Who Needs ‘Quality Time’ Amid Such a Quantity?

Let’s put to rest the notion that today’s kids are monsters because their parents spend too little time with them. Perusing a study by University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, we can hypothesize that today’s kids are monsters because their frazzled parents spend too much time with them. The researchers found children in two-parent families spent nearly six hours a week more with their mothers in 1997 than in 1981 (30.89 hours vs. 25.05). Time with fathers was up about four hours (22.73 vs. 18.51). The most striking statistic: Working mothers in ’97 spent a bit more time with their kids than did nonworking mothers in ’81 (26.54 hours vs. 26.06). Still, the gap between working and nonworking mothers widened by ’97, since the at-home variety averaged 32.05 hours a week with their kids that year. Can we assume the kids were glad to have their parents around so much? A separate survey, by Roper Starch, suggests plenty of the youngsters are glad to have mom and dad off at the salt mines. Of the 8-17-year-olds surveyed, 43 percent prefer to have their mothers employed, while the same number want her to stay at home. They sure don’t want the old man around the house: 67 percent prefer that their fathers be employed outside the home.