Modern parenting is different from that which many of us remember because most parents today spend many hours outside the home and invest in their work and career at the expense of time shared with their children. As a result, they spend much less time with their children and the guilty feelings that overwhelm them make them wonder whether they‘re doing the right thing, or whether their absence from home hurts their children in the short and long term.
Many experts argue about the answer to this question, and it is difficult to decide which side is right, but in any event, our economic reality creates a situation in which some parents simply have no choice but to work. Despite this frustrating situation, there is a bright side: Studies show that parents who are out of the house for many hours but still invest in quality time with their children, raise happy and successful children. Read on and find out how to make this possible.
There is a widely held view that the amount of time spent with children is of less significance than the nature of the activities you engage in during this time. So you don’t need to feel guilty or think about what would be if you didn't have to work so many hours, as long as you spend the time you do have with your children in a meaningful way. A situation in which there is no parent at home for long hours of the day doesn’t necessarily harm children, but rather may strengthen their sense of responsibility and provide them with important skills in life.
The American Academy of Pediatrics emphasizes that children also need unstructured time for themselves without parental involvement for social and cognitive development, so you don’t necessarily have a reason to feel guilty. Of course, it is natural for a parent to want to spend more time with their children, but you shouldn’t be disappointed with yourself if you can’t do it all the time, as this feeling of guilt may hurt your parenting experience and your children.
According to Dr. Ran Navon, a clinical psychologist, working parents who aren’t at home much need to develop themselves personally and career-wise. They must realize that the entire investment is for the benefit of their family and that they aren’t making a mistake. A family in which parents feel satisfied with their personal and professional lives, raise successful children because these feelings project onto the children, who feel proud and acquire important values such as sticking to goals and aspiring to success from an early age.
When parents are happy and satisfied with their workplace, it gives their children a sense of security and makes them feel much better knowing they aren’t missing out on their parents for something meaningless. Alternatively, working parents who just complain about their jobs while they are at home may make their children think that their parents prefer to be at work (which is annoying and not fun) than to be with them.
According to a study published at the Harvard School of Management which included participants from 24 countries, children whose parents work long hours and are not at home most of the time are children who are likely to be more successful and have higher academic achievement than others.
Another study found that boys and girls who grew up in families where both partners worked long hours outside the home went to school more than children whose parents remained at home most of the day or worked fewer hours. The increase in success stems from the fact that these children learned to be independent and also acquired additional skills, such as developing relationships with their peers and managing to cope with problems on their own without involving an adult or parent.
In light of these findings, it is important to understand that there are many possibilities for maximum use of time with your children that aren’t expensive or farfetched. Children don’t need the latest smartphone or the most expensive toy to be happy, all they need is attention.
They need to know that there is someone who supports them and loves them, someone they can always approach and talk to openly, without the fear of being judged. Acquiring this trust and communication can be done in different ways, but the key to all this is the quality time you spend with them. During your time together with your children, you can enjoy a variety of activities that will help you achieve such a relationship, such as: