How Not Spending Time With Your Child Affects Them

Today’s families are busier than ever. In many families, both parents work outside of the home while trying to maintain some semblance of organization inside the home. And parents aren’t the only ones with packed schedules; on a given night, kids are routinely being shuttled to sports practices, music and dance lessons and a host of other after-school activities. With so much going on, it’s easy to get wrapped up in handling life’s day-to-day challenges and lose sight of spending quality time with your child. While you may feel like there are never enough hours in the day to get things done, not spending enough quality time with your child can have detrimental effects on his bond with you, his well being and his school success.

Breakdown in Family Bonds and Communication

It’s no secret that communicating with your children is important. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the simple art of listening to your child is one of the most basic, but most effective, ways to prevent your child from engaging in risky behavior. Moreover, reports from the Office of National Drug Control Strategy indicate that strong family bonds can prevent children from developing drug problems. Whether he’s 2 or 12, if you feel that you’re not spending enough one-on-one time bonding with your child, try enhancing the time that you do have by simply talking and listening to him when you’re cooking, eating dinner, shopping or driving.

Emotional Distress

happy family spending time together on a summer day

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According to research reported on, the children of parents who are frequently absent throughout the day -- such as when they wake up, come home from school, eat dinner and go to bed -- are more likely to feel emotionally distressed than their peers. In addition, reports that there is a strong correlation between parental involvement and a child’s self-esteem and “internal controls,” which points to a child’s ability to regulate his emotions. In other words, involved parents equate to happier kids.


Spending quality time with your child not only impacts his emotional and social well-being, but also can impact his long-term academic success. Not surprisingly, children whose parents are involved in their daily lives tend to perform better academically than their counterparts. They are more likely to graduate or earn a GED. Why? Because parents who spend time with their children tend to read to their children more when they’re young, help them more with their homework and have higher academic expectations -- all of which influence a child’s desire and ability to succeed in school.

Risky Behaviors

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Not spending enough time with your child can lead to a multitude of detrimental behavioral problems. For instance, according to research reported on, children who do not have strong bonds with their parents are more likely to become involved in risky, antisocial behaviors, including aggression and delinquency, unsafe sexual relationships and teen pregnancy and tobacco and illegal drug use. Many of these behaviors can be prevented through the simple act of spending time with your child.