Parents forced to cut back on groceries

Parents forced to cut back on groceries

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Almost nine out of ten parents have had to cut back on groceries, takeaway and holidays because of cost-of-living pressures.

The Triple P – Positive Parenting Program shared the results of its largest ever parenting survey, which reveals the stark reality of cost-of-living pressures, emotional distress, sleep deprivation and concerns about social media and screen time on their kids’ mental health and wellbeing.

A total of 8,304 parents and carers responded to the national survey.

Over half of them have had to cut back on grocery purchases, 81 percent have had to cut back on eating out and takeaway, 70 percent on entertainment and 69 percent have had to cull holidays.

“This is where we can clearly see the impact this pressure can have on family relationships, with 42 percent of parents reporting the rising cost of living has impacted their ability to be a calm, loving partner or parent,” UQ Clinical Psychologist Professor Matt Sanders said.

“The results expose what’s really going on for families in Australia right now, set against a backdrop of compounding financial pressure, an increase in kids’ mental health and wellbeing concerns, and the growing issue of school refusal.

“It shows how complex the journey of parenting can be, and how critical it is to provide families who are at the coalface of these issues with the evidence-based support they need to look after themselves as parents and feel confident in their parenting skills so they can raise happy and resilient children.”

The survey also revealed that almost half of all parents are dissatisfied with the amount of time that they spend on self-care activities, such as physical exercise, socialising or doing an activity they enjoy.

Nearly two-thirds of parents experience feelings of guilt at least once a week related to the time they spend with their child.

The majority (83 percent) of parents with kids aged under five years feel sleep deprived at least once a week. Additionally, the survey found that over eight out of ten parents find themselves yelling or raising their voice at their children.

“Self-care, self-compassion, and sleep are crucial skills that help parents to feel calmer, and to confidently navigate the ups and downs of raising kids. But we know it’s easier said than done. What’s important is parents know they are not alone in these struggles, that looking after themselves is critical, and it’s okay to seek help and support,” Professor Sanders said.

Social media and screen time also dominated parents’ worries, with the majority expressing concerns about the negative effects on their children.

Almost all parents (85 percent) who allow their kids to use social media have conflicts with them over their use of social media platforms, with 43 percent reporting that they do so at least once a week.

There is also high levels of concern (79 percent) amongst parents regarding the impact of social media platforms on their child’s mental health and wellbeing.

“These results highlight just how important it is for parents and carers to have the knowledge, skills, and strategies to positively guide their children’s use of social media and screens. It’s normal to feel in the dark about what to do, but having open and honest conversations with children about technology early and often can help,” Professor Sanders said.

Despite the concerns, the survey also revealed that 8 out of 10 parents are confident their child will have a better life than them.

“What we know is that parents and carers are pervasive agents of change in a child’s life. Parents and caregivers are critical to nurturing a positive trajectory for kids, so we need to support them with the skills they need to do this,” Professor Sanders said.