Generational differences in attitudes of parents
Survey Results
Date Published: 
Mon, 25/02/2013 - 16:53
A new study from Opinium Research reveals the generational differences in attitudes of parents and that the concerns of parents can depend on when they were born.
  • A big concern of many parents is who their child is dating - a fifth of UK parents would be horrified to discover their child was dating someone they disapproved of (22%)
  • Generation Y would be the most horrified (26%), followed by Generation X (21%), with the Baby Boomer generation discovered to be the least fussed (18%)
  • Biggest concern for parents aged 18-32 is their child being financially irresponsible (34%)

A fifth of parents would still be horrified to learn their child was dating someone they disapproved of (22%) despite it being the 21st century.

While many may think being dismayed that your child is dating someone you find unsuitable is quite old fashioned, Opinium Research found that the younger the parent is, the more shocked they would be. A quarter of Generation Y parents admitted they would be horrified (26%), while this figure dropped for Generation X (21%) and the oldest generation of Baby Boomers were the least bothered (18%).

The study also found that financial irresponsibility is the top worry for parents aged between 18yrs and 32yrs. When UK parents were asked what would horrify their children to learn about something they had done, Opinium Research found that more children would be dismayed to learn their mum or dad had cheated on their partner (19%) than been arrested (16%).

James Endersby, managing director of Opinium Research, commented: “It’s fascinating to see how parents’ attitudes differ depending on when they were born. Many would assume that the older generation would be more archaic and outdated so it’s surprising to find the youngest generation would care the most about who their child dates in this day and age. The fact that their child being financially irresponsible is the top worry for young parents is a real sign of the times, given the recent recession. We look forward to discovering more through further generational studies.”

Notes to Journalists: 

Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,015 people from 19th December to 21st December 2012, aged 18+. Of which, 586 had children 18 years old or under. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

The generational breakdown is listed below:
Baby boomers: born 1964-1946
Gen X: born 1979-1965
Gen Y: born 2000-1980

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