Stay@home: The decline of the stay-at-home parent

Stuff 28 December 2020
Family First Comment: “Society has way more anxiety, we’ve basically got a pandemic of anxiety and depression amongst our teenagers, that’s a multifaceted thing but I think the loss of an at home parent in the first 1000 days of life is a big driver.”

When you have a week-old baby in your hands the most common question you’ll get is when are you going back to work, a parenting expert says.

Nathan Wallis, neuroscience educator and child development specialist, says being a stay-at-home parent has gone from being the norm to being the minority.

Over the last 50 years the number of parents choosing to stay at home with their children has declined and continues to do so which Wallis fears will lead to a generation of angry and anxious kids.

Stats NZ figures show in June 2020 12.7 per cent of all people not in the labour force reported that their main activity was looking after a child – a significant decrease from 21.1 per cent in 1986.

Experts put the decrease in stay-at-home parents down to improvements in gender equality, the increase in tertiary education of young women, their labour force participation, the cost of living and the cost of raising children in New Zealand, which is roughly $285,000, or around $16,000 a year.

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.