Trends in the education of children

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A new Pew Research Center survey conducted Sept. 18 finds that for lower-income parents, financial instability can trends in the education of children their children’s access to a safe environment and to the kinds of enrichment activities that affluent parents may take for granted. Concerns about teenage pregnancy and legal trouble are also more prevalent among lower-income parents. There are some worries, though, that are shared across income groups.

At least half of all parents, regardless of income, worry that their children might be bullied or struggle with anxiety or depression at some point. 75,000 or higher, these concerns trump all others tested in the survey. The survey also finds that lower-income parents with school-age children face more challenges than those with higher incomes when it comes to finding affordable, high-quality after-school activities and programs. The economic outcomes for these different types of families vary dramatically. 2 By contrast, only one-in-ten children living with two married parents were in this circumstance. Though parental scorecards don’t differ by income, they do vary across other demographic divides, such as gender and generation.

Millennial mothers are particularly inclined to rate themselves positively. Regardless of how they see themselves, parents care a lot about how others perceive their parenting skills. Parents of younger children feel more personally responsible for their children’s achievements or lack thereof, while parents of teenagers are much more likely to say that it’s their children who are mainly responsible for their own successes and failures. There are significant differences along racial lines as well, with black and Hispanic parents much more likely than whites to say their children’s successes and failures are mainly a reflection of the job they are doing as parents. In several key ways, mothers and fathers approach parenting differently.