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“My Sweet Home” Parent-child Communication Survey Conditionality and Hectic Lifestyle Obstacles to Quality Bonding Parents and Children See Family Time Differently “Five Fruit-themed Communication Tips” Help Improve Parent-child Bonding

June 18, 2018 Lifestyle No Comments Email Email

With Father’s Day drawing close, Chinachem Group and Hong Kong Lutheran Social Service Lutheran Church-Hong Kong Synod released the results of its “My Sweet Home” Parent-child Communication Survey. The results show that parents often find it difficult to express affection to their children due to increasing conditionality and hectic lifestyle. Moreover, due to divergent perspectives on “family time”, children often feel they receive inadequate affection. The two organizations behind the survey urge parents to face the issue and follow the “Five Fruit-themed Communication Tips” to improve parent-child relationship.

“My Sweet Home” Parent-child Communication Survey was conducted between March and April this year. A total of 1,800 completed questionnaires were received from local parents and their children studying between primary four and primary six, with these two groups of respondents being equal in numberResults show that parents have difficulty expressing affection to their children, the major causes being their lack of motivation as a result of hectic work life (52%), their children’s incapability of meeting their expectations (45%), and their reticent personality (33%). More than half of the child respondents (51%) also think that their inability to meet expectations is what causes their parents’ withholding of affection. It is well known that the average work week in Hong Kong is the longest in the world. Given rising cost of living, the percentage of households with both parents working has been increasing. While hectic work life has long hindered parent-child bonding, the survey has revealed a worrying trend of conditionality.

Zenobia Ng, a veteran social worker and office-in-charge of Lutheran Family Life Education Unit (Shatin), noted that most Hong Kong parents loved and cared for their children, but many of them were perplexed when it came to disciplining and teaching their children. As a result, they often felt powerless when they tried to express their affection. “When there is insufficient time for parent-child interaction and communication, parents often use it as a quick and effective way to get their children to meet their demands. For example, it is found in our survey that some parents would dangle their affection to push for better performance from the children. To make their parents happy, most children would work hard to keep up a positive image even if it involved repressing their feelings. Whenever they falter, they are afraid of losing their parents’ affection. The additional stress can exacerbate their poor performance, readily resulting in a vicious cycle that can negatively affect long-term parent-child relationship,” said Ng.

Ng suggested that parents in Hong Kong should sit down with their children to review what “affection” means and learn to appreciate why love should be unconditional, instead of contingent upon performance or achievements. When disciplining and teaching their children, parents should refrain from saying anything that implies conditions and threats, such as “I won’t love you if you don’t obey and follow my instructions” or “I will no longer keep you with me if you get another black mark from your teacher”. Ng added, “I believe most parents would never really do this to their children. However, great harm can result if their children take their words to heart. For example, some students in our survey noted that they would receive affection from their parents only if they had performed well. Otherwise, they could be heavily punished. As such, whenever children do not perform well or their academic results worsen, I recommend parents should not scold or punish them immediately. Instead, try to seize the opportunity to show your concern, understand the reasons for their regression and the difficulties facing them, and offer timely assistance. Parents can also use positive reinforcement by devising a reward scheme, with quality parent-child activities being the award when the children have met the goals and expectations. By engaging themselves in parent-child activities, parents can make use of the opportunity to build and maintain healthy parent-child relationship.”

The results also show that 65% of parent respondents would express their affection to their children by spending time together with them, but only 50% of children respondents think that they have indeed received their parents’ affection in this sense. The discrepancy indicates that “family time” may mean different things to parents and their children. “In recent years, we have observed that parents are glued to their mobile phones, whether at home or out with the family, resulting in inadequate communication and interaction with their children. This is neither ‘family time’, nor the kind of interaction children expect from parents. Some students remarked in the questionnaires that they would like their parents to really dine with, talk to, and play games with them. This shows that children do wish to engage better in quality interaction with their parents, who are often physically present but emotionally absent,” said Ng.

Ng encouraged parents to learn and hone their skills of interacting with their children so that the latter might receive greater care and affection. She said, “Hong Kong Lutheran Social Service Lutheran Church-Hong Kong Synod developed the ‘Five Fruit-themed Communication Tips’, which emphasize love as the foundation of parent-child communication and encourage the building of parent-child relationship with unconditional love. With ‘love sharing’, ‘love hugging’, ‘love praising’, ‘love respecting’, and ‘love self-discipline’, parent-child interaction skills can be improved. For example, no matter how hectic it is for the parents, they can still try to make time for their children and share their daily encounters and interesting stories with each other. Parents should listen attentively to their children, praise them for their good performances when appropriate, evaluate their limitations with them, and give them substantial encouragement. Moreover, parents can act out and make their children feel their care, support, acceptance, and encouragement with hugging, kissing, and patting on the shoulders.”

“My Sweet Home” Photo and Video Contest is now open for application

 To promote parent-child bonding and the message of “My Sweet Home”, Chinachem Group will be holding “My Sweet Home” Photo and Video Contest, inviting the public to capture the sweet moments that best represent the idea of “home” and to join forces in spreading the spirit of loving one’s home. The contest accepts entries under 8 categories, including open, parent-child, secondary school, and staff for both photo and video streams. 3 awards will be set up for each category, including the “Best Photo”, “Best Video”, and “Most Viral”. There will be over 80 other prizes that are worth a total of HK$80,000. “Best Photo” and “Best Video” winners can take home HK$5,000 in cash and one-night stay at L’Hotel. Online application and voting* are now open. The deadline for both application and voting is 15 July 2018. Results will be released on 15 August 2018. For more details about the contest and application, please visit our website:www.chinachemmysweethome.com.

 *To vote for the “Most Viral” Award

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