PARENTS Magazine announced the results of its first-ever PARENTS Values Study which reveals that although parents believe raising kind children is the most important value they can instill, they also believe that kids today are less kind than past generations. The study, which uncovers insights about American parents’ biggest parenting challenges, concerns, and priorities, and their views about their own parenting skills and parenting in the pandemic, is highlighted in PARENTS’ second annual special November Kindness Issue and on parents.com/kindness.
Julia Edelstein, Editor in Chief of PARENTS, says,” As a mother, I care more about instilling kindness in my kids than any other trait, and it turns out that the vast majority of parents are on the exact same page. One of the many things that the pandemic has taught us is that kindness is a life-giving force, and we need more of it. With that said, one of the most disappointing findings from this study is that although our priorities are aligned when it comes to raising kind kids, most moms don’t see kindness reflected in kids’ behavior today. We have a lot of work to do, but we will get there. PARENTS’ November issue—our second annual kindness issue–is a roadmap to prioritizing kindness in your family, and raising truly kind people.”
Moms were asked to select the top three qualities they most hope to instill their children. The top selections are:
1. Kindness (73%)
2. Love of family (68%)
3. Intelligence (51%)
3. Strong work ethic (51%)
5. Individuality (31%)
Although parents want to raise kind kids, over three-quarters of moms (76%) say kids today are less kind than past generations. Half of moms (50%) say that showing their child how to be compassionate and kind is the most important task of parenthood and 28% say that helping their child learn to be his/her most authentic self is most important—more important than raising a successful high achiever or a person of high intelligence. Seven in ten moms feel that modeling kindness themselves is the key to raising kind kids.
Moms are confident in their parenting. More than half of moms rate their own parenting abilities either excellent (13%) or very good (38 %), while 34% say they are good, 13% say they are average, 1% say they are poor and 1% say they are very poor. Thirty-six percent of moms say that maintaining confidence in their parenting approach is one of the biggest challenges of motherhood.
Sixty-five percent of moms say that kids today are less happy than kids of past generations, and they credit technology, social media addiction, bullying and parental issues for this decline. Moms also complain about their children’s future—topping the list of worries are: depression, anxiety or other mental health issues (48%), gun violence (44%), the effects of climate change (43%) and the lack of economic opportunity/difficulty finding work (42%).
When asked to rank their greatest wishes for the child’s future, moms reported the following priorities:
1. Having close family ties (72%)
1. Living a healthy, balanced life/avoiding burnout (72%)
3. Feeling fulfilled by his/her work (60%)
4. Having a family of his/her own (59%)
5. Being an individual/living authentically (51%)
When asked to share what their own parents valued most when it came to their children’s futures, respondents listed a markedly different set of values. Many respondents feel that they were raised by parents who placed greater importance on their children being financially better off than they were, among other differences. Today’s moms reported that their parents prioritized the following:
1. Having a family of my own (64%)
2. Having close family ties (63%)
3. Being better off financially than they were (57%)
4. Getting a college degree (49%)
5. Living a healthy, balanced life/avoiding burnout (48%)
The survey also reports that 39% of moms have participated in charitable, morale-boosting, or community-focused events or activities during the pandemic, and among these moms, 85% had their children participate with them. Seven in ten moms say they frequently or sometimes seek out companies that give back to the community when they shop for food, household goods, cosmetics or other items.
Moms reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their kids, mostly in positive ways. Moms agree these traits are most likely to develop in their child as a result of living in the age of COVID-19:
1. A stronger bond with family (67%)
2. Resilience (36%)
3. Anxiety (33%)
4. Gratitude (33%)
5. Kindness (30%)
To help parents in their effort to raise kind, compassionate people, the PARENTS special November Kindness issue has a collection of articles offering feel-good stories, expert insights and creative ways that parents can take action. Here’s a link to PARENTS’ comprehensive kindness coverage, including advice to help families become more caring, guidance for parents on helping them raise kids to become forces for good, tips for correcting not-so-nice behavior when you see it, profiles of inspiring families who stepped up in ways big and small during the pandemic and more.
About the PARENTS 2020 Values Survey: PARENTS and the Meredith Data Studio fielded a quantitative online survey May 13 – June 30, 2020, among 1,050 US moms with at least one child age 12 or younger. The sampling error is +/- 3.0%.
PARENTS, the leading source for busy, millennial moms, reaches 9.3 million readers monthly through an award-winning magazine and over 19 million through its digital and social platforms. With an understanding that raising good people is the most important job, PARENTS serves up trusted advice that empowers moms and dads to care for their kids with confidence and find ways to enjoy the ride. PARENTS is produced by Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP).