Mums losing sleep over school bullies

By Carly Gibbs


A staggering 68 per cent of Kiwi mums are kept awake at night worrying about their child being bullied at school.

The figure, one of many sourced from a New Zealand Woman's Weekly Colmar Brunton survey, equated to eight out of 10 mums worrying about bullying.

Mount Maunganui pyschologist Lynne Dara, said worrying was a natural trait for 21st century mothers.

Ms Dara said a mother's primary concern was that her children were safe and happy and that, as a mother, she wasn't letting them down in anyway. "They want to protect against hurt feelings, it's instinct."

Generation X and Y mums faced different issues today, in that their children were exposed to a lot more "temptations to get into trouble".

"Mothers [today] worry just as much but about different things."

Returning to the workforce was a big dilemma for many mums, Ms Dara said.

The Women's Weekly survey of 600 mums, aged 18 to 65 years, found 65 per cent put the happiness of their children and family before their own. It also showed that 42 per cent of mothers would go back to work when their child was aged 5 or over, if money were no issue.

Forty-three per cent of mothers said they used relatives or extended family as their most frequent form of childcare; and 72 per cent of mothers listed reading as their best way to relax. Drinking wine placed third at 46 per cent.

The survey listed topics that polarised Kiwi mums and the everyday opportunities and challenges they faced. Sixty-five per cent of women said they did not believe breastfeeding should be forced on mothers.

Ms Dara said guilt had a big impact on modern Kiwi mothers but the reality was, most were doing a great job.

"A mother is doing a really big job looking after a family and looking after her life as well. It's a hard road for a mother, I think."

Mother's Day was a day to be "honoured, not just [given] a present".

She said solo mothers could help their children by telling them how important it was that mothers were valued.

Tauranga clinical pyschologist Hans Laven said some women relished living a busy lifestyle and juggling family and career. It was his belief that 21st Century mums were very much aware of the importance of taking time for themselves, and indulging in hobbies or "social needs".

"Often a small adjustment can make a big difference to the [mother] feeling more satisfied."

When it came to Mother's Day, he said it was wise to ask mothers in advance what they wanted from the day - to be left in peace, or ravaged with attention.

"It's quite important to say 'This is your day' and put some boundaries around that."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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