their parents for the sacrifices that they make to better their lives (Gualalupe p. 2). Parents are very instrumental in teaching their children to be more responsible.
Children of the working parents are always faced with unresolved dilemmas especially during the hours after school. It has been noted that children aged between the ages of ten and eleven spend some few hours alone before their parents return from job. Many of them regard this as freedom and use it to engage in irresponsible behaviors (Belle p. 157). In addition, it has been stated that the quality of parent-child relations and also the amount of time spent by a child with his family contribute to how lonely the child would be in his adulthood.
In a research that was conducted to thirty thousand people, many of the respondents that claimed to have received care and support from their parents while they were young seemed to be less lonely in life. It was noted that practices of child-rearing by parents, such as minimum positive involvement contributed to loneliness especially in daughters. This was also similar to the college students who stated that they had poor relationship with both parents and peers while they were young (Ponzetti and Camilla p. 04). The other factor that a child learns when he or she spends time with the parents is whether he or she is secure or not. Security in this context means that there is a feeling of acceptance and love in the child which he or she has obtained from the parents. They feel that they are being taken care when they are sick, that they can express their opinions freely, they are given the chance to develop talents, they can learn from what their parents are doing, and finally learning what is wrong and what is right.
Security may not mean overprotection, a condition that may make a child feel that he is unable and it does not mean that a child is left all alone. This feeling of insecurity by the child is what has been identified as the major cause of child delinquency (Piers p. 26). When the children spend time together with their parents, they will not only learn things that are positive but may also get themselves adapting negative traits from their parents. The parents are the major players in a family that is dysfunctional. Many of those parents may be alcoholic, mentally unstable, drug addicts or abusers.
The situation may not be as exactly as above, but may just be a family with adequate income and with all the parents coming home daily in on time. This family may seem very normal from the outside, however simple things like hugging can make the child learn that there is no love between their parents and if present, it is cold. On the other hand, if the children overspend their time with their children the latter may have the feeling that they are not complete or their decisions are never appreciated (Riddle pp. 224-225). What parents learn from their children?
Parents also learn much from their children as they spend more time together. One of the facts that the parents may learn is what the children are learning while they are still young. When the children are unmonitored, they may get information from different sources such as television, internet or their peers. Punishment that the child may be getting from the parents or teachers or relatives in form of spanking or hitting can in fact be the source of the child’s aggressive behavior. When the parents spend time with their children, they are in a better position to evaluate the effects of such punishments.
The parents will have the chance to understand whether spanking is effective in changing the behavior of the child positively, that is, whether the child develops the parent’s values or is deteriorating (Lew and Bettner pp. 110-111). When the children are alone, they spend much of their time watching the television and as they become persistent in this behavior, they come to believe everything that they see in the television. This means that material that the get from the TV can either enhance or inhibit their growth.
Study has shown that too much time in front of a television can make a child passive. When the parents are near their parents they will learn what the children are watching and can be in a position to discuss with them what they like on the television and thus plan on what their children should be watching and what they should not (Esteves). Some children are born with mental or physical defects and as the parents spend more time with them, it is possible for them to identify the problem and thus take necessary steps that may include medication, counseling or special care.
If they are not always near the children, their condition may deteriorate and sometimes even become permanent. Conclusion It is unfortunate that many parents are too busy working to “feed” their families but in the process neglect one of the most important tasks of their lives; spending enough time with their children. In the capitalistic economy, many people are working day and night to earn extra money and be able to foot their bills.
Contrary to what was happening in the past with the father being the sole provider of the family, contemporary mothers have also taken the responsibility of working, sometimes in odd hours. This has meant that they have to wake up early for work and come home late while they are already tired. The children are left in the hands of caretakers or enrolled in boarding schools. The parents and the children may not have ample time to spend together. It is vivid from the research that there are so many lessons that children learn from their parents from the time they are babies to the age of adolescence.
In the absence of their parents, they are forced to learn from their caretakers, teachers or even their peers who may not be the best role models. The parents may also not have time to learn from their children and understand how they are developing. This may result into children growing up with physical, emotional or even spiritual deficiencies. This has been attributed to the rise in the number of the child delinquents. It is therefore fair to conclude that children who spend time with their parents will be better placed to tackle life’s challenges than those who do not.