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Parenting Cultures in America

Parenting Cultures
Studies suggest there are four major categories of parenting types. How does your family fit in?

Parenting Cultures

A study by the University of Virginia found that there are essentially four types of family cultures in modern day America. The study looked beyond the popular labels (i.e., helicopter parents) and evaluated “parents’ habits, dispositions, hopes, fears, assumptions, and expectations for their children.”

The Faithful

Twenty percent of American parents fall into this category. These parents subscribe to a religious doctrine and use the tenets of said doctrine to instill social traditions and morality in their homes and children. Raising children who adhere to reflect religious beliefs is the main goal, while children’s success and happiness is a secondary goal.

Engaged Progressives

Twenty-one percent of American parents believe that morality centers around personal freedom and responsibility. These parents are skeptical of organized religion and are optimistic about their children’s futures. They value honesty and encourage their children to learn to make responsible choices, often at younger ages than parents who fall in other categories.

The Detached

Twenty-one percent of parents fall into this category. These parents are generally pessimistic about their ability to protect their children from outside influences. They spend less than two hours per day interacting with their children and report low levels of marital happiness. These parents believe that kids will be kids and that the future will take care of itself.

American Dreamers

Twenty-seven percent of parents are American Dreamers. These parents are optimistic about their children’s abilities and opportunities and have an intense desire to be part of their children’s lives. They strive to provide every possible advantage to their children, and work to protect them from negative influences.

Regardless of which category parents fall into, a large majority of American parents express a desire for their children to become loving, responsible, and honest adults who demonstrate good moral character.

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  • Fi Ni Neachtain

    I’m not American but I think I would fall into the ‘American Dreamers’ category. It’s so important for me to help my son achieve his full potential and will protect him from anything negative as best I can. I don’t see anything wrong with wanting the best for your children or for striving to provide for them as best you can.

  • Lauren Harmon

    I think it’s hard to say where I’d fall as a parent… honestly, because I haven’t been blessed with a child yet. But dreaming ahead into the future, I think I’m probably going to be an american dreamer or an engaged progressive parent, I see all of these parenting styles amongst my friends though. 🙂

  • Stockpiling Moms

    Wow that is interesting. I don’t think I fall into a a specific category myself. Maybe a blend of several instead. I didn’t realize there are only 4 parenting cultures though. Thanks for sharing this with your readers.

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