Mothers can’t manage two hours peace (UK)

UK Telegraph 18 November 2007
…According to a poll of 1,600 mothers carried out for The Sunday Telegraph. The survey reveals that many are driven by guilt and fear. A large number are also confused by the contrasting demands of allowing their children greater freedom and keeping them safe. Almost half of those surveyed felt guilty about the amount of time their children spent watching television, with 41 per cent believing more time should be spent playing outdoors. Yet, there was also a crippling level of anxiety about road safety, perhaps helping to explain why youngsters spent more time indoors than ever before: mothers cited traffic as the number-one threat to their child.The fears surrounding childhood were far-reaching: along with drugs and violent crime, mothers were anxious about the impact of more global issues – climate change and terrorism were rated as a greater threat to children than the risk posed by paedophiles or abduction. Added to this was yet another source of guilt: 43 per cent of mothers, both working and non-working, believed that they were not spending enough time with their children. Instead, many children were involved in a whirlwind of “structured” activity. One in 10 was signed up to an out-of-school activity every day of the week, while two-thirds of over-fives took part in two or more classes weekly. Even amid their concern about not spending enough time with their children, more than a third of mothers were worried that they should be providing yet more clubs to keep their children stimulated. The survey, of members of the internet site Mumsnet, revealed that food was another emotive issue, with 26 per cent of mothers worried that their children did not have a healthy enough diet. Perhaps that isn’t surprising: almost twice as many children are obese now, compared with a decade ago. With one in seven under-10s and one quarter of Britons aged between 11 and 25 officially obese, many mothers are aware that the statistics get more depressing every year.

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