4 in 10 parents admit they DON’T want to be like their own parents

NEW YORK — Over four in 10 parents today have one goal in mind — don’t act like their own parents! Just 59 percent of parents follow their mom and dad’s advice about raising children, a new survey reveals.

The poll of 4,000 American and Canadian parents and grandparents of kids under seven years-old finds that some new mothers and fathers find their parents’ advice to be dated (34%), and they also have different ideas about how to raise their child in today’s society (41%).

Seven in 10 admit that today, they have different ideas about raising their child than their parents had in their era (71%). Still, the average parent calls their own mom or dad twice a week for guidance, and one in eight calls them most days of the week.

Commissioned by Johnson’s Baby and conducted by OnePoll for National Caregivers Month, the survey finds that most parents of young kids shared that their parents’ words are valuable, with 83 percent saying they’ve learned a lot about raising kids from them. Another 73 percent of parents believe they operate at a happy medium, following their parents’ advice while also raising their children the way they want to.

Parents can agree that they have different priorities now than what their parents might have had when raising them, especially when it comes to taking an interest in baby skin care (35%), managing screen time (50%), and knowing how to bathe their child (32%).

On the other hand, bath time routines have stayed the same: 54 percent of parents bathe their child at least once a day, in line with 51 percent of grandparents who bathed their child just as often.

parent child
(Photo by Bruno Bueno from Pexels)

Most grandparents would also agree that parenting priorities have shifted since they raised their child (69%) — so much so, that nearly half of these respondents need some time to get used to these differences (48%).

Change can be good, though, as grandparents surveyed said that they wish they had some of the resources available now when they were raising their own children, like hybrid work schedules (39%), more after-school activities for their kids (34%), and access to telehealth or other online health resources (34%).

Grandparents surveyed admitted they’d manage things for their grandchild differently than how their child does, especially when it comes to screen time (38%) and knowing how to soothe them (26%).

That isn’t the only point of contention when it comes to routines; 25 percent of parents say a baby needs silence to sleep, while just 16 percent of grandparents agree.

Parents of young children are also more likely to believe that newborn babies should stay indoors (18%) compared to just one in 10 grandparents. Similarly, 17 percent of parents bathe their child more than once a day, while only four percent of grandparents recall doing this when their child was that age.

“Washing with more than water is an important routine to cleanse babies’ skin effectively,” says spokesperson Devon Slauenwhite, senior brand manager at Johnson’s Baby®, in a statement. “Water as a cleanser doesn’t remove the fat-soluble impurities left behind under diapers and clothes, and if they remain, they can cause the delicate skin barrier to break down.”

Calm senior woman and teenage girl in casual clothes looking at each other and talking while eating cookies and cooking pastry in contemporary kitchen at home
(Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels)

No matter their differences, many parents appreciate all they’ve learned from their parents and are carrying over routines from their childhood like family dinners (52%), reading their child a story before bed (41%), and certain bath time activities they used to do (32%).

Parents also wish their child’s grandparents were more involved in different steps like their education (29%), babysitting (29%), and playtime (29%).

While grandparents surveyed recall being most involved in babysitting (54%), playtime (52%), and shopping for their grandchild’s clothing (39%), many want to care for their grandchild more by teaching them (35%) and being able to read them a bedtime story (34%). There may be a place for grandparents at bedtime, as the standard bedtime routine for young kids consists of reading them a story before bed (50%), tucking them in (44%), and bathing them before bed (42%).

Although the average grandparent spends two days a week with their grandchild, 83 percent of those who don’t see them every day want to visit them more often. Overall, 69 percent of all respondents agree there’s no one right way to raise kids.

Three-quarters of parents agree that although they may disagree with their parents’ advice, they know they have their grandchild’s best interest at heart, and even more grandparents said the same about their child (84%).

“It’s clear that bed bath and bedtime rituals are critical, as many parents and grandparents have shared the same routines across generations,” Slauenwhite says. 

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 4,000 parents and grandparents of kids 0-7 from the US and Canada was commissioned by Johnson’s Baby between October 4 and October 11, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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