American families are spending less quality time together than ever before. Our increasingly busy lives, the introduction of the internet, social media, and increased distractions are just a few causes among many.
On average, an American family gets less than 40 minutes of quality time together per day, including almost 45 minutes during weekdays and approximately 2.5 hours during weekends.
Even with the increased duration over the weekend, most families struggle to make the time to bond with their loved ones and enjoy family time without any distractions. Parents often complain about how their lack of financial freedom and time freedom is why they don't spend enough quality time with their kids.
Let's discuss the lack of quality time with family and how it affects children to give you some idea of its devastating effects.
Lack of Quality Time with Family
Most American parents believe that their lives are busy, hectic, and lack quality time with family. Apart from work on weekdays, they have to manage their chores, kids' school schedules, and screen time, which is a huge problem.
Parents find that their work takes up too much of their weekdays, leaving them exhausted, while chores and errands take up their weekends. Moreover, they have to manage the school schedules and keep at least two doctor's appointments each month.
It is widely known that the lack of quality time with family can hinder children's healthy growth and development. They may suffer behavioral issues and disorders their entire lives if their parents don't spend enough quality time with them.
Parents understand this and often mention how the best thing they can give their children is their time. However, with busy parents coping with work and home duties and kids leaning more on friends and extra-curricular activities after school, weekdays don't allow families to spend quality time together.
Furthermore, the family time found during the weekdays is lost to distractions. Many families end up watching TV in complete silence. At the same time, others resort to catching up with social media or using their phones because they are too exhausted to do anything else.
This lack of bonding between families, especially between parents and children, may have irreversible consequences in the children's adulthood.
The lack of quality time with family leads to less meaningful conversations. Reduced interactions may diminish family values like love, empathy, understanding, and shared activities and hobbies among children. Family relationships can easily get damaged when children start to lead completely separate lives from their parents.
There are more secrets and repressed feelings, leading to deterioration in family bonds. Parents' inability to make time for things other than work and home tasks is also damaging to other close bonds and relations. Since parents cannot spend quality time with children, grandparents miss out on precious time with children
Spending less time with family can lead kids to rely completely on their friends for trust, or worse, strangers who can easily take advantage of their vulnerabilities. While trusting in friends is not entirely bad, having to rely solely on friends is not good. It can change children's perspective on what a family is.
Children need to have an outlet to express their feelings to become stable adults who know how to deal with their emotions. Children lose a vital outlet when they don't have parents at home to ask about their day or feelings
Some parents tend to push their kids away, complaining about exhaustion or lack of time. In such cases, their children may start to feel unimportant or unloved by their parents, causing them to develop immense insecurities, trust issues, and low self-esteem problems.
Children's emotional and social well-being is a big part of their academic achievements. If parents are not a part of their learning and schooling, they may never understand the importance of education. Hence, parents need to take an active part in their children's studies.
Busy parents who do not spend time guiding kids during their early education often see a gradual academic decline, which rarely stops till it's too late. In contrast, parents who spend study time with kids and help them with homework tend to see reasonably better results, which leads to their kids doing well later in life.
Social Media Influence
Children who feel lonely and do not get appropriate attention from their parents often resort to risky avenues offering escapism like social media. They develop a dependency on these platforms to overcome their loneliness.
This dependency can become a serious problem because kids may spend hours looking at screens, looking at false images giving an unrealistic view of other people's lives. It also causes them to withdraw from other, productive forms of physical or mental development.
Such kids often lack empathy, conversational skills, and experience feelings of isolation and depression, which can intensify over time.
While not immediately imminent, depression and loneliness can lead to all sorts of negative coping mechanisms in kids like aggression, bullying, and theft as a way to manage their feelings. These problems can take hold in children as young as three years old and develop over time.
These were just a few of the many problems children may face due to a lack of quality time with family. Parents must ensure that whatever the circumstances, they must spend quality time together. Simple things like cooking a meal together, doing homework together, playing sports, or reading a book can go a long way to keep the problems at bay.
Recreational activities, even if they are just on the weekends, ensure that you develop a strong bond with your kids. Moreover, spending quality time together and giving them the attention they need will ensure fewer secrets and your kids can confide in you.
Family vacations are also incredibly helpful. It can be refreshing for parents and gives the entire family the relaxed time and space they need to bond. Both parents and kids can spend vacations making happy memories that last a lifetime.
If you want to learn more about the lack of quality time with family or how you can create time freedom and financial freedom in your life for more family time, please visit our website today.