How Parenting Today Is Different, and Harder 養小孩的方式不同於往、更加不易
文/Claire Cain Miller
American parents are finding the job much harder than they expected, found a large new survey by Pew Research Center. And it's not just how they feel — parenting is more demanding than it used to be, research has found.
Eight in 10 parents of children younger than 18 find it to be enjoyable and rewarding most or all of the time, according to the new survey of 3,757 U.S. parents in that group. But two-thirds also say it's harder than they thought it would be — including about one-third of mothers who say it's a lot harder than they expected.
In the Pew survey, just one-third of mothers said being a mother was the most important aspect of who they were as a person. Yet they also said they felt judged for their parenting, more than fathers were, and spent significantly more time than fathers on the physical and emotional labor of parenting.
Low-income parents, and those who are Black or Hispanic, were most likely to say that being a parent was the most important thing about them. They were also more likely to say that parenting was enjoyable or rewarding most of the time.
Also, research has found, today's parents feel intense pressure to constantly teach and interact with their children,
Often, Pew found, this means more emotional engagement. Nearly half said they were raising their children differently than they had been raised by their own parents. That meant less yelling, and more verbal affirmations, outward displays of affection and honest conversations about hard topics.
Another way parenting has become harder, according to the survey, is a new set of concerns about children's well-being. Three-quarters of parents said they were worried their children would struggle with anxiety or depression, or face bullying.
Third of School Year Lost, Study of Pandemic Finds 全球研究：疫情讓學生損失三分之一學年
Children experienced learning deficits during the COVID pandemic that amounted to about one-third of a school year's worth of knowledge and skills, according to a new global analysis, and had not recovered from those losses more than two years later.
Learning delays and regressions were most severe in developing countries and among students from low-income backgrounds, researchers said, worsening existing disparities and threatening to follow children into higher education and the workforce.
The analysis, published in the journal Nature Human Behavior and drawing on data from 15 countries, provided the most comprehensive account to date of the academic hardships wrought by the pandemic. The findings suggest that the challenges of remote learning — coupled with other stressors that plagued children and families throughout the pandemic — were not rectified when school doors reopened.
"In order to recover what was lost, we have to be doing more than just getting back to normal," said Bastian Betthäuser, a researcher at the Center for Research on Social Inequalities at Sciences Po in Paris, who was a co-author on the review. He urged officials worldwide to provide intensive summer programs and tutoring initiatives that target poorer students who fell furthest behind.
In the United States, one study showed that the average public elementary or middle school student lost the equivalent of a half-year of learning in math, and 6% of students were in districts that lost more than a full year. Standardized math test scores in 2022, when compared with those in 2019, showed the largest drop ever recorded in the three decades since the exam was first administered.
The findings challenge the perceptions of many parents, almost half of whom said in 2022 surveys that they did not believe their children had suffered any achievement loss during the pandemic, and only 9% of whom expressed concern about whether their children would catch up.
A separate review of test scores from 2.1 million students in the United States highlighted the impacts of economic disparity. Students at schools in communities with high poverty levels spent more of the 2020-21 school year learning remotely than those at schools in wealthier communities did, and students in poorer schools experienced steeper declines in performance when they were remote.