Does the Time Spent together by a Mother and their Children matter?


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Does the Time Spent together by a Mother and their Children matter?

The article “Does the Amount of Time Mothers Spend With Children or Adolescents Matter?” by Milkie, Nomaguchi, and Denny (2015) seeks to establish whether there is any effect that is induced as a result of time spent by mother and child or adolescent together. The study also sought to prove that the more time mother and child spend together, the more positive the child will be behaviorally, emotionally, and academically. 

To carry out the research, the study employed longitudinal survey techniques to study families selected for the study. A total of 1610 children (3-11 years old) and 778 adolescents were involved in the study. Families to be studied were selected on some specified criterion. To qualify for the study, the mother-child relationship was supposed to be strictly biological. Children had to willingly accept to participate in the study. The children and adolescents had to be able to complete weekend diaries with their mothers. Notably, the sample selected in this case is large enough to be regarded as representative of the entire population.

The dependent variables were the developmental outcomes of both children and adolescents. The developmental outcomes in this case were behavior, emotional problems, and performance in academics. Risky behavior was also assessed in adolescents. Mothers were requested to respond on the behavior of the child and had to fill a scale with parameters like lies told, too much arguing, concentration abilities, bullying, cruelty, and restlessness among others. Academic performance was measured using the Woodcock-Johnson subtest. The independent variable was the accessible time spent with the parent in question. Accessible time was the time a mother spent with a child doing some activity. The selection of variables, the parameters involved and the tests used were well selected and were likely to help determine the impact of parents spending time together with their parents. However, there was a likelihood that the parents would lie about their children’s abilities and demeanors as a way of protecting their methods of bringing up children.

The study found that the time spent by mothers and their children did not matter. The effect on behavior was found to be very small. With adolescents, it was different. The time spent by mothers with their adolescent kids had a significant and direct effect on behavior. The reasons for the conclusion were found to be motivation, avoidance of risky behaviors, the boosting of their self-esteem as a result of children getting the attention of their parents, and fear of breaking the bond with their parents due to poor behaviors. However, it should be noted that this contradicts previous studies. According to Craig (2016), Schulte (2015), Family Facts (n.d.), and Fernandez (2012), the time spent with children had a significant effect on the behavioural tendencies of their children. Even then, it was noted that the time was more importantly spent on quality improving activities. Moreover, there is a likelihood that there is a difference in spending time with adolescents compared to younger children.

The study did not mention any ethical issues but it was expected that the consent of the parents be sought after. The families participating in the study were also expected to fill in the diaries with honesty. From this research it would be necessary to identify if fathers had the same effect on their children as much as the mothers did. It is also important to note that this study does not agree with other studies on the same phenomenon.


Craig, L. (2016). Contemporary motherhood: The impact of children on adult time. Routledge.

Family Facts,. A Wise Investment: Benefits from Families Spending Time Together. Family Facts. Retrieved 7 September 2016, from

Fernandez, G. (2012). Importance of Family Time on Kids Mental Health and Adjustment to Life –. Child Development Institute. Retrieved 7 September 2016, from

Milkie, M. A., Nomaguchi, K. M., & Denny, K. E. (2015). Does the Amount of Time Mothers Spend With Children or Adolescents Matter? Journal of Marriage and Family, 77(2), 355-372.

Schulte, B. (2015). Making time for kids? Study says quality trumps quantity.. Washington Post. Retrieved 7 September 2016, from

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