Parents are spending more quality time with their children than previous generations, despite having high-pressured and time-consuming jobs, research revealed yesterday.

A study for Abbey National found the amount of time invested by parents in their children's upbringing had more than trebled over the past three decades. Parents devote an average of 85 minutes a day to each child compared with 25 minutes a day in the mid-1970s.

By 2010, the figure is predicted to leap to 100 minutes, destroying the myth that family life is being damaged as both parents go out to work.

Researchers questioned three generations of families on their attitudes to parenting. When asked to compare their practices with what their parents did, the majority of men and women said they took parenting more seriously.

In every key aspect of parenting and family life explored by researchers, fewer than one in 10 respondents spent less time with their children than their parents did.

Two-thirds of parents claimed they spent more time every day reading with or helping their children with homework.

Full-time working parents were found to spend more time than their part-time and non-working counterparts talking to their children and enjoying leisure activities.

The study - by the Future Foundation - also showed that men were now more involved in their children's lives.

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