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Poll finds most parents say setting goals improves their parenting

News
Article

Based on results from a recent C.S. Mott Poll on Children's Health, parents revealed their own goal-setting helped their children in working toward their respective goals.

Poll: Most parents say setting goals improves their parenting | Image Credit: © Studio Romantic - © Studio Romantic - stock.adobe.com.

Poll: Most parents say setting goals improves their parenting | Image Credit: © Studio Romantic - © Studio Romantic - stock.adobe.com.

Takeaways:


  • The majority of parents (71%) set resolutions or personal goals, with different timing such as New Year's (25%), the start of the school year (9%), or birthdays (8%).
  • Mothers (47%) were more likely than fathers (35%) to create goals to change something about their parenting.
  • Parents who set goals reported improvements in their parenting skills, with 74% stating that the goals made them better parents, and 85% believed it positively influenced their child's work ethic toward goals.
  • Parents commonly set goals to become more patient (78%), spend less time on their phones (56%), be more consistent with discipline (47%), and get healthier for their child (52%).
  • A significant portion of parents (53%) reported that their children aged 11 to 18 set personal goals, and parents supported these goals through celebration (70%), joining efforts (58%), tracking progress (52%), financial support (51%), and offering rewards (44%).

A majority of parents of children aged 0 to 18 years reported that setting goals for themselves and supporting goals for their children have helped improve their parenting skills, according to a C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.

The poll breaks down how parents view setting goals related to their children on a variety of topics from New Year's resolutions to providing healthier snacks.

The poll report, a nationally representative household survey, was administered in August 2023 to a randomly selected, stratified group of parents to at least 1 child aged 0 to 18 years (n = 2044).

Most parents, 71%, that took the poll stated they make resolutions or set personal goals. A quarter of these parents set goals at New Year's, 9% at the start of the school year, and 8% on birthdays.

When it comes to mothers and fathers, almost half (47%) of mothers stated they created goals to change something about their respective parenting. Among fathers, 35% created goals to alter their parenting methods in some way.

For those who have created parenting goals, 74% said the goals have made them a better parent, and 85% stated that they believe it has had a downstream effect on their child's work ethic toward meeting a goal.

A large goal among parents (78%) was to become more patient with their child. Fifty-six percent of parents set goals to spend less time on their phone, while 47% said they wanted to be more consistent with discipline.

A health aspect played a role in the survey, as 52% of parents have goals to get healthier for their child. Beyond themselves, 48% of parents said they have goals to provide healthier meals and snacks, and 37% want to exercise with their child.

According to the poll, more mothers set goals to exercise with their child and provide healthier snacks compared to fathers (41% vs 30% and 55% vs 38%, respectively).

For parents of children aged 11 to 18 years, 53% stated their child has set personal goals, such as getting good grades or improved school performance (68%).

In other areas, 52% of parents stated their child has set an activity goal, 43% set an exercise goal, 40% set a goal to earn money, and another 40% set goals around eating habits and nutrition.

Parents revealed children aged 15 to 18 years were more likely to set goals related to healthy eating and exercise, while those aged 11 to 14 years were more likely to try something new.

How parents support their child's goals was also polled, with 70% of parents reporting they celebrated the child's attempt at improving. Over half of parents (58%) said they are supporting by joining their child in working toward the goal.

More than half of parents (52%) help keep track of goal progress with their child, 51% said they provided financial support, and 44% said they had offered rewards if their child met the goal.

C.S. Mott Children's Hospital notes that specific strategies such as scheduling or using productivity apps can help their ability to achieve the goals they've set for themselves and their child.

Goals should be relatively "short-term" for younger children, which can be facilitated by going from a general idea to a specific target.

In all, these methods and the report show that "being able to set and work toward a goal will be a useful skill throughout life, so the child [can take] pride in the effort as much as the result."

Reference:

Resolving to be involved: Goal-setting for parents and kids. C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health. Press release. December 18, 2023. Accessed January 31, 2024.

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