How Parenting Today Is Different, and Harder

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American parents are finding the job much harder than they expected, found a large new survey by Pew Research Center. And it’s not just how they feel — parenting is more demanding than it used to be, a variety of research has found.

Eight in 10 parents of children younger than 18 find it to be enjoyable and rewarding most or all of the time, according to the new survey of 3,757 U.S. parents in that group. But two-thirds also say it’s harder than they thought it would be — including about one-third of mothers who say it’s a lot harder than they expected.

The findings reflect and build on other research. Today’s parents spend more time and money on their children than previous generations — working mothers spend as much time with their children as stay-at-home mothers of the 1970s — and feel more pressure to be hands-on. Especially for college-educated mothers with careers, the demands have caught them off guard, economists have found. At the same time, many jobs have become all-consuming, paying people disproportionately more per hour for working long hours and being available anytime — but at a cost.

The survey helps describe some of the particular ways in which parenting has become more demanding and stressful (one-third of respondents said it was that way all or most of the time).


https://static01.nyt.com/images/2023/01/26/multimedia/00up-child-parents2-jwth/00up-child-parents2-jwth-jumbo.jpg?quality=75&auto=webpCredit…Kenny Holston for The New York Times



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