Dads tak­ing the back seat in par­ent­ing

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By LI XUEQING in Shang­hai

lixueqing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Men are now less en­gaged with their chil­dren’s growth and ed­u­ca­tion as com­pared to 10 years ago, ac­cord­ing to re­sults of a re­cent sur­vey on fam­ily ed­u­ca­tion in Shang­hai.

Jointly con­ducted by Shang­hai Acad­emy of So­cial Sci­ences and Shang­hai’s Women As­so­ci­a­tion, the sur­vey polled 2,400 par­ents in Shang­hai who have chil­dren aged be­tween three and 15.

Only 9.6 per­cent of the fa­thers polled play a big role in tak­ing care of their chil­dren, down 2.6 per­cent from 2005, while less than 24 per­cent of them are in charge of their chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion, down from 30.2 per­cent 10 years ago. With re­gard to moth­ers, 47.2 per­cent of them shoul­der the pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity of ed­u­cat­ing the chil­dren, a more than two-fold in­crease as com­pared to 2005.

“Many fa­thers who were born in the 1980s are the only child in their fam­ily. They are in­ex­pe­ri­enced in tak­ing care of a baby and some are still chil­dren­them­selves,”saidLiZi­hua, who com­plained that her hus­band rarely of­fers a help­ing hand when it comes to tak­ing care of their eight-month-old daugh­ter.

Wu Zhao­hong, a fa­ther of a one-year-old boy, dis­agreed that all men are re­luc­tant to play a big­ger part in rais­ing their chil­dren.

“Many dads who were born in the 1980s are very will­ing to take care of the ba­bies. They are more likely to split the work, such as feed­ing the baby and chang­ing di­a­pers, with their wives. Some of the dads I know spend even more time­with­theirkid­sthan­moms do,” said Wu.

How­ever, he ad­mit­ted that fa­thers are more likely to let the moth­ers as­sume con­trol of rais­ing their chil­dren when the kids are older, cit­ing ca­reer com­mit­ments.

“Gen­er­ally speak­ing, men have bet­ter ca­reer prospects than women of the same age. When chil­dren need the most sup­port from the par­ents to im­prove their per­for­mances at school, fa­thers in their 40s are usu­ally at the crit­i­cal mo­ment of their ca­reers. Then, it’s of­ten the moth­ers who give up their ca­reers par­tially or en­tirely to help with the home­work or to take their kids to ex­tracur­ric­u­lar classes,” he said.

The sur­vey re­sults, which were re­leased at the 10th Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Fo­rum for Chil­dren, also showed that nearly two thirds of par­ents be­lieve that the pri­mary task of fam­ily ed­u­ca­tion was to im­part moral val­ues. About the same num­ber of par­ents think that good phys­i­cal health should be the defin­ing stan­dard for suc­cess­ful fam­ily ed­u­ca­tion.

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