Parents Lavish Gifts On Children To Compensate For Lack Of Quality Time

Guilt-ridden working parents are splashing out over pounds 100 a month on treats for their children to compensate for a lack of quality time with them, a new report shows. One in five working parents in the UK admit to lavishing extra cash on their kids because they feel so guilty at spending so much time at work.

Research from Skipton Building Society reveals that almost a quarter of these working mums and dads with primary aged kids shell out at least pounds 1,200 a year on their offspring to make up for lost family hours – equal to nearly five per cent of the average annual income in the UK.

With the average Briton now working 42.4 hours per week, the findings highlight that 23 per cent of the working parents surveyed spend as little as ten hours per working week with their child – with the figure rising to over a third (35 per cent) amongst dads.

As a result, three fifths (60 per cent) confess that they don’t feel they spend enough one-to-one hours with their youngster, with nearly a third (32 per cent) of parents admitting they feel guilty about the situation.

Working dads are particularly affected by guilt – over one in five (21 per cent) fathers think it is only fair to give their offspring treats to compensate, compared to 17 per cent of women.

Nearly half (43 per cent) of dads also said they often feel as if they are missing out on their child’s life because of their job with 29per cent of men even claiming that, if they could afford it, they would opt to be a stay-at-home parent.

Of those who fear they are missing out on time with their child, many do not arrive home from work until late (51 per cent), or when they do get home they have other jobs to do during the evening (20 per cent).

Impacting on their parent-child time, 14per cent say they end up putting their child to bed as soon as they get home with eight per cent saying their offspring is already asleep by the time they walk through the door.

The pay off for kids sees 51 per cent of parents making up lost time by spending more on family outings, whilst two fifths (40 per cent) splash out on little gifts for their child, and a quarter treat the family to eating out, and 8per cent admit they dig deep and buy expensive presents.

This spending is offset by some sign of financial prudence however – 86per cent have a savings account for their young child, although, nearly half (45per cent) have banked only pounds 400.

Jennifer Holloway, head of media relations at Skipton Building Society said, “For any parent, doing the best for their child often comes at a cost – either in time or money. For those who can’t afford the former, the latter can often seem like the best way to pay penance for spending so much time at work.

“However, mothers and fathers should consider whether spending cash on gifts and treats – sometimes thousands of pounds – is the best course of action. Even if it does alleviate the guilt, saving this money up over the longer-term and using it for something that will really make a difference to a child, such as help with university fees, could prove a much better way of showing parental love.”