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The actual number of minutes spent with the child is immaterial; what counts in this case is not the quantity, but the quality of the time parent and child spend together.

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A recent survey conducted in Israel disclosed that the average parent devotes only fourteen and a half minutes a day to his child. It is hard to believe, but these were the results of the survey: out of twenty-four hours, the average parent has only fourteen and a half minutes for each child.

It is reasonable to assume that if the parent were to take himself to task to double or triple the amount of time, he will succeed at first. Father and son will play a game together, jog, chat, perhaps devote some time to getting junior's homework out of the way. Maybe there is some skill the father wants to teach his son, and decides that now is the time to do it.

Unfortunately, the chances are that it won't be long until the parent starts slipping back to his old habits. A minute is shaved off the parent-child session here, and three minutes there. The next survey might discover that the average parent spends only fourteen and a half minutes with each child.

Appalled? Understandably so. Let us put things in perspective. This survey was dealing with what is termed “quality time” – those minutes spent with a child with a conscious decision that nothing else will occupy the parent's time or thoughts at the time. The father or mother puts everything else on hold. As a result, the child senses that he is at the center of his parent's world, and the bond between the two grows stronger. The actual number of minutes spent with the child is immaterial; what counts in this case is not the quantity, but the quality of time parent and child spend together.

Quality time is a function of a correctly balanced list of priorities. If his children are at the top of the list, the parent is thinking straight. His sense of values is on tune. His list of priorities is valid, and his family will always come first. Such a parent puts his heart and soul into nurturing his children. He will make every effort to set aside time for them, and they sense how important it is to spend time together. There's no fooling a child; he has an inborn sensor that reacts positively to sincere warmth, respect and affection – commodities measured not by their quantity, but by their quality.

Apart from survey-takers, who, then, takes note of the length of time parents and children spend together? Only those parents for whom children are not at the top of the list. These are the parents whose values are confused or warped. Indeed, if such a person devotes only fourteen and a half minutes to his child, perhaps he should consider giving up his job.


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