HONG KONG SAR -
- 7 June 2022 - Under the pandemic, has family planning between couples been affected as changes arise all the time? Hong Kong parents and kids spend longer time at home together, do parents have enough communication on childcare? Mead Johnson Nutrition Hong Kong ("Mead Johnson") earlier surveyed more than 1,000 individuals who plan to get married or married
, looked to understand more about childcare and family planning among couples in Hong Kong.
Happy Parenting Index Survey
found that 70% of respondents expected to have children, and the majority of the parent respondents (90%) believed raising children could bring happiness and fulfillment to family life.
Raising children offers an essential source of happiness despite difficulties
Parenting difficulties are scaring away many couples from having children of their own. More than 85% of the respondents were concerned about the financial burden of raising a child (86%); while nearly 70% deemed that raising a child will bring pressure (69%). Despite the realistic difficulties, nearly 70% expected to have kids (66%) with most wanted to have at least 1 to 2 children.
Exaggerated fears arise before parenthood while parents highlight the joy behind
The survey also highlighted that parents value the joy of parenthood as compared to couples without a child. About 40% of respondents without children worry about the impact of parenting on their careers (43%), while only 27% of parents have the same concerns. An expectation gap exists and indicates that parenting may not be as difficult as imagined. Nearly 90% of parents believed that their children could bring a more fulfilling life (89%), compared with about 50% of those without children (53%).
Dr. Gregory Mak, a psychiatric specialist,
pointed out that couples planning for their future families may be less inclined to have children because of the anticipated or imagined challenges. When planning to have children, he recommended that couples consider different perspectives, such as asking friends who have children for advice, and avoiding overthinking the challenges.
Mr. Cyril Chung, a registered social worker
, suggested couples remain open-minded in the course of discussion, and set a limit for overthinking the parenting challenges.
Bringing a child to birth can be an amazing experience, but it is not an easy process. Those planning to have children felt that they would have to spend 8.6 months on average to prepare for pregnancy both mentally and physically. But the survey also showed that over 40% of male respondents were unaware of the preparation time for pregnancy (42%), highlighting a clear gap between females' and males' understanding of pregnancy preparation, which might result in conflicts between couples.
recommended couples have transparent communication before getting married in order to match their expectations. Their thoughts may change from time to time, and therefore effective communication is important to avoid possible conflicts. Check out the
"Family Planning Tips"
from Mr. Chung to help couples navigate the arduous task of communicating and preparing to have children.
Experts highlight the need for encouragement as two-thirds of parents argue over childcare work division
The pandemic is making childcare more strenuous, creating situations that could trigger conflicts between parents more often. The survey found that two in three parents have argued with their partner over the division of labor for childcare (67%). Half reported that the conflict significantly impacted their relationships (50%).
Such conflicts may arise from childcare work division between parents. While most parent respondents expected childcare duties to be evenly split, more than 75% of surveyed mothers felt they contributed more (76%), with almost 60% of fathers in the survey agreed (58%). Despite the discrepancy between expectations and practices, more than 80 percent of respondents (83%) indicated their spouses could motivate them to contribute more to parenting.
, suggested that parents should assign roles based on their strengths, and express gratitude to improve the relationship. Individuals are often too shy to express appreciation in Chinese culture. Genuine expressions of appreciation, however, are highly effective reinforcements. Check out the "3 Missions to Childcare Work"
for the secret recipe to a happy family suggested by Dr. Mak.
"We are committed to nurturing children's best start in life, in which the role of a happy family is pivotal. Communication and interaction between parents play an important role in children's healthy development and happiness," said
Mr. Pankaj Agarwal
General Manager, Hong Kong, Taiwan & Cross-Border of Mead Johnson Nutrition (Hong Kong) Limited
. "With this survey, we aimed to help parents and couples better understand each other's needs and expectations about childcare and family planning. We hope to empower them to nurture happy, fulfilling family lives for the next generation."
FRC (Hong Kong) Ltd, an independent research firm, was commissioned to conduct the survey between 22 November to 3 December 2021. There were 1,010 randomly selected respondents, including 303 unmarried individuals who are in a relationship and have a plan to get married, 309 respondents who are married without a child and 398 individuals who are married and have children.