That sound of teeth gnashing might be coming from a mom or dad near you as modern parenting takes its toll.
The proportion of parents reporting aggravation has “substantially” increased since the late 1990s, according to a new report from Child Trends, a nonprofit that researches the well-being of kids.
Just 20 percent of parents said they felt aggravated in 1997, compared to 35 percent of parents in 2007. That number has plateaued in the years since, the report found. The findings are based on data collected from the National Survey of America’s Families and the National Survey of Children’s Health.
There’s no single, simple explanation as to why parents are feeling more tense, but stresses related to busy schedules, work and modern technology are likely factors, said David Murphey, a senior research scientist at Child Trends and one of the authors of the report.
“The American family has changed in some significant ways in recent years… we have more single parents, we have more dual-income families,” Murphey told TODAY Moms.
“Parents feel distracted from the job of parenting by the need to constantly be checking on their email, or other electronic devices, as well as monitor their kids’ use of these devices.”
Shell Roush, a mom of three boys who lives in Jacksonville, N.C., thinks parents are doing more and are in a bigger rush now than ever before. She finds herself bombarded by social media posts about all the activities other people’s kids participate in and their accomplishments.
“There’s much more noise out there telling parents what all we should be doing,” Roush said.
“Pinterest and blogs show you millions of different projects you could be doing with your kids or fancy meals you could be making… If you let the pressure of trying to keep up with other families get to you, aggravation is a normal reaction since none of us can actually do it all.”
Fifteen years ago, the only way to know what other families were up to was to actually talk to them at school, the playground or on the phone, Roush pointed out. But now, you just see everyone’s highlights on Facebook.
Amy McCready, who has been coaching parents for a decade, said the report’s findings reflect what she sees in her practice: Families are more frustrated with the job of parenting than in the past.
“Parents are feeling less in control — I think that’s a big piece of it,” said McCready, a TODAY Moms contributor and author of “If I Have to Tell You One More Time…”
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