'Six hours a week to tame teens'
It doesn't matter how much time you spend with your children when they're young, but six hours a week of "family time" could keep teenagers from going off the rails, research suggests.
A large international study found that the quantity of time parents spent with children aged between three and 11 had no influence on their later academic achievement, behaviour or emotional well-being.
But the research, which followed the development of 1,600 children, found the total amount of time adolescents spent with their parents did have an impact.
The study, by researchers from the University of Toronto and Bowling Green State University in Ohio, found that six hours a week of "family time" made a significant difference to a teenager's well-being and achievement. Time spent with parents was associated with lower rates of delinquent behaviour, with less drug and alcohol abuse, and higher academic grades.
Researchers looked at the total amount of time spent together, regardless of whether parents were "actively engaged" with their children or just in the same room. The study also found mothers working outside the home had no negative impact on children aged between three and 11.