Anxious Parenting Has Bred a Generation of Responsible Kids

Global parents today are nervous--and as a result, kids tend to play by the rules, according to a new analysis by Nickelodeon Kids and Family GPS.

Global parents’ anxiety about their kids’ futures has led them to be highly protective of their children–and the unease that parents feel shapes kids’ experiences as they grow up. How has this nervousness affected the current generation of kids?

Nickelodeon Kids and Family GPS has taken a look at this question, based on an analysis of its conversations with over 60,000 kids and parents in 24 countries in 2015.

Here are key findings about how parental anxiety is leading kids around the world to be dutiful, cooperative, and expecting appreciation for their hard work:

Global kids today are responsible and like to play by the rules. For most, rebellion is not all that tempting—80% disagree that “it’s cool to break the rules” and 40% claim they never break rules. Doing well in school is a key concern, with 72% of kids saying it’s something they worry about. At home, almost all kids have at least one household chore, with the most common being keeping their room clean (80%), pet care (40%), taking out the trash (39%), and washing dishes (33%).

Kids are raised to feel special, but they’re also prepared to work hard to achieve. More than 8 in 10 global parents feel that it’s their responsibility to make sure their child feels special no matter what. As a result, kids are raised to value their own uniqueness.

They make a priority of doing their best over being the best. Nearly 8 in 10 (78%) believe that nothing matters more than doing their best. An even larger percentage (86%) agrees that it’s better to try their best and not succeed than not to try at all.

Though kids expect their efforts to be recognized, winning has its place (and talent does prevail!). Nearly 3 out of 4 global kids (73%) agree that when there’s a competition, everyone should feel like a winner. They want their hard work to be appreciated—but for many, this rings hollow. More than 6 in 10 (62%) think it feels less special to receive an award if everyone gets one. For a large segment it’s important to win, with 6 in 10 saying they consider themselves to be very competitive.

Kids value working together and compromising for the greater good. Many kids want to make a contribution and feel part of something bigger. About 8 in 10 (79%) believe it’s important to help people in the community. More than half (54%) have taken part in an effort to raise money for charity in the last year. They also care about the planet, with 88% agreeing that people have a responsibility to protect the environment.

Peer power (and persuasion) trump peer pressure. More than 7 in 10 (72%) believe their age group has the potential to change the world for the better. And their fellow peers’ opinions can be powerful. For 72%, a friend’s rejection hurts more than breaking a leg and nearly 6 in 10 (58%) worry about disappointing friends.