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Parents say 2021 was most difficult year ever but hopeful about 2022

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African American mother comforting her son who is feeling displeased while homeschooling due to COVID-19 pandemic.

By Elizabeth Elizalde via SWNS

Parenting got even more hectic in 2021 than last year — but many parents are confident next year will be better, according to a new poll. 

The survey of 1,000 Americans – conducted by OnePoll on Dec. 13 – found that three-quarters (73%) of parents are optimistic they'll make up for lost time with their children in 2022. 

Eight in 10 men (79%) reported looking forward to 2022 compared to seven in 10 women (70%). 

Despite this feeling, 66% of the 861 parents polled said that parenthood has been more difficult for them in 2021 than when the pandemic began in March 2020. 

Millennial parents (ages 25 to 40) were especially likely to cite parenting difficulties (72%), followed by 62% of Gen Z parents (ages 18 to 24) and 58% of Gen Xers (ages 41 to 56). 

By contrast, 39% of boomers (ages 57+) said parenting wasn’t challenging for them at all this year. 

Sixty-one percent of respondents said the pandemic made them completely rethink how they parent their children, including more men (68%) than women (57%).

In fact, only one out of every seven parents (15%) said they haven’t reevaluated their parenting style.

Parents shared the reasons why parenthood felt more difficult in 2021, citing homeschooling, “getting my kids back to [in-person] school,” the “cost of living increased due to the coronavirus” and “keeping the kids safe” from the virus.

Aside from these obstacles, parents were also asked what systemic changes they'd like to see in 2022. 

A quarter (24%) want to see better, more accessible childcare options, while one-fifth want federal paid leave implemented in the U.S. (20%) and more remote/hybrid work options (17%). 

Other popular requests for the new year include the COVID-19 vaccine for children under five (13%) and a better healthcare system (9%).

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