Why do I need to disappear with my tablet?
1 expert and 2 parents have answered
I think there are two issues. One is time-spent as parents away from children, the other is time spent by yourself or doing something you want to do.
I think this is just a bit of a get-out clause that some will use to justify lazy parenting and selfish behaviour. You state that "However, did you know that not taking time out for yourself is actually a very bad thing? A recent survey conducted by Find A Babysitter showed that 40% of parents - in the UK at least - are taking less than half the healthy amount of time out from their children every week."
__Where did this data on a healthy amount of time come from? Did some selfish parent dream it up to excuse them going off and doing things by themselves when they should be spending time being a parent? Repeated google searches have not revealed any correlation between time spent away from children and an individuals health.
What is a "healthy amount of time"?
I think that being a parent (to an under-18 child) is something that should be all-consuming, and the most important thing in a parents life. You have 18 years to love, teach, discipline and mound your offspring into the best individuals they can be, and give them as many opportunities as you can. At the moment I think the balance in most families is wrong, with parents expecting "me-time" rather than realising they have a duty as a parent to put aside selfish behaviour and focus on their children.
Every parent (who works normal hours) has plenty of time to themselves when their children are in bed, every single evening. If they don't, then they are being lazy and un-disciplined and not enforcing their childrens bed-times properly. There is no reason why primary-school aged children should be in bed after 8pm other than lazy parenting. 9pm is more than late enough for a child aged 14 or under. Children do need sleep, and lots of it!
When I was growing up, from age 15 onwards my parents had a rule that I had to be in my bedroom (even if not going to bed) by 9pm every night, looking back I can see that this meant that they had a couple of hours peace and quiet every day together, which was really important. Now that I am a parent (with 4 young children) my wife and I spend time together almost every night of the week.
I dont understand the need for "personal time", surely there is plenty of personal time (by yourself) when going to and from work every day, or when having a shower, or going to the toilet. I know a few other Dads who seem to think that it is essential to have time "away from the kids and the wife" and who go off and do lots of things by themselves or with friends (even going on holidays).
Children are only young once, you need to rein-in the selfish desire to "do stuff for me" and take pleasure in the very short few years that you have to "do stuff for your family". Kids will be at home for proportionally a very few short years, and then you have the rest of your life to do the "things for me" bit.
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Because if you don’t you will turn into a raging monster that dribbles on the furniture and eats too much cake.
We all know that spending time with our children is important and the summer holidays are all about giving them fun and frolicking and activities.
However, did you know that not taking time out for yourself is actually a very bad thing? A recent survey conducted by Find A Babysitter showed that 40% of parents - in the UK at least - are taking less than half the healthy amount of time out from their children every week.
Most of the parents interviewed said that they only took around an hour or less a week for themselves. A week! We all do this. We all get so caught up in doing stuff that we can become more than a little stretched. The thing is many of us don’t have handy grandparents, nor can we really afford to pay someone to come in and do it for us. Well we might be able to, but not as often as we need.
Well, parents, take that recharged tablet (haha, sorry) and get on to social media. Reconnect with an old friend. Laugh at a stupid meme. Find out who is doing what. Download a new show and watch it from start to finish with a cup of tea. Turn on your console and do that exercise game you bought and then shoved under the sofa. Do it for YOU! Ask your partner to take the small humans for a bit or plan your break for after they have gone to bed. And the experts agree with me (obviously):
Dr Claire Halsey, a child psychologist and parenting expert says, ‘On a daily basis I recommend 30 minutes of R&R at home. Do whatever helps you feel good. Relax in the bath with your Kindle or do an exercise DVD.’
Give yourself a break and you’ll be a better parent for it. Promise.
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I'm a little shocked by this part of the study mentioned by Tamsin:
"Most of the parents interviewed said that they only took around an hour or less a week for themselves. A week! We all do this."
By that standard my wife and I are in the significant minority as we get several hours a week together.
Now we home-educated our three children (age 3, 4 and 7) and we have never left them with anyone else for social reasons (I think maybe 5 or 6 times in total, for hospital visits etc.).
Yet each night after bedtime, which can sometimes be as late as 10 o'clock, my wife and I settle down together and watch a favourite TV show, play a game, read together, whatever, for at least 30 minutes, usually an hour. Most Saturday nights we go the extra mile; we don't eat with the kids, so we can have dinner together (often at 10 or even 11 o'clock at night) and spend some quality time together for a few hours, no matter how tired we are.
Is this really that uncommon?