Monday May 27, 2024

Americans don't care about their kids' good manners anymore — Here's what they prefer instead

Since 1990, obedience has become less valued in many Western nations including the US

By Web Desk
September 18, 2023
A group of American kids playing in a park. — Twitter @businessnh
A group of American kids playing in a park. — Twitter @businessnh

People in the US are least likely to agree that children's manners are extremely essential — only 52% of them did so in 2017, as per research by King's College London this month.

That makes the United States the nation least likely, out of the 24 nations assessed recently, to think manners are important for children.

According to the research, this is a dramatic decline from 1990, when 76% of American people agreed that it was a characteristic that kids should have.

Additionally, it stands in stark contrast to Egypt, which took first place in the survey, where 96% of respondents indicated that teaching children excellent manners should be a key priority. With 89%, Nigeria is in second place, followed by 88% for Morocco.

Sixth-placed UK isn’t far off, with 85% saying good manners were key.

The report by King’s College London, titled “Parenting priorities: international attitudes towards raising children,” uses data from one of the biggest social surveys in the world, the World Values Survey. The report is based on the most recently available data sets for each country that were collected during the latest instalment of the World Values Survey, which spans 2017-2022.

The degree to which children listen to their parents or other adults is another aspect of children's general good behaviour. 

Even fewer American adults, however, believed that obedience was a crucial skill for children. In fact, obedience lagged significantly behind having good manners in all nations.

Nigeria, with 58%, is the nation that values obedience the most, followed by Mexico and Egypt, with 57% and 56%, respectively. With 21%, the United States is in the lower half of the table.

However, it is still far ahead of the nation that values obedience the least: only 3% of Japanese people listed it as a crucial trait for children.

Since 1990, obedience has become less valued in many Western nations.

“For example, in both the US and Australia, the share of the public who think this trait is especially important has roughly halved. In the former, it fell from 39% in 1990 to 21% in 2017, and in the latter, it dropped from a peak of 39% to 19% between 2005 and 2018,” the report noted.

The survey covers more than just characteristics that make a youngster behave nicely. The study also asked about qualities like ingenuity, tolerance, and respect for others, as well as hard work. The King's College London report lists a total of 11 characteristics.

Four of them have the US in the top 10, demonstrating that it is among the nations that appreciate children's independence and diligence the most.