Leading health insurer, nib New Zealand (nib), has released the findings from its third annual nib State of the Nation Parenting Survey, highlighting key trends amongst Asian* parents and their families, including some of the lasting impacts the pandemic has had on them.
Preparing children for their future
One in five Asian parents indicated education to be their top concern when it came to their child’s future (double that of all respondents), with 45% feeling their children needed external support, compared to 35% of non-Asian parents. Heightened by the pandemic, over half of Asian respondents believed COVID-19 had a lasting negative impact on their child’s learning (54% versus 40% overall).
General educational concerns were top of mind for many Asian parents, with respondents indicating they were more likely to feel pressure to get their children involved in private schooling (16% vs 8% non-Asian), and paid for extracurricular activities (41% vs 30% non-Asian), such as arts (singing, music, theatre, art) and language studies.
More than two in three Asian parents are also actively setting aside money specifically for their child’s education, revealing that they were often taking a more proactive approach to finding additional ways to bolster their child’s learning.
While only half of all respondents agreed that the current curriculum fosters relevant and important skills, Asian parents were more likely to have a positive attitude towards New Zealand’s education system – with nearly two in three agreeing with the statement.
nib parenting expert, Nathan Wallis said, “It’s encouraging to see that despite the academic concerns coming to the forefront within Asian families, Asian parents are often more involved in their child’s learning, helping to support via a range of opportunities beyond the classroom.
“While the pandemic has no doubt disrupted schooling, if parents are feeling overly worried about their child’s learning, my advice is to take it easy and focus on your child’s wellbeing instead. Your child may already be anxious about their academic progress, so try supporting them by opening up conversations around how they’re feeling and help them make practical plans to tackle their studies,” said Mr Wallis.
Key trends among Asian parents
While concerns for their children largely centred around education, the findings also revealed areas Asian respondents were contending with when it came to parenting.
Asian parents reported to be more likely to be worried about their parenting skills (83% versus 76% overall), and three in four also reported feeling pressure to keep up with other families – compared to two in three among all respondents. Holidays, extracurricular activities (paid for and school based), birthday parties and having the latest technologies and toys were the main areas all respondents felt the most pressure.
Despite Asian parents often showing greater levels of concern across the board, this was not necessarily reflected in their parenting. For example, while Asian parents were more likely to be worried about the time they had available to spend with their child (82% vs 78% overall), the average time they actively spent with their child during the weekday and weekends was in line with all respondents.
"While ‘concerns’ carry a negative connotation, in healthy doses, they can be a powerful motivator and prompt parents to be more proactive in their parenting. As a parent, you naturally spend a lot of time worrying about your child, but it’s important to recognise if you’re feeling overly anxious about it. I would encourage all parents to be more open about their concerns or struggles – with family, friends, other parents, teachers – as you’ll find you aren’t alone and can often share practical ways to address these issues,” said Mr Wallis.
Surprisingly despite the current concerns, a higher proportion of Asian parents reported having no concerns for their child’s future, double that of all respondents (8% vs 4% overall).
Asian parents were also far less able to lean on close family for support (37% versus 54% non-Asian) and were more likely to rely on childcare centres (30%) compared to non-Asian parents (22%).
When it came to technology use, Asian parents were more lenient and were less likely to have taken away their child’s devices as a form of punishment (43%) compared to non-Asian respondents (55%).
Concerns around health
Despite the critical spotlight placed on our health due to the pandemic, Asian parents were less aware of their child’s health checks and vaccinations. While 73% of all respondents reported having a record of their child’s vaccinations, this dropped to 64% among Asian parents. In addition, there was a 12% discrepancy when it came to knowing the health checks their children needed each year (39% vs 51% overall) and an 11% difference when it came to ensuring their children had completed all their annual health checks (57% vs 68% overall).
The top three health-related concerns among Asian parents and their children were around child behavioural issues (33%), diet and exercise (30%), and dental issues (29%). Asian parents, on the other hand, were less likely to report sleeping issues as a major health concern among their children (22% vs 33% non-Asian).
nib New Zealand CEO, Rob Hennin said “Through our nib State of the Nation Parenting Survey, we hope Kiwi parents can find solidarity in knowing they aren’t alone in their parenting concerns and struggles. Parenting is no easy task, and they should be giving themselves a pat on the back as the ongoing uncertainties of the pandemic has made it infinitely harder.
“Our hope is that through these annual results, we can better understand where, as a nation, we can support parents and families of all backgrounds to keep on top of their health and wellbeing,” Mr Hennin said.
nib partnered with One Picture to deliver the nib State of the Nation Parenting Survey, which surveyed a representative sample of 1,200 respondents from around the country.
Source: One Plus One Communications