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Mum Knows Best

LONDON, November 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

29 October 2012: A survey of over 1000 UK parents has shed light on how parents share child-rearing roles, with mothers overwhelmingly in charge.

The research, by AXA Business Insurance, looked at how parents share responsibility for bringing up their children, particularly looking at their views on getting children ready for the workplace.

There were key differences between the sexes, the first being a disagreement about who is in charge of parenting. Dads think they have far more involvement than Mums give them credit for.   Mums felt they led the parenting in 6 out of 12 different categories and the other 6 were shared equally, whilst Dads thought 11 out of 12 categories were equally shared.  Where one parent took the lead, Mums led every single category bar the 'fun' one of running sport and hobbies.

                                   Who leads the parenting on these issues in your family?

                                  % of Mums who think              % of Dads who think
                               Mums Lead  Dads Lead  Equal     Mums Lead  Dads Lead  Equal
    Diet                          66         2          31          35         14      50
    Spending Money                45         7          47          14         28      57
    Bed Time                      54         5          39          18         19      60
     (Doctor, Dentist, Optician)  68         3          29          37         14      48
    School Work                   58         4          36          20         23      54
    Clothes                       71         1          23          49         11      35
    Sports & Hobbies              34        13          46           7         41      48
    Morals                        38         3          58           9         19      71
    Manners                       43         3          54          12         19      68
    Discipline                    37         6          55           8         30      62
     (Road, Internet, Strangers)  44         3          52           9         22      68
    Health Education 
     (Sex, Drugs, Alcohol)        48         4          47          18         17      64

Both sexes agreed that Mums were much more active in teaching various skills and behaviours whereas Dads were more passive and tended to wait until an issue came up before tackling it.

In this time of recession, instilling a work ethic is important and parents assign chores and responsibilities to their children from a young age. Dads get the children to walk the dog (28%), wash the car (31%) and empty the rubbish (53%), whereas Mums focus on children tidying their rooms (81%), laying the table (66%) and helping with the cooking (43%).

When it comes to work experience both parents are proactive with 59 per cent suggesting they had, or were planning to organise, some form of work experience for their children.  Dads were more likely than Mums to organise work visits, Saturday and holiday jobs, but at the same time were more anxious than Mums about what kind of work their children did. Over a third of Dads said they wouldn't be happy with their children posting leaflets and over a quarter wouldn't be happy to let their children babysit.  The only job Mums disapproved of more than Dads was cleaning.  

Men and Women had different views on the skills they felt their children would need to do well at work. Dads rated being quick to learn, enthusiastic, creative and problem solving, whereas Mums valued getting on with people, reliability and the ability to take instructions.

When they were asked what would be the biggest turn off for an employer Dads picked scruffiness, laziness and smelling of cigarette smoke, whereas Mums picked cheekiness and having piercings or tattoos.  

Mums were three times more likely than Dads to worry about their children being shy and a third more likely to try and build their children's self- confidence.

Many parents commented on the importance of setting a good example by their children seeing them go out to work and being positive about their own jobs.

Darrell Sansom, Managing Director at AXA Business Insurance commented: "In an increasingly competitive job market, it's never too early to start equipping children with the social and business skills they'll need for future success.

"It seems from the research as if Mothers have the most influence on how children develop skills for the workplace and yet we can see Fathers have a different perspective and bring other skills into the mix. For the best chance of success in a working life where possible both parents should take an active role in getting their child ready for work."

With recent figures published by the Department for Education showing that one in six young people in England aged 16 to 24 are not engaged in any education, training or employment, particularly in the 16 to 18 year old bracket, AXA is actively encouraging parents to support their children in developing entrepreneurial pursuits.

Debbie O'Connor, who runs businessmums support organisation Motivating Mum, said: "I feel that it is important for children to see both their parents 'working', whether that work consists of going out to a full time job, running a small business from home or being a full-time homemaker or carer.  The advent of the internet has allowed so many more mums (and dads) to look after the children while earning money from home.  This is an ideal opportunity for children to experience the world of work close up, as they can see their caregiver actually performing work related tasks, and in some cases can help or join in. For example, my children have helped with unpacking and storing deliveries, with filing, and with baking cakes for some of the functions I have organised."

Notes to Editors

About AXA Business Insurance

AXA is one of the largest general insurers in the UK and underwrites a broad range of products for individuals and businesses. AXA Business Insurance offers business insurance for sole traders, the self-employed and small businesses through its website and is designed to make buying insurance fast, secure, convenient and easy-to-use. Small businesses can choose Public Liability, Employers' Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance and can tailor cover to their own requirements.

About AXA

AXA UK is a part of the AXA Group. The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with 163,000 employees serving 101 million clients in 57 countries. In 2011, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 86.1 billion and IFRS Underlying Earnings to Euro 3.9 billion. AXA had Euro 1,065 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2011.

In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Wealth; AXA Commercial Lines and Personal Intermediary, AXA Personal Lines, AXA PPP healthcare, AXA Ireland and an independent distribution business Bluefin. AXA employs over 12,000 staff in the UK.

The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISN FR 0000120628 - Bloomberg: CS FP - Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA's American Depository Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY.

The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD, and is a founding member of the UN Environment Programme's Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance.


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