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08 May 2024

8,000 parents speak out in biggest parenting pulse-check, revealing rising stress, emotional distress, and exhaustion

The Triple P – Positive Parenting Program today shared the results of its largest ever parenting survey, which reveals the stark reality of cost-of-living pressures, emotional distress, sleep deprivation and concerns about social media and screen time on their kids’ mental health and wellbeing.

8,304 parents and carers responded to the national survey which, according to Triple P founder and Clinical Psychologist at  

The University of Queensland, Professor Matt Sanders, provides a comprehensive snapshot of the key issues shaping the experiences of a large and diverse group of families across the country. 


The results expose what’s really going on for families in Australia right now, set against a backdrop of compounding financial pressure, an increase in kids’ mental health and wellbeing concerns, and the growing issue of school refusal,Professor Sanders said. 


It shows how complex the journey of parenting can be, and how critical it is to provide families who are at the coalface of these issues with the evidence-based support they need to look after themselves as parents and feel confident in their parenting skills so they can raise happy and resilient children, he said.  


Key insights of Triple P’s 2024 National Parenting Survey 


Almost 9 out of 10 parents have had to cut back on spending because of the cost-of-living pressures - these parents have had to cut back on eating out and takeaway (81%), entertainment (70%) and holidays (69%). Over half of them have also had to cut back on grocery purchases. 


Professor Sanders said, “This is where we can clearly see the impact this pressure can have on family relationships, with 42% of parents reporting the rising cost of living has impacted their ability to be a calm, loving partner or parent.  


The survey also revealed that almost half of all parents are dissatisfied with the amount of time that they spend on self-care activities, such as physical exercise, socialising or doing an activity they enjoy.  


Nearly two thirds of parents experience feelings of guilt at least once a week related to the time they spend with their child. The majority (83%) of parents with kids aged under five years feel sleep deprived at least once a week. Additionally, the survey found that over 8 out of 10 parents find themselves yelling or raising their voice at their children. 


“Self-care, self-compassion, and sleep are crucial skills that help parents to feel calmer, and to confidently navigate the ups and downs of raising kids. But we know it's easier said than done. What's important is parents know they are not alone in these struggles, that looking after themselves is critical, and it’s okay to seek help and support," said Professor Sanders. 


Social media and screen time also dominated parents’ worries, with the majority expressing concerns about the negative effects on their children. Triple P’s research found: 


  • Almost all parents (85%) who allow their kids to use social media have conflicts with them over their use of social media platforms, with 43% reporting that they do so at least once a week.  

  • Parents are highly likely to be concerned (82%) about protecting their child/children from potential online dangers.   

  • There is also high levels of concern (79%) amongst parents regarding the impact of social media platforms on their child’s mental health and wellbeing.  


"These results highlight just how important it is for parents and carers to have the knowledge, skills, and strategies to positively guide their children’s use of social media and screens. It’s normal to feel in the dark about what to do, but having open and honest conversations with children about technology early and often can help,” Professor Sanders said. 



Despite the concerns, the survey also revealed that 8 out of 10 parents are confident their child will have a better life than them.  


What we know is that parents and carers are pervasive agents of change in a child’s life. Parents and caregivers are critical to nurturing a positive trajectory for kids, so we need to support them with the skills they need to do this. The national take-up of free, evidence-based online parenting support from Triple P, with currently over 270,000 parents and carers across Australia empowering themselves with easy-to-use strategies, shows a growing appetite from families to get support with many of the concerns that this survey has uncovered, Professor Sanders said. 


Delivery of the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program to parents and carers of children in Australia is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care under the Parenting Education and Support Program. Parents and carers can access free, online parenting support 24/7 at   


The survey was conducted by C|T Group on behalf of Triple P International.