Chicago Sun-Times
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Family time on the rise

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It goes against conventional wisdom, but the amount of time parents are spending with their children has risen dramatically since the 1990s, the New York Times is reporting.

A study by researchers from the University of California, San Diego, found that college-educated women, on average, spent 21.2 hours a week attending to the needs of their children in 2007, compared to about 12 hours a week before 1995. Parenting time for college-educated fathers also more than doubled during that period.

Researchers only counted specific activities in which the parent was directly involved in child care, not just instances where mothers and fathers were "around" their kids, the Times reported.

Experts say the extra time comes from fathers working fewer hours and mothers spending less time cooking and cleaning.

It's easy to see how children would benefit from having attentive parents who are there to help them with their homework or cheer them on at a baseball game.

Children who lack that kind of attention are more likely to spend their lives looking for it in the wrong places.

But you also wonder whether the increase in family time is responsible for that small subset of overprotective "helicopter parents" who can't seem to give their children the space they need to become independent, well-adjusted adults.

If so, that can't exactly be called progress.

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This page contains a single entry by Monifa Thomas published on April 9, 2010 4:09 PM.

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