Being too busy or tired to give kids their full attention, working long hours and a lack of quality family time have been named amongst the top 30 guilt triggers for parents, a new study reveals.
Other issues which leave mums and dad feeling bad include not going on more family days out, relying on the television to occupy kids while they get the chores done and not having more patience.
The survey of 2,000 UK families, commissioned by leading toy company Little Tikes, reveals that parents feel up to seven pangs of guilt a week at their lack of quality time together.
Not earning enough money, spending too little time playing outdoors and worrying about whether they are being ‘fun enough’ for their children also leaves parents feeling at fault.
Eight in ten admit they put themselves under pressure with constant worries about whether they are a good enough parent.
Little Tikes has linked with Olympic Gold Medallist Greg Rutherford to encourage UK parents to ditch the guilt and enjoy the great outdoors this summer with their ‘Little Trikers’ campaign.
Greg Rutherford said yesterday: “It’s time to park the guilt, put the stresses and strains of everyday life to one side and get outside altogether as a family. The physical, emotional and mental benefits to adults and children cannot be underestimated. “
Greg continues: “We need to inspire future generations to feel happy, fit and fulfilled. It’s important to start this from a young age , whether it’s taking your little one out for a walk with their trike or running around the garden for five minutes together, you can create memories that will last forever.
Make the most of the family time, put down the phones and tablets and cherish the precious moments.”
Other guilt triggers appearing in the top 30 list included getting too wrapped up in household chores, not helping out more by volunteering to do school activities and checking emails too much while at home.
Many mums felt bad for wanting to return to work after maternity leave, while Dad’s were hit when having to go to work and leave mum and baby at home.
A quarter of parents said they are constantly struggling to juggle everything involved in parenthood.
Worryingly, a guilt-ridden fifth of mums and dads felt they weren’t doing a good enough job raising their kids.
A spokesman for Little Tikes said: “It’s only natural for parents to have worries about whether or not they’re doing things well and the fact that they have this worry probably means they’re doing a better job than they give themselves credit for.
“The list of parenting guilt triggers will be familiar for many a mum and dad and much of them stem from feeling they don’t get enough time to really get active and enjoy playing with their young ones.
“Work pressures and packed schedules will always be problematic, but making the effort to get outdoors and enjoy some traditional play as a family will go a long way in alleviating any worries about that work-family balance.”
Looking to inspire the nation, Little Tikes is asking families to share their #toptrikertrails and are giving 50 4-in-1 Sports Edition Trikes away. Visit www.littletikes.co.uk.
The Little Tikes’ 4-in-1 Sports Edition Trike is suitable from age 9+ months and is designed to grow as a child’s skills develop. The 4-in1 use allows it to grow with a child through four separate learning stages and makes it a great alternative to a stroller. The new Little Tikes website www.littletikes.co.uk/littletrikers is full of inspiration for UK families to get out and about this summer including a way to share walking ideas with #toptrikertrails. Little Tikes is giving away fifty Trikes to UK families to help. For more information go to: www.littletikes.co.uk/littletrikers.
TOP 30 MOST COMMON PARENTING GUILTS
- Being too busy to give my children more attention
- Working long hours
- Doing ‘jobs’ when you should be spending quality time playing
- Working late
- Not being able to afford everything they want
- Not spending enough ‘quality time’ together
- Not playing enough outside with them
- Returning to work after my maternity leave (mums only)
- Not going on more days out
- Not spending enough time in the fresh air with your children
- Not having more patience
- Not being more ‘fun’ when you play with them
- Relying on the TV to keep them entertained while you get on with chores / work
- Telling your children off
- Putting my child into nursery/childminder
- Wanting to go to work instead of being a stay-at-home parent
- Going back to work and leaving your wife / girlfriend home with a baby (dads only)
- Wanting to have time away from my children every now and then
- Not earning enough money for one of us to be home with our child / children
- Not going on holidays abroad
- Having to leave them with someone else to go to work during the school holidays
- Spending too much time and energy on the household chores
- Not having more money to spend on new clothes
- Not being around to do the school run
- Not helping more with homework
- Not volunteering for more school activities
- Telling them to put down gadgets when you are just as addicted to yours
- Not seeing other children enough
- Checking work emails/taking work-related phone calls when you are at home with your children
- Not having enough time or money to provide freshly cooked and healthy meals