A study of one thousand young people in 3rd through 12th grade asked kids and teens this question:
If you were granted one wish that would change the way that your mother’s or father’s work affects your life, what would that wish be?
In a parallel study, more than 600 mothers and fathers were asked to guess what their childrens’ wish would be. So, what do you think? What would your kids want most from you?
Most parents (56%) guessed that their children would wish for more time with them. They were wrong. Only 10% of children made that wish about their mothers and 15.5% made that wish about their fathers.
So what did kids actually want?
Most children actually wished that their mothers (34%) and their fathers (27.5%) would beless stressed and tired. (Source: Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham). Another study (source: The Price of Privilege by Madeline Levine) showed that the single most determining factor on how well adjusted a child turns out is the mother’s emotional health. This finding was true whether the mother worked out of the house or stayed at home.
I’ve been on the work-too-much and I’m-too-stressed treadmill myself. The irony is that you think you’re helping your kids get ahead by making sure they’re enrolled in every event and by working longer and harder to give them an advantage. What if we’re actually doing the opposite?