The New Family Values
We asked parents across the country to share the family values and traditions most important to them—and what we found surprised even the experts. Plus: How the makeup of modern families has changed
54% insist kids finish an activity they start even if they don't like it
74% of fathers of grade-schoolers say rushing around to extracurricular activities is worth all the hassle
58% of kids have chores, and a third of kids with chores don't get an allowance for them
57% of parents won't deliver forgotten homework to school after the first offense
87% say when their child suffers disappointment, they talk about it, but it's a good lesson
Character boost or bummer? Don't always force your child into continuing something, says Dr. O'Keeffe. “There may be some good reasons to stop. What if he's playing soccer because you talked him into doing it but he really wants to play the violin? Or he's not developmentally ready for the activity?” In other words, while you may value persistence, there are times when knowing when to change course is the more admirable thing. Help your child get the message by having him finish out the season, or the piano lessons you've already paid for, and then allowing him to choose his next activity in exchange for a promise to stick to it for a mutually agreed upon amount of time.
“It was also heartening to see that it wasn't a hundred percent who'd run their kids' forgotten homework to school,” notes Levine. Micromanaging their lives doesn't do them any favors.
“It's important to understand that children already have a real job—they go to school full-time and have to study.” -John Wilkes, Daytona Beach, FL
Dinner Still Rules!
We were amazed! 83% of families eat dinner together most nights
Your job's no excuse: 81% of working moms manage to get a meal on the table most nights vs. 87% of stay-at-home moms. And you can't blame school or extracurricular activities either: Parents of school-age kids eat together as often as moms and dads of little kids—both weighed in at 83%.
Why family dinners are such a priority, says parents:
“It socializes my children and brings them a sense of security.”
“It's the one opportunity to talk about the day so everyone can get a chance to share their ‘highs and lows.’”
“It gives us time to unwind together.”