New Study Shows Pressures to Regulate Screen Time and Lack of Fundamental Support Systems Are Causing Parents to Lose Confidence
The first annual Parent Confidence Report from KinderCare shows only 1 in 3 parents feel very confident on a typical day raising their child with 75% of millennial parents saying expectations for parents today are “exhausting”
More than half of parents would take a pay cut to work at a place that provides quality child care
Portland, Ore. (May 15, 2019) – A new study released today highlights how modern challenges, including screen time usage, social media, and the lack of fundamental support systems, are impacting parent confidence. The first annual Parent Confidence Report, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of KinderCare Learning Centers, reveals that while almost all parents recognize that being confident is important to be a good parent, less than one in three parents feel very confident on a typical day.
“We believe that helping to build confidence in our kids can lead to bright and successful futures as they grow into adults. But how can our kids be confident if our parents aren’t? We wanted to dig deeper to uncover how parents are feeling in today’s complex world,” said Tom Wyatt, CEO, KinderCare Education. “Studies have shown that increasing confidence in parents can lead to stronger child-parent relationships, mental health, and more satisfaction in life.”
The survey brought to light key elements that are impacting confidence in today’s parents, including:
• Lack of support: The Parent Confidence Report draws attention to the fact that if it takes a village to raise a child, our villages are falling short. Seventy percent of parents feel that they are expected to do it all without fundamental support systems, and the same number (70 percent) agree that it is harder to raise a child today than a decade ago. This may be why they’re looking for employers and elected officials to step in and lighten the burden – sixty-seven percent believe employers should offset the cost of child care for employees, and fifty-five percent think universal child care from birth to kindergarten should be offered through the government. Without these systems of support, some working parents – particularly mothers – are leaning out. Almost one in three mothers say they debated whether or not to go back to work given the cost of putting their child in child care, compared to only one in five fathers.
• Screen time & social media shaming: Parents are feeling the strain of technology more than ever. Almost half of mothers find parenting harder today because of the comparisons they often face on social media (47 percent), compared to only 32 percent of fathers. Screen time is also negatively impacting confidence for parents and children alike. One in three parents believes that too much screen time is the number one issue impacting their child’s confidence. Sixty-three percent of respondents agreed that monitoring their child’s digital and social media habits is making parenting harder today than it used to be. In fact, parents believe screen time has a greater negative impact on their child’s self-confidence than lack of personal encouragement from teachers, caregivers and other adults in their kids’ life (47 percent versus 41 percent).
• Information overload: There’s no shortage of information and advice for parents today. Yet too much information may actually be hurting, not helping, parent’s confidence levels. The study findings reveal that one in four parents feel that the overload of parenting information detracts from their confidence as a parent. Which may be why a majority of parents (55 percent) say that “it is often difficult to know if I am doing the best thing for my child.” And even the most confident parents struggle with parenting decisions: Seventy-seven percent of parents who described themselves as “very confident” have struggled with at least one parenting decision recently.
New Problems for New Millennial Parents
The digital age of parenting is bringing with it a unique set of challenges for millennial parents who feel the always-on mentality is causing increased anxiety and judgment. Seventy-five percent of millennials feel that expectations around parenting are exhausting, compared to sixty-six percent of all respondents. And one in three millennial parents feels judged by people on social media. As parents of young children, millennial parents may be feeling the most strain; study respondents noted that 3-years-old is the average child age where parents felt the least confident in their parenting abilities.
Keys to Accelerating Parent Confidence: More Support
According to the report, employers can play a crucial role in increasing the confidence of working parents by offering child care options. In fact, more than half of parents would take a pay cut to work at a place that provides quality child care (55 percent), increasing to sixty-one percent for single parents, and sixty-seven percent of parents are looking to their employers to help offset the ongoing cost of child care. Providing employees with quality child care solutions can considerably boost parent’s confidence levels and ultimately help organizations attract and retain top talent.
Full results from the Parent Confidence Report are available here.
Wyatt added, “While this report paints a picture of the many challenges that parents today are facing, it also shows us some ways we as a society can better support them and provide the ‘village’ they need to raise happy, healthy, confident kids. We hope this report is helpful to parents, and all of us who are devoted to raising confident children.”
About the Parent Confidence Report 2019
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of KinderCare from March 8 through March 15, 2019, among 1,000 parents with children age 12 and younger. An online panel was used to contact respondents ages 18 and older with children 12 or younger in their household for the opt-in survey.
About KinderCare® Learning Centers
KinderCare Learning Centers is America's largest, most accredited child care provider, serving more than 165,000 children every day at more than 1,380 centers. For 50 years, we’ve been creating safe, encouraging environments where kids can learn, grow and build confidence for life. At KinderCare, hardworking families are family—regardless of needs, backgrounds, and experiences.
To learn more visit us online at KinderCare, on Facebook or on Instagram. For resources, information, and activity ideas for parents and teachers of young children please visit KinderCare.com/blog. In 2018 Rainbow Child Care Centers joined the KinderCare family. Learn more about Rainbow.