More Kids Respect Moms Than Dads For First Time in 20 Years: Survey

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More children in Tokyo respect their mothers than their fathers for the first time since 1997, according to a survey by ad giant Hakuhodo Inc.
The result comes as an unwelcome surprise ahead of Father’s Day on Sunday.

The survey, which has been conducted every 10 years since 1997 to monitor long-term changes in children’s perceptions and behavior, covered 800 children from elementary school fourth-graders to second-graders in junior high school in the greater Tokyo area.

The ratio of those who favor their mothers hit a record high of 68.1 percent, up 13.3 points from 1997.

But the ratio of those who favor their fathers hit 61.5 percent, only slightly higher than the ratio of 59.7 percent logged in 1997.

The results of the latest survey apparently reflect an increase in working mothers, the Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living said. It also attributed the advance to closer mother-child relationships.

Elsewhere in the survey, children who prioritize study over play outnumbered their opposites for the first time, with the ratios coming out to 58.1 percent and 41.9 percent.

The number of children trying to meet their parents’ expectations is growing as well, the institute said.

In a separate survey by the Cabinet Office, it was found that just over 50 percent of new fathers had taken short-term paternity leave within two months of a birth in 2015, far below the government’s target for promoting paternal involvement in child-rearing.

Among the 55.9 percent of fathers who took time off after a child’s birth, only 9.4 percent took 10 or more days, while 23 percent, the largest group, took between four to six days, according to a report released Friday based on an online survey covering 1,118 men.

The government in 2015 stated that it wants 80 percent of new fathers to be taking short-term paternity leave by 2020 by using their paid holidays.

According to the report, 37.3 percent of fathers with newborns did not request any leave at all. Asked why in a multiple-choice questionnaire, 27 percent cited their heavy workloads and 23.5 percent said their work environment prevented them from requesting leave.

The Cabinet Office said it is crucial for workplaces to better accommodate fathers by raising awareness of the issue.

Men judged to be communicating well with their spouses were more inclined to apply for leave, and 95 percent of those who actually took days off said they were satisfied with the amount of leave, the survey said.

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