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Survey: Most Parents Don't Know What They're Doing

parenting-survey-childrearing-failsIt’s safe to say that we parents have our young kids’ best interests in mind. And based on those best interests, we parent accordingly.

However, results of a national parent survey show that a majority of parents don’t have a good grasp of what exactly those best interests are, especially in the early years. For example, only 31 percent of those surveyed think 6-month-old babies experience fear or sadness. Meanwhile, a robust body of research shows that they can.

Wait, there’s more (I know, I know: sound the guilt trip alarm):

Between the ages of 3 and 5 (that’s a huge range, by the way), children begin to be able to control their emotions. In other words, they can express with words their frustration or ask for help rather than falling on the floor in a tantrum. Forty-three percent of parents, though, think children should be able to do this by the time they are 3. And 20 percent think kids should stop with the tantrums by the age of 2.

Did that just trigger a wave of guilt?

A majority of parents also think that kids can’t feel good or bad about themselves until they’re older, when studies show that they actually develop these feelings in the toddler years.

Another key finding in the survey was how mothers and fathers experienced parenting differently. Twice as many mothers as fathers thought tantrums were the big parenting  challenge, while twice as many fathers as mothers though bedtime and sleeping were the big drag in having kids.

Also? Huge: fathers were less satisfied with work/life balance than mothers. Huh? That in itself merits further investigation.

For a summary of the key findings, go here. For the full report, go here.

The Zero to Three National Parenting Survey results are based on a survey of 1,615 parents from various background with children between the ages of 1 and 3. The survey was conducted in June 2009 and funded by the MetLife Foundation.

Good information or too little too late?

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Photo: scottcounseling.com

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