'What I found to be very interesting is that maternal figures played a role in how adolescents made decisions.'

London – Children are growing up wishing they could spend more time with their parents, a survey suggests.

Six in 10 youngsters thought their parents spent too much time away from the family.

One in eight parents admitted they gave their children their full attention only “once or twice a week”. The most hard-pressed said they were never able to focus just on their child.

The Family and Parenting Institute, which commissioned the survey, said the findings showed the extent to which pressures on parents’ time affect family life.

The charity said British parents work longer hours than those in most European countries and were adding to their workload due to economic uncertainty.

Research firm Childwise interviewed 255 children aged six to 10 and one parent of each child.

It found that 59 percent of youngsters wished they could spend more time with their mother or father – rising to three-quarters in London and the south of England. Only four in 10 (42 percent) wanted to spend more time with their friends and even fewer, 7 percent, wanted to do more with their siblings.

When parents were asked how much time they spent with their children, just over half (52 percent) said they were able to give their child their full attention at least once every day.

But 13 percent of parents could devote their full attention only “once or twice a week” and 2 percent never could. Parents of the oldest children, 10-year-olds, were most likely to admit being unable to give their full attention to their child more than once or twice weekly. One in five (18 percent) said this was the level of one-to-one interaction with their children.

Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of parents believed that the quality of time spent with children was more important than the actual amount.

Despite these findings, the survey suggested that parents today spend more time with their children than their own mothers and fathers did.

Dr Katherine Rake, the chief executive of the Family and Parenting Institute, said: “Evidence shows children need dedicated time with their parents if they are to realise their potential. It is often the simple things that make a lasting impression on children.”

She called for parents to be given greater flexible working rights. – Daily Mail