Parents stressed about home life

Local | Daphne Li 20 May 2019

Seven in 10 parents feel stressed about family matters, with stay-at-home ones more prone to pressure than those who work, a survey by the Hong Kong Institute of Family Education revealed.

The telephone survey, conducted between April 26 and May 11, was based on interviews with 509 parents whose children are studying in kindergarten, primary and secondary schools.

On a scale of five, 71 percent of respondents rated their stress levels at between three and five. Among them, 22 percent rated their levels between four and five.

Around 30 percent believe their stress stems from their children's emotions. This was followed by academic performance at 27.7 percent, social life at 21.2 percent, extra-curricular activities at 14.5 percent, and conduct at 7.5 percent.

The survey also found stay-at-home parents face more stress than parents who often work overtime, with about 25 percent of stay-at-home parents and 15 percent of working parents admitting their stress is high.

Some one-third of respondents have to work more than 46 hours per week, with 9 percent spending more than 56 hours on the job. Roughly 12 percent need to spend a daily average of two hours handling their children's homework, and about 26 percent never set aside time to exercise with their children.

About 26 percent spend less than 15 minutes chatting to and sharing their feelings with their children on a daily basis, while 10 percent conceded they never do so.

Around half of the interviewees believe their job affects their family relationship.

Tik Chi-yuen, chief executive of the Hong Kong Institute of Family Education, said most SAR parents are concerned about their children's academic performance, but stressed that parent-child relationships should not solely be about academic pursuits, as this could result in children being reluctant to open up to their parents.

"Stay-at-home parents usually face stress from children and household chores. Therefore, they can join stress-reducing activities, such as dancing and calligraphy classes, to relieve stress and expand their social circle," Tik said.

He recommended parents spend at least 30 minutes engaging in heart-to-heart talks with their children to establish a strong bond, and suggested they arrange time to exercise with their children.

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