Almost half of parents (41%) feel that their job makes it difficult for them to be the type of parent they'd like to be, according to a survey conducted by the Raising Children Network exploring how pressures from work can overflow into family life and affect the way parents interact with their children.
While 65% of the 520 surveyed parents agree they are happy with their work-family balance, more than half (56%) state that the demands of work sometimes make them irritable at home.
The online survey reported that three in four parents get bothered when thoughts of work distract them from focusing on their kids, and the same number of parents said they are too tired after work to do some things they would like to do.
On the positive side, nearly all parents surveyed (95%) find it easy to stop thinking of work when they spend time with their children, and doing this was listed top of 21 activities that help make the mental switch from work to home.
Warren Cann, Executive Director of the Parenting Research Centre and Content Director for Raising Children Network, said today, 'Research tells that, right from birth, the hundreds of interactions between parent and child on a daily basis are important to children - for how they feel, grow, learn and develop.
'The stress and distractions of modern life sometimes stop parents being warm and positive with their children and making the most of those day-to-day moments. Of course it's not always easy to be warm and positive with your children - and not every response you give your child is vital - but every time you are warm, responsive and "in the moment" benefits your child and your relationship too.'
The Raising Children Network announced the survey results today, together with a new campaign supported by online, quality-assured information for parents. The campaign reminds parents of a simple but vital notion: When you see your child, do your eyes light up?
'Seeing a pair of muddy little shoes stomping into the house can easily make us forget how a child might interpret the look on our face,' said Mr Cann today. 'The new campaign helps parents think about their interactions with their children and why they are important.'
The Raising Children Network is a non-commercial online parenting resource at raisingchildren.net.au. It provides comprehensive and reliable information on child health and development, parental wellbeing, and a range of government and other services for children from newborns to the age of eight.
Editor's note: An 800-word editorial written by the Raising Children Network, titled, 'Do Your Eyes Light Up' is available for reprint. Please contact us for access and supporting images.
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