Global Families’ Views on Marriage and Children

While global parents and kids have fairly relaxed attitudes toward some family-related social issues, Millennial parents are a little more conservative than Gen X parents, according to a recent Nickelodeon Kids & Family GPS study.

Where do today’s parents stand when it comes to social issues related to marriage and children? And are there any differences in Millennial and Gen X parents’ views?

A recent Nickelodeon Kids and Family GPS project, “Kids & Family Recalibration,” sought to uncover insights about the experiences of kids today, and to identify any contrasts in Millennial and Gen X parenting approaches.

This portion of the study consisted of online interviews of kids 8 to 14 and their parents in 13 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, UK and USA. (See here for an overview video.)

Here are key findings from this project on the subject of social issues:

Social attitudes related to marriage and kids are fairly relaxed, with some differences by country.

  • A majority of parents agree that:
    • It’s okay for two adults to live together before marriage (85%)
    • It’s okay for an unmarried person to have a baby (80%)
    • Homosexual couples should be allowed to get married (65%)
  • Smaller percentages maintain some conservative stances:
    • 27% agree that divorce is not an acceptable option
    • 17% say people should only marry someone of the same religion
    • 12% say people should only marry someone of the same race
  • Parents in France, Germany, and Sweden tend to hold more liberal views on these issues, while those in the US and Catholic countries like Mexico, Brazil, Italy and Poland skew more conservative

Most parents’ and kids’ beliefs on social issues were influenced by their parents.

  • 57% of parents and 82% of kids say their beliefs are similar to their parents’
  • Kids take a harder line on divorce than parents—43% of kids say it’s not an acceptable option (vs. 27% of parents)
  • 20% of kids agree that people should marry within their religion (parents 17%)
  • 15% of kids believe people should marry within their race (parents 12%)

Millennial parents are more conservative on these issues than Gen X parents.

  • Millennial parents are more likely to agree that:
    • Divorce is not an acceptable option (32% Millennial, 26% Gen X)
    • People should only marry someone of the same religion (21% Millennial, 17% Gen X)
  • Millennial parents are less likely to agree that:
    • It’s okay for 2 adults to live together before marriage (82% Millennial, 86% Gen X)
    • It’s okay for an unmarried person to have a baby (76% Millennial, 80% Gen X)