Waardenwijs, a survey of the values that parents instil in their children (completed)
- Period: 2019
- Status: completed
Parents generally find it important that their children share their values. Although it would be valuable for organisations involved in child education to have some knowledge of parents’ child-rearing values and ideals, to date not much is known about the values that parents seek to instil in their children. This study examined these values.
- Which values do parents seek to instil in their children? (How do denominational background and child-rearing values relate?)
- What do parents wish and what do they fear for their children in the future? (What do parents do to prevent their fears from coming true?)
- Which child-rearing styles do parents prefer? (How do denominational background and child-rearing style relate?)
Ten percent of the parents (N=1518) fully completed the questionnaire. From their answers to the question asking after their denominational background, it emerged that nearly one third of the parents had a religious background. This made it possible to compare the values of secular parents with those of religious parents. The results can be summarised in a number of conclusions.
The analysis of the parents’ answers using the so-called value scale by Schwartz showed that all parents, regardless of their denominational background, particularly want their children to grow up to be honest people who enjoy being alive. Additionally, all parents believe that freedom, peace and responsibility are important values to instil in their children. Values that pertain to stimulating the child’s independence and unicity (self-direction), involvement with the world (universalism) and challenges in life (stimulation) were also rated equally by all parents.
Some differences also emerged. Secular parents attach less importance to values pertaining to obedience, respect and certainty, compared to religious parents or parents of unknown denominational background. Religious parents attach more importance to values pertaining to care for relatives (altruism), pleasure (hedonism) and social status (power), compared to secular parents.
The open questions, addressing the parents’ wishes and fears for their children’s future, were clustered based on the categories of Schwartz’s value scale. The content analysis of the wishes and fears shows that parents mainly wish for their children to be happy and healthy in the future. Further, they wish for them to be independent in terms of home, work and income, and in terms of making one’s own choices in life. Parents are anxious about events or circumstances that might threaten their children’s health, safety or social security.
To prevent their fears from coming true, parents mainly devote attention to their child (hugging, doing fun things together, talking). Parents furthermore try to stimulate their child’s independence by having them play with other children and by teaching them to be assertive. Parents also find it important to set the right example.
Finally, parents were asked about the way they want to raise and educate their children. Parents prefer to do so by devoting attention to them, by solving problems together and by making agreements, which indicates a preference for an authoritative style. An analysis of the differences and similarities between parents of different religious backgrounds indicates that all parents prefer to give attention and to solve problems together. Making agreements is valued most among religious parents.
Waardenwijs, Een survey onderzoek naar de waarden die ouders meegeven aan hun kinderen, Elina Kuusisto, Melissa de Bruin, Isolde de Groot en Doret de Ruyter (University of Humanistic Studies, 2019)
Eerlijkheid en vrijheid belangrijke waarden in opvoeding (press release, in Dutch)
In this study, carried out by researchers from the UvH at the request of the Humanistisch Verbond and child care organisation Humankind, we investigated the values of parents.