Pew found that this often means more emotional engagement. Nearly halfMany said that they raised their children differently from how their parents raised them. The majority of respondents said the most important difference was how they loved and developed relationships with their children. Respondents were open to answering questions and stating that they want their children to have unconditional support from both of their parents. This meant less shouting, more verbal affirmations, outward affection, and honest discussions about difficult topics.
“I didn’t have a safe place to express my emotions of feeling understood,” one mother, 32, told Pew. “I try to have weekly talks with my kids to check in on their emotions to see how they are. Even if they had a good week, I have found it is still good to remind them you are there for them.”
Becky Kennedy, also known as Dr. Becky, was the psychologist who created the parenting group. Good Inside and wrote a book by the same name, said that among the parents she works with, this was common: “I think this generation knows they needed that, and there’s more and more permission to go, ‘That really was an important need.’”
“Forever, parenting has been the only job in the world that we get no training and no support for; we’re just expected to do it,” she said. “This generation knows how much it matters, and it feels harder because they know how broken the system was for parents and they’re trying to fill that gap.”
Another way parenting has become harder, according to the survey, is a new set of concerns about children’s well-being. While parents may have these worries, their fears have changed over the years. In the 1980s, helicopter parents were most concerned about their children’s physical safety. Teen pregnancy and kidnapping were two examples of concerns. Those concerns remain, but they’ve been superseded by ones about mental health: Three-quarters (75%) of parents were concerned that their children would suffer from anxiety, depression, or bullying.
Hispanic parents and parents with low incomes, particularly immigrants, are more likely to be concerned about possible violence. Four out of ten Hispanic parents and the same percentage of low-income parents expressed concern that their children might be shot. This is in contrast to roughly one in ten white or high-income parents.
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