SINGAPORE — More than eight in 10 parents with teenage children or younger were satisfied with their relationship with their children as well as with their family life, showed the first survey on the state of family life conducted by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) last year.
It found that 85 per cent of respondents were generally satisfied with their family life, while 86 per cent were satisfied with their relationship with their children.
These figures were shared yesterday by Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development, Ms Low Yen Ling, at the closing of the 10th Singapore Parenting Congress.
The survey was conducted from July to September last year and involved door-to-door interviews with 2,005 respondents. The findings were based on data from 633 respondents with at least one child aged seven to 18 years old.
While she said she was heartened by the findings, Ms Low noted that there is always room for improvement.
Singling out the use of technology as a platform for parent-child communication, she said despite fears of a digital divide or its distractions, parents can make technology work for them by engaging with their children online, although personal contact remains important.
“Technology has many benefits. However, we all know technology is not a substitute for face-to-face interaction,” said Ms Low.
The MSF’s findings come after the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS), in its release of suicide figures last week showing a greater proportion of youth suicides, pointed to a “general disconnect” youths felt with their families and a lack of effective communication between family members.
Yesterday, family counsellors and advocates TODAY interviewed said the figures do not suggest a gap in parents’ understanding of their children. But they acknowledged that there are still conflict areas and noted that more studies need to be done to assess how children feel.
Mr Chong Ee Jay, assistant manager of TOUCH Cyber Wellness, said the results paint a good representation of family life in general. But when it comes to technology, parents still struggle in areas such as supervision and setting boundaries, which creates tension, he noted.
While parents have adopted technology for communication purposes, children have adapted and are actively engaging in other channels. “That is why there is a mismatch … (and) tension at home because parents and children do not understand where (both parties) are coming from,” said Mr Chong.
Mr Ching Wei Hong, chairman of the Families for Life Council, said most children are “okay” with their parents and find security in them. But a lot of the time, parents have high expectations and often push children too hard, he said.
Parents also should not use social media to track their kids, so their children will not see their efforts as intrusive, he added.
Sengkang MP He Ting Ru said she was dismayed that many Singaporeans are living with racism. "There is no place in our society for racism, sexism or xenophobia," she wrote.