Today's parents more unhappy than previous generations


by KING 5 HealthLink

Posted on November 17, 2010 at 6:40 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:44 AM


Elizabeth Simonetti will make three trips today to her kids' school.

"It's hard work. It's really hard work,"  she said.

All this back and forth chauffeuring is nothing new, but research shows parents today are more unhappy than their parents and grandparents.

Sociologist Dr. Christine Carter sees plenty of moms working so hard at being the perfect parent, that they lose themselves.

"Our generation of parents is a little nuts with our parenting, and how incredibly focused we are on it and all the things we give our kids sometimes crowds out the more important things," said Carter.

One of the most important things, she says, is family dinners five nights a week, which isn't easy for today's busy families.  Elizabeth can relate.

"It's stressful, especially when you're trying to sit down with kids at least five nights a week," she said.

Dr. Carter recommends cutting back on other activities, but even she found that tough to do.

"My older child was in Mandarin before school, Spanish after school, soccer or t-ball depending on the season, and then she would go to knitting because she loved to knit," said Carter.

She finally took her own advice.

So did Elizabeth, who now makes sure her two children have plenty of down time.

"If I'm not as tired and run down, it makes for an easier evening for me which makes for an easier evening for everybody," said Elizabeth.

Research also shows that today's married parents are less likely to spend time with friends and extended family than was the case a generation ago, meaning they are losing out on the benefits of a healthy support system.