Children talking to fathers more and arguing with mothers less

Family|March 27th 2018

Children aged between ten and 15 years now spend “significantly” less time arguing with their mothers and talking to their fathers, according to new statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Just under 26 per cent of children said they argued more than once a week with their mothers in 2015-16, down from more than 30 per cent in 2009-10. Meanwhile, the proportion of children who reported talking to their fathers about important issues more than once a week jumped sharply over the same time period, from 38 per cent in 2009-10 to more than 45.2 per cent in 2015-16.

The ONS notes that this increase in quality father time has been primarily driven by girls. The proportion of those spending longer with Dad has increased from 35.7 per cent to 45.6 per cent, so that the time boys and girls spend with their fathers is now roughly equal.

The ONS also looked at children’s relationship with their friends, detecting another “significant” change. In 2015, a decisive 85.8 per cent of 10 to 15 year-olds said they were very or extremely happy with their friends. But by last year this had fallen to only 80.5 per cent, with most of the change this time driven by boys.

There was also a predictable jump in the minority of youngsters who said they used social networking for more than three hours on regular school days: the number increased from 8.6 per cent in 2010-11 to 12.8 per cent in 2015. Girls were more than twice as likely as boys to spend long periods on social media.

ONS Assistant Director Dawn Snape said:

“The quality of relationships has a very significant impact on our sense of personal well-being and children are no exception. This is why we look at their relationships with parents and friends. It’s encouraging to see that among girls especially, family relationships are improving.”

She added:

“These findings can help to inform initiatives that are being adopted to reduce loneliness across all age groups in society.”

You can read Children’s well-being and social relationships, UK: 2018 here.

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