Bringing up children is more difficult now than it was a generation ago

Monday 7 November 2005

Bringing up children is more difficult now than it was a generation ago

  • Saga research reveals that almost three quarters of baby boomers say it was easier to raise a family in their day
  • 37% of today's parents feel guilty about having to work
  • A quarter of parents don't think their children get enough attention from them

A new study from Saga Magazine reveals that an overwhelming number of today's parents* and grandparents believe it is more difficult to raise a family now than it was a generation ago. Over two thirds (68%) of today's parents say it was easier to bring up children in their parents' day and nearly three quarters (73%) of grandparents agree with them.

The reasons for this consensus are mixed, with the biggest cause thought to be that children today are more materialistic and have higher expectations (81%); closely followed by the increased cost of living (80%). Other explanations include the possibility that we generally have busier lives (73%) and increasingly disbursed families, the close family support network is not so easy to call upon (29%).

Working parents

One of the reasons that families appear much busier now is the increased reliance on two incomes meaning that both parents have to work. Over a quarter of respondents** (28%) say both parents work full time and a third (33%) of households have one full time and one part time worker. When asked what effect this has on their families, an overwhelming majority (82%) said they thought their children were happy, but 37% confessed that it affected them (i.e. the parents), as they tended to feel constantly guilty. Nearly a quarter (24%) believed that their children did not get enough attention from them and 14% felt that they were not always there when their children needed them most.

Comparing this with the childhood of today's parents', nearly a third (32%) had one parent who stayed at home full time and a further two fifths (39%) had one part time and one full time working parent. They are however interestingly divided about how much difference a parent in the home makes. Almost half (46%) said it was beneficial, and (41%) said it would have made no difference either way.

Over four fifths (86%) of today's parents thought their parents spent enough time with them when they were children.

Today's grandparents

A great number of today's parents (93%) said their parents make good grandparents; with a quarter qualifying this by stating that they spend a lot of time with their grandchildren. Despite the fact that families are more spread out than ever before grandparents are clearly still providing an essential support role for their children with 14% of parents saying their parents are always there when they are needed to help with the care of grandchildren.

Andrew Goodsell, Chief Executive of Saga commented : ""It's easy to say that today's parents are of the 'have it all generation', that in many cases parents combine good careers with having a family. The reality is that many find it hard to juggle every aspect of their busy lives without some help. Our study shows that, despite the changes in family life over the years, grandparents continue to fulfill a vital support role in the family".

For further press information please contact the Saga Press Office on: 01303 771529.


Notes to editors:

* Current parents are those aged between 16 and 49, with parents aged 50-65 and children aged 15 or less

* * both parents or a single parent

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