Time and the Parent Child Relationship

By Monique Latch

It seems that people in today’s world are more preoccupied with ‘time’ and more concerned that they are not using their time efficiently. In a society where financial and material gains are so highly sought after, time spent with family and loved ones is increasingly undervalued. I believe that a "lack" of time can create enormous complications for the parent-child relationship.

It is no secret that parents today are worried about the amount of time they are able to spend with their children. Many working parents are experiencing a time crisis, so caught up with their work and daily activities that they are seemingly spending less and less quality time with their children. Justifications for this lack of genuine family interaction usually include “I’m too busy” or “I just don’t have enough time.”

As we all know too well, there are only a limited number of hours in a day. Often working longer hours creeps in to the time that working parents would usually spend with their children. Pressures of the rising cost of living, debts and generally wanting to have more than they may be able to afford, are driving parents to work longer hours and as such family life is suffering. Time spent with family, although valued, is overwhelmed by the want or need to stay that little bit longer in the office or just relax and unwind (in peace and quiet) when arriving home from work. These issues are impacting on the amount of time needed to foster a genuine and nurturing parent-child relationship.

It is important to recognize the significance of the parent-child relationship. It is the primary relationship from which children learn how to interact and form relationships with others. The lack of time many parents have to communicate and spend time with their children can have long term social effects on the child and can lead to a weak, superficial parent-child relationship.

By taking time out of a busy schedule to be with their children, parents can build a confident, secure relationship with their children. There are of course, many ways to spend time with each other and unfortunately watching television in the evenings is fairly typical in many households nowadays. In and of itself there may be no harm done, however for some famlies this may be the only time they come together. Even meals are eaten in front of the television.

And herein is the problem. Passive family (non) activity has become a substitute for direct communication and interaction. I think time spent with children should be full of attention, warmth and in-depth interest in the child and their interests.

Parents can then establish a repertoire of trust, understanding and honest communication with their child, which in turn fosters in the child a sense that their company and their uniqueness is valued.

Putting work aside to simply ‘be’ with their children, parents are instilling in them an appreciation of family as well as developing interpersonal skills, vital for relating to others.

I'd like to see parents nurturing a secure and serene environment for their children, one in which the question of WHO we are as human beings, in relation to ourselves and to others, can be explored and perhaps even discovered.

I want to see parents the world over, make this their number one priority.

As I see it now, the parents' importance to a child is too often under-estimated.

Posted on 01 June 2013 in - Temenos Journal - Time - Family and Parenting

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