Fast Company January/February : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Fast Company


What Parents Seem to Be In Denial about Is the Effect That Their Pressurized Lives Have On Their Kids

As if reading my guilt-ridden thoughts, Tony Schwartz reports the findings contained in a new book by Ellen Galinsky, entitled Ask the Children: What Americas Children Really Think About Working Parents. Findings suggest that although working parents are spending more cumulative time with their children due to the increased involvement of fathers, it is not enough. In addition, children cited stress and fatigue experienced by many working parents as a factor that negatively affects the quality time families spend together. In the study, parents tended to over-exaggerate the amount of time actually spent with children.

Galinsky offered the following suggestions for working parents to change the way they spend time with their children: 1. Pay more attention to family routines and rituals such as bedtime stories, family dinners, and individual time spent with each child.

2. Create boundaries in your life such as listening to special music to transition from work to home or from home to work.

3. Be there when it counts, such as special sports events, plays, concerts or other key moments in your childs life.

4. Talk more about your work life in order to connect with your child as well as to help frame your childs views about his/her own work in the future.

5. Find out how your child is feeling, even if he/she resists. This will show you are interested and that you really care.

As a working parent of three children, I struggle with stress, fatigue, and quantity/quality-time issues. As a teacher I recognize the attention-seeking behavior of some of my students and wonder if their parents are struggling with these issues as well. Do they know the needs of their children and how to meet them? I am interested in reading Galinskys book in order to better educate myself on how to deal with these issues within my own family, and to share the knowledge with the parents of my students. In a society where a majority of families have two working parents or are single-parent families, our children need advocates who will use current knowledge and information to help make their lives better. Our entire society will benefit.

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2000

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