Parenting in America

kidsI’m a parent. We have two great kids, Carolyn, 26, and Carl, 22 shown here. We’re blessed. Every parent understands how difficult parenting is, but active parenting matters and has impact. Don’t think for a millisecond that you don’t have influence on your children’s actions and values (as shown by the photo).

There is no universal style of parenting that yields success. There are certainly different styles and level of involvement by parents. In today’s world there is greater involvement by some parents in the activities of their children. There is some school of thought that heavy scheduling of activities and immersion into their lives will increase their success. On the other hand, is it really necessary to attend every game, event as a show of support? And are “participation trophies” really necessary? (I don’t think so).

The Pew Research Center did a study recently on parenting with some interesting results. The study simply called Parenting in America was conducted in September and October 2015 among 1800+ adults. The findings were interesting. Per the report:

The study finds that for lower-income parents, financial instability can limit their children’s access to a safe environment and to the kinds of enrichment activities that affluent parents may take for granted. For example, higher-income parents are nearly twice as likely as lower-income parents to rate their neighborhood as an “excellent” or “very good” place to raise kids (78% vs. 42%). On the flip side, a third of parents with annual family incomes less than $30,000 say that their neighborhood is only a “fair” or “poor” place to raise kids; just 7% of parents with incomes in excess of $75,000 give their neighborhood similarly low ratings.

Along with more negative ratings of their neighborhoods, lower-income parents are more likely than those with higher incomes to express concerns about their children being victims of violence. At least half of parents with family incomes less than $30,000 say they worry that their child or children might be kidnapped (59%) or get beat up or attacked (55%), shares that are at least 15 percentage points higher than among parents with incomes above $75,000. And about half (47%) of these lower-income parents worry that their children might be shot at some point, more than double the share among higher-income parents.

There are some worries, though, that are shared across income groups.

At least half of all parents, regardless of income, worry that their children might be bullied or struggle with anxiety or depression at some point. For parents with annual family incomes of $75,000 or higher, these concerns trump all others tested in the survey.

The study also indicated that there is a link between family structure and financial circumstances

ST_2015-12-17_parenting-03The dramatic changes that have taken place in family living arrangements have no doubt contributed to the growing share of children living at the economic margins. In 2014, 62% of children younger than 18 lived in a household with two married parents – a historic low, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The share of U.S. kids living with only one parent stood at 26% in 2014. And the share in households with two parents who are living together but not married (7%) has risen steadily in recent years.

The study concludes that outlook, worries, aspirations are strongly linked to financial situation yet regardless of one’s financial situation the challenge of being a parent is difficult (as is growing up)

More Strumings

One Comment

  1. Lonny,

    Great piece on Parenting, a topic that needs more attention and discussion. I am glad I caught up with it. Congratulations and thank you.

    Related to parenting, the non-profit that I started recently, Fathers & Families Inc., aims at helping kids, moms and families, in part, by helping dads be better dads. Feel free to see our start (we have a long way to go) at

    BTW, our paths crossed years ago on the Voorhees soccer fields. Assuming you are still in the area, can I entice you into breakfast or coffee some time?

    All the best,


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