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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Parents want help

It's that time of year — when little ones make cards or serve mom and dad breakfast to thank them for the hardest job of all: parenting.

Search Institute and the YMCA surveyed parents on what they need to succeed. Although most feel confident, they say they lack support and the networks they need.

Use these questions for your reflection or for discussion with others. Click on the numbers to read the results below to discover how the 1,005 parents responded. The study defined "parents" as all adults with primary responsibility for rearing children, including stepparents and grandparents.

1. Do you feel that as a parent you're going it alone?

2. Would you describe your relationship with your spouse or parenting partner as strong?

3. Do you feel successful as a parent every day?

4. Do you feel unprepared for parenting situations that arise?

5. Do other caring adults actively participate in your child's life?

(For more information on the survey and for resources go to www.abundantassets.org or www.searchinstitute.org/families.)

Results:

1. If so, you have company: 53 percent say they don't seek much help or advice in child rearing.

2. Despite the importance of this relationship, 50 percent say they lack a strong relationship with their spouse.

3. Only 34 percent feel successful every day. The good news? Fifty-four percent feel successful on most days.

4. Job demands, bickering among their children and over-scheduled children are what parents say makes parenting most difficult. Those who are dissatisfied with their parenting cite these reasons: "feeling unprepared" (52 percent), "feeling overwhelmed by everything" (46 percent) and "feeling unsupported by family and friends" (34 percent).

5. Seventy-one percent say having other adults in their child's life would be helpful; 67 percent said they'd like to hear they're doing a good job


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