Pew found that this often means greater emotional engagement. Nearly half stated that their parenting style was different from how their parents raised them. However, the majority said that their main difference was in how their parents showed love and built strong relationships with their children. They wanted their children to have unconditional support from their parents, which was open-ended. 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, the psychologist known as Dr. Becky who founded 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. These fears are common among parents, but they have evolved over time. The 1980s’ helicopter parents were concerned mainly about their child’s safety. Those concerns remain, but they’ve been superseded by ones about mental health: Three-quarters of parents said they were worried their children would struggle with anxiety or depression, or face bullying.
Hispanic and low-income parents were more likely than white parents to worry about violence. Four out of 10 Hispanic parents were very or very concerned that their children would be shot. This compares to one in 10 white high-income or wealthy parents.
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