Dublin: Emotional Bonds Between Parents And Children Strained Over Needs & Wants

23 Sep

PARENTS who work long hours are less likely to form strong emotional bonds with their children.

They also feel under pressure to fund a certain lifestyle for their family.

A report has found that parents are increasingly concerned about their ability to meet education and housing needs, while children often feel conflict in families was partly to blame for parents being tired and stressed.

 The latest findings of the Growing Up in Ireland study show that, while four out of five nine-year-olds view the relationship with their parents as positive, they are more open with the person with whom they spend more time — in most cases the mother.

The study, which is tracking the lives of nine-year-olds in Ireland, found children turned to their mothers in times of emotional crisis.

The father’s role was more focused on shared activities.

Most children understood the need for boundaries and discipline, but a minority said they were subjected to physical punishment.

Grandparents were viewed positively and seen as buffers against family stress.

The research also examined children’s attitudes to health and wellbeing, and expectations for the future.

The report found:

* Most children recognised that being “too fat” or “too skinny” was unhealthy. Some nine-year-olds already had a detailed knowledge of anorexia.

* They understood the importance of healthy eating but three quarters continued to eat sugary snacks.

* Peers had the most influence over activities.

* The biggest concern for the future was financial security: Having a “good job” and a “nice house”. The majority of boys wanted to be sports players, most girls wanted to be on stage.

The report found that friendships are an integral part of children’s lives; bullying is a prevalent issue; few nine-year-olds have mobile phones and communication by technology is limited; and their understanding of puberty is also limited.

Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the study was “of critical importance”.

“It provides a comprehensive and highly valuable evidence base which can be used to inform and guide our development and delivery of targeted and effective programmes for children and young people.”

Professor Sheila Greene, the co-director of Growing Up in Ireland and director of the Children’s Research Centre in Trinity College Dublin, said the latest research “gives us a unique insight into the world in which nine-year-olds live”, representing children “from different points on the socio-economic spectrum, and from many types of families”.

Growing Up in Ireland is a Government-funded study following the progress of almost 20,000 children and their families. The latest leg involved interviews with 120 families.

www.spunout.ie & www.teenline.ie & www.letsomeoneknow.ie

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