The survey, in which 4,700 couples from cities across India were interviewed, shows that only 4% working fathers spend time with their kids or take responsibilities like supervising homework. The remaining 96% cite professional pressures and other reasons to play a minimal role in the upbringing of their children.
Of these, 7% respondents said they help their children with homework occasionally, 24% said they help only when their children ask for it while 65% said they never help at all. The trend obviously means that more and more children are being sent to coaching centres and creches etc, eating into the family's budget.
On the other hand, 65% working mothers help their children with homework, finish school projects for them, read with them and also play with them. The interesting point here though is that despite the high level of participation in all other activities — 83% do school projects for their children and 79% read with them or help them in activities like cooking, drawing and painting — only 20% mothers actually play a sport with their children.
In a telling statement of how gender roles have not changed at all, it is usually the male parent who takes part in active physical sports with the child. The survey also found that in two-parent families, the father's involvement in the child's school has a distinct, independent and positive influence on the child's performance. Children do better in school, are more likely to participate in extracurricular activities and enjoy school more if their fathers are involved in the school.
The benefits go beyond school and children who have fathers who are highly involved in their upbringing include better relationships in adolescence, have fewer behavioural problems, better psychosocial development and are less likely to take to substance abuse. The involvement level, predictably is at par in case of single parent families — with 46% single fathers and 48% single mothers being highly involved in the child's school. In fact, both fathers and mothers in single- parent families have the same level of involvement in school as mothers in two-parent families.
The survey covered all Metro cities and also smaller ones like Lucknow, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune, Udaipur, Shimla, Cochin, Chennai etc.