The Top 20 Modern Parenting Pressures Revealed

Having perfectly filtered Instagram pictures and well-travelled children are just some of the modern pressures parents now face, new research reveals.

A study of 2,000 parents examining their top 20 worries found limiting the kids’ gadget and technology time, ensuring they do extra curricular activities and getting enough days out as a family are common concerns.a-helping-hand-2-1439048

The research, which was commissioned by Thomson Cruises, revealed that parents feel the pressure to give their kids a variety of exciting experiences, with cultural trips and visits to art galleries and museums sitting in pole positions on the list.

While the pressure parents feel to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ is increasing – the average mum and dad worries at least 20 times per month (an astonishing 260 times per year) over whether they’re doing a good job.

Psychologist Emma Kenny, who worked with Thomson Cruises on the research, said: “It’s interesting to see the variety of pressures that modern day parents feel, not just providing for their kids, but also how they are perceived by other parents and the impact that has on them.

“With a generation of adults that have fully embraced the digital age, it’s clear that the priority is shifting to ensure their children have a healthier balance between gadgets and new experiences that will contribute to their development.”

When it comes to parenting, sixty five percent of parents describe themselves as competitive, with a fifth revealing that they regularly compare their family achievements with other parents.

Over half (51 per cent) admitted that chatter at the school gates can bring out their competitive side, proving playground politics aren’t just for kids.

Social media rivalry is also common, with mums and dads uploading boastful posts to social media an astounding 416 times a year.

birthday-1556216Following the trend for varied experiences, the results also suggested that parents are now far less likely to boast about their child having gadgets, expensive items or material goods, but are keener to show how cultural or open-minded their child is.

Over three quarters (78 per cent) feel travel and experiencing other cultures is important in a child’s development, with a third feeling pressure to have a varied family holiday seeing different and exotic destinations each year.

Parents overwhelmingly value the process of making memories (85 per cent) over providing children with material possessions.

Perhaps that’s why the best family photos are most likely to be holiday snaps – with people’s favourite ever family photos more likely to be one from a trip away (59 per cent) than one at home.

Managing Director of Thomson Cruises, Helen Caron, said: “The results really emphasise the pressures that we know can sometimes be felt by parents, and it’s interesting to see how these are evolving, with gadgets taking a back-seat and family experiences taking priority.

“Our range of ships and itineraries are perfect for the modern day family, ensuring they get the most out of their holiday, allowing them to visit multiple exotic destinations and enjoy different cultural experiences all in one trip.”

Thomson Cruises recently launched the #NotForMe campaign that challenged 12 influential photographers, bloggers and vloggers to look at the common misconceptions about cruise holidays, jokingly using the hashtag #NotForMe – a typical response from those who wouldn’t consider a cruise holiday.


1. Entertaining the kids during the holidays instead of staying at home/watching TV/Playing computer games
2. Taking kids to interesting/cultured/educational places – museums, art galleries, theatre – instead of putting on the TV
3. Being able to answer/help with homework
4. Trying to get my child to experience variety/new things in life
5. Limiting the kids gadgets and technology time
6. Going on nice holidays/impressive holidays
7. Being seen as a ‘cool’ mum or dad
8. Pressure to spend more time with your children during school holidays (particularly if you work)
9. Enrolling the children into special clubs / events running in the holidays
10. Making sure the kids are ‘well-travelled’ and have been to various destinations
11. Making sure the kids have extra-curricular activities
12. Pressure from kids to have popular items of clothing and/or footwear
13. Having great family pics/ pics of the children
14. Teaching the kids about other cultures/ ways of life
15. Being able to hand-make outfits/ come up with good costumes
16. Producing impeccable birthday cakes/home-made goods
17. Being seen to be sporty and active
18. Being friends with other mums and dads on Facebook and WhatsApp
19. Making sure the kids always have something to tell their classmates about
20. To make my family look perfect on social media

About the Author

Abby Williams
Belfast based author/writer specialising in entertainment, mental health and human interest.