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Kids Want ‘Fun’ Quality Time

July 17, 2002

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ATLANTA (AP) _ Working moms and dads and their children talk a lot about the need for more ``quality time″ together. But parents often don’t agree with the kids on what constitutes quality time, a study says.

A quarter of the children in the national survey said a family vacation is one of the top three ways to spend quality time with their parents. Only 11 percent of parents agreed.

More than one-third of parents said helping with schoolwork and watching their kids’ after-school activities counted as meaningful time together. Just 15 percent of the children agreed.

The two generations must bridge the gap to develop stronger, healthier relationships, said the authors of the study, conducted by the Atlanta-based Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

``Kids are saying that they want the act to be more fun-focused, more interactive,″ said Roxanne Spillett, the organization’s president. ``Fun is an essential ingredient.″

She said virtually any time parents and kids spend together is good time, but youngsters are likely to draw more from the experience if they see their parents having fun, too.

The findings are the result of 1,000 telephone interviews with parents and children _ members of the same families _ conducted last month. The children were 10 to 14 years old.

The study found 52 percent of parents admit they do not spend enough quality time with their children, and 57 percent of children believe their parents’ work gets in the way of meaningful time.

``There’s a lot of roadblocks to it,″ said Kip Bowen, a counselor with Family Counseling Service of Tuscaloosa, Ala. ``Work seems to be more and more important. And we’ve got the TV, the Nintendo as the baby sitter now.″

Ethan Feldman, a 12-year-old from Evanston, Ill., said he considers himself one of the lucky ones. His mother does not work outside the home, and his father is usually home nights and weekends.

``With my dad I do a lot of board games, baseball stuff and other sports,″ Ethan said. ``With my mom, we mostly talk and do a little bit of cooking stuff.″

``Not that many families have it like we do,″ he said.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: AP National Writer Martha Irvine contributed to this story.

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On the Net:

Boys & Girls Clubs: http://www.bgca.org

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