Many parents seem to resist leaving their children at home with babysitters – they take the kids along, even on weekend nights that were once reserved for date nights.
Linda Morgan, editor of ParentMap and author of the book, Beyond Smart, joined KING 5 in studio to talk about what’s going on with parents who take their kids absolutely everywhere.
Why do parents take their kids pretty much everywhere these days?
The change from when my generation raised kids is fascinating – because we didn’t even have the technology to keep in close touch with them when we went out. But we did go out. We hired teenage babysitters who lived down the block or even friends of friends – who we sometimes didn’t know so well.
Now the default on a Saturday night is the kids are coming with. Sometimes invitations have to specify grown-ups only. Even at weddings or other adult events.
Many factors are coming into play. The economy is a big one. Costs have escalated. We paid about $1.50 an hour. Now rates begin at about $10.50 and go up, depending on the sitter’s age or experience. Add in the date night – dinner, a movie and parking.
What else are these parents thinking about?
There’s the trust factor. Who can, in all good conscience, leave a child or two in the hands of someone you don’t know really, really well, when our 24/7 news cycle, Law & Order keep reminding us of all the predators out there?
And we have to wonder: Is this situation a real one – or are we just hearing about it more? The truth is, whether kids are actually in more danger or there’s simply been an uptick in awareness doesn’t much matter. The perception out there is that the world is less safe.
Do parents today – more than in previous generations – want to spend more time with their children?
The simple fact that there are more women in the workforce impacts the way parents view what my generation called “quality time” with the kids.
What other trends are going on?
It’s all about that pressure to be the perfect parent. But spending quality time away from the children – with a friend, with a spouse – is also important. Those rarefied, stolen moments also help preserve marriages and other adult relationships. You want to create a happy home. We need our playtime, too.