Parenting in America...the Latest Findings

One of the most important things we do in children's ministry is partnering with parents.  No one has more influence in the lives of children.

So what are parents facing?  What are they struggling with?  What are they hoping for?  How can you partner with them more effectively?

Here's the latest findings to keep in mind as you minister to parents.  I have highlighted my takeaways in blue.

Parents' Concerns for Their Kids...
  • Bullying (make sure parents know your ministry is a "bully-free zone")
  • Violence (make safety and security a top priority)
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Alcohol & Drugs
  • Depression
Changing Families...
  • There is no one dominate family form (be a place that meets the needs of all types of families)
  • 62% of kids live with 2 married parents - a historic low
  • 26% of kids live with a single parent (provide mentoring for boys who are being raised by single-parent mothers)
  • 7% of kids live with cohabiting parents 
  • 40% of kids are born to a single parent or two parents who are cohabiting (give parents room to belong before they believe - welcome them and then journey with them toward marriage)
  • Only 67% of married couples under 50 are still in their first marriage
  • 39% of kids will have lived with a cohabiting parent by the age of 12
  • 16% of children live in a blended family (be aware that this affects kids' attendance patterns as they split their time)
  • Less children - 40% of moms only have 1 child compared to just 11% in 1976
  • The average age of mothers is 26 compared to 21 in 1970
 Financial Concerns...
  • 31% of kids living in a single-parent household are living below the poverty line
  • 21% of kids living with cohabiting parents are living below the poverty line
  • 10% of kids living with two married parents are living below the poverty line
  • 10% say they can't make ends meet
  • 1/3 say they live comfortably
 Parents Assess Themselves...
  • 46% say they are doing a good job raising their children 
  • 57% of Millennial mothers (ages 18 to 34) say they are doing a good job raising their children
  • 43% of Millennial fathers (ages 18 to 34) say they are doing a good job raising their children
  • 93% of married parents say how their spouse perceives their parenting skills matters a lot to them
  • 56% of single parents say how their child's other parents perceives their parenting skills matters a lot to them
  • 72% want their own parents to think they are doing a good job raising their children
  • 52% want their friends to think they are doing a good job raising their children
  • 45% want people in their community to see them as good parents.
  • 46% say their children's successes and failures are a reflection of how they are doing as parents
  • 59% say they spend an adequate amount of time with their children
  • 51% of parents with children under 6 read to them on a daily basis (create or recommend devotionals that parents can read to their children at home / tie it into what you taught at church and extend the lesson into the home)
Parenting Styles...
  • 62% say they can sometimes be overprotective
  • 25% say they tend to give their children too much freedom
  • 44% say they offer too much praise
  • 33% say they do not give their child enough praise
  • 58% of moms and 57% of dads say being a parent is extremely important to their overall identity (offer parenting classes)
  • 46% of parents wish they were more involved in their child's education (require parents to attend faith commitment, baptism, Bible presentation, etc. classes with their child)
Families Are Busy...
  • 50% have their kids involved in a variety of extracurricular activities (be strategic with what you put on their already busy calendars)
  • 73% participate in religious instructions
  • 60% take music, dance or art lessons
  • 54% have done volunteer work
  • 20% say their child's schedule is too hectic
  • 31% say they always feel rushed
  • 53% say they sometimes feel rushed 
  • 31% of parents have helped coach their child's sport's team
  • 1/3 say parenting is tiring
  • 25% say parenting is stressful
  • 75% say they discipline by explaining why their child's behavior is inappropriate
  • 43% take away privileges
  • 41% use "timeouts"
  • 22%s say they raise their voice
  • 4% use spanking
Screen Time...
  • 90% say their kids watch TV
  • 79% say their kids play video games
  • 47% say their kids have too much screen time (offer tips and advice on monitoring screen time)
  • 50% say their kids have about the right amount of screen time
  • 81% with kids under 6 say they watch videos or play games on an electronic device on a daily basis (create or make available apps and videos that can be used to help disciple kids)
Working Moms...
  • 70% of moms work outside the home 
  • 75% of working moms work full-time outside the home
  • 64% of moms with preschoolers work outside the home
  • 40% of working moms are the primary breadwinner for their family
Parenting Advice...Where They are Getting It...
  • 57% say they turn to their partner
  • 34% say they turn to a friend
  • 43% of moms and 23% of dads turn to parenting websites, books and magazines for parenting  (provide online parenting resources - this can be a simple as creating a free Facebook page for parents and posting articles and advice for them to read)
Parents Want to Raise Kids Who Are... 
  • 71% say they want to raise kids who are honest and ethical (come alongside parents and teach Biblical character and ethics in some of your lessons)
  • 65% caring and compassionate (give families the opportunity to serve together in the community)
  • 62% hardworking (come alongside parents and teach the value of hard work)
  • 54% financially independent (come alongside parents and teach kids about managing money and giving)
  • 45% ambitious (partner with parents in teaching kids to see their potential in Christ)
School Work...
  • 41% of parents say children should never feel bad about themselves because of poor grades in school as long as they try hard
  • 32% of parents say they would be very disappointed if their child got average grades in school
  • 82% say they put the right amount of pressure on their kids to do well in school
  • 50% say they are satisfied with the quality of education their child is receiving at school. 
  • 54% say parents can never be too involved when it comes to their child's education, but 43% say too much involvement can be a bad thing
  • 62% attend PTA or other school-related events
  • 63% have volunteered at their child's school (invite parents to serve in children's ministry - many are looking for an opportunity to get involved with their child's experience at church)
Okay.  The floor is yours.  What stands out to you in these findings?  What are the implications for children's ministry?  Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.